Could it be that CO2 has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the earth’s temperature? *UPDATED with help from Zombie*

Burning earth

You all know that I do not believe in anthropogenic global warming (“AGW”).  I believe in climate change, because the earth’s climate has always changed, since its first moment of existence.  I believe that humans do control pollution and that we have an obligation to ourselves and to the other life forms on earth to limit pollution as much as is reasonably possible.  It is unreasonable for us to go back to a pre-industrial world (or, if the climate changers had their way, to a pre-human world).

Most of us have thought that, if the earth is indeed warming (which it actually hasn’t done for more than a decade) than that warming came about because of solar activity.  We didn’t have hard proof, but we had a good working hypothesis, which conformed well to the actual evidence — and certainly worked a whole lot better than all of the AGW theories put together.

Now, though, there’s a new theory in town.  According to a new study in the International Journal of Modern Physics B, changes in the earth’s temperature correlate perfectly to chlorofluorcarbons in the earth’s atmosphere.

If you’re over 40, you probably remember chlorofluorcarbons and the great ozone layer scare.  Scientists announced that CFCs were destroying the earth’s ozone layer.  Until then, most products that came in a spray can had CFC as a propellant.  I don’t remember whether CFCs were banned or if manufacturers yielded to market pressure.  All I know is that they went away.

The University of Waterloo, which authored the study, contends that CFC’s, not CO2, track warming precisely:

“Conventional thinking says that the emission of human-made non-CFC gases such as carbon dioxide has mainly contributed to global warming. But we have observed data going back to the Industrial Revolution that convincingly shows that conventional understanding is wrong,” said Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, biology and chemistry in Waterloo’s Faculty of Science. “In fact, the data shows that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays caused both the polar and global warming.”

“Most conventional theories expect that will continue to increase as CO2 levels continue to rise, as they have done since 1850. What’s striking is that since 2002, global temperatures have actually declined – matching a decline in CFCs in the atmosphere,” Professor Lu said. “My calculations of CFC show that there was global warming by about 0.6 °C from 1950 to 2002, but the earth has actually cooled since 2002. The cooling trend is set to continue for the next 50-70 years as the amount of CFCs in the atmosphere continues to decline.”

[snip]

“It was generally accepted for more than two decades that the Earth’s was depleted by the sun’s ultraviolet light-induced destruction of CFCs in the atmosphere,” he said. “But in contrast, CRE theory says cosmic rays – energy particles originating in space – play the dominant role in breaking down ozone-depleting molecules and then ozone.”

[snip]

“The climate in the Antarctic stratosphere has been completely controlled by CFCs and , with no CO2 impact. The change in global surface temperature after the removal of the solar effect has shown zero correlation with CO2 but a nearly perfect linear correlation with CFCs – a correlation coefficient as high as 0.97.”

Data recorded from 1850 to 1970, before any significant CFC emissions, show that increased significantly as a result of the Industrial Revolution, but the global temperature, excluding the solar effect, kept nearly constant. The conventional warming model of CO2, suggests the temperatures should have risen by 0.6°C over the same period, similar to the period of 1970-2002.

I understand the general principle, which is that CFCs, not CO2, drive temperature changes.  I’m being stupid, though, insofar as I can’t understand whether the study says that humans are responsible for the CFCs (either currently or in the past) or if the the CFCs occur naturally because of solar activity.  Can someone clue me in on this one?

It seems to me that, if CFCs occur naturally, the entire AGW hysteria is instantly dead in the water.  We can (and, to a reasonable extent, should) control pollution.  We cannot, however, control global warming or any other type of climate change.  In other words, earth will survive if we don’t give up the incredible benefits to humanity that have come with fossil fuel.

If I’m wrong, however, and the study says humans are responsible for these CFCs, where does that leave the climate change movement?  Do they still have a sledgehammer with which to bludgeon capitalism and, especially, America?  Or was the human-generated CFC damage already done in the past and we’re just waiting for repair?

To all those out there more intelligent than I am, please explain.

UPDATE: Crowd sourcing is a great way to get information, especially because I know and trust my crowd. The remarkably well-informed, amazingly smart Zombie was kind enough to stop by and leave a solid, comprehensible explanation about CFC’s, what the future holds, and how it will drive the Left crazy:

Here’s the explanation you requested:

CFCs, as far as I know, are entirely artificial; there may have been trace naturally occurring amounts of them, but if so they were insignificant. CFCs were invented in the 1890s and found to be fantastically useful as fire suppressants, refrigerants, and propellants. All industrialized nations used them extensively, especially starting after WWII when CFCs became the standard ingredient in most refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers, and aerosol cans.

But in the ’70s and ’80s is was discovered and conclusively confirmed that CFCs had destroyed the southern polar ozone layer, and so there was an international treaty banning their production signed in 1989.
Since then, no nation had legitimately produced CFCs, and safer replacement chemicals have been found.

HOWEVER, the treaty allows for the fact that there are millions — hundreds of millions, more likely — of existing refrigerators and air conditioners already installed around the world which were made before 1989 and thus still contain CFCs. There was no reasonable way for everyone in the world to have their existing appliances replaced for free. So the treaty assumes that CFC release will not stop immediately, but slowly decrease over time as the existing refrigeration units break down and are junked and their CFCs escape into the atmosphere. The amount of CFCs is definitely and irrevocably on the decline, but it will still be decades before the existing CFCs in existing appliances expire, release their contents, and are replaced by modern non-CFC appliances.

(The problem, you see, is that while aerosol cans release their CFCs soon after purchase, the CFCs in appliances remain sealed and non-polluting while still functioning, and they only release the pollutant in one big plotz at their end of their functional lives, when they break and are junked and the refrigerant seal is broken. Well-made appliances can last for decades and decades, so even 30 years from now, half a century after CFC manufacture was banned, there will still be some release from junked old refrigerators.)

Another problem is the illegal manufacture of CFCs, in third-world countries, rogue states, and communist regimes, which smuggle them and use them to this day (because they’re cheap to make and quite useful as chemicals). We in the civilized industrial West try to crack down, but it’s difficult.

Anyway, the CFC theory of global warming has much stronger footing than the CO2 theory just on the face of it, because we have already proven beyond doubt that CFCs destroy the ozone layer (which is why there was almost no argument or fuss when their ban was proposed back in ’89), and it’s therefore not a stretch that their effects would extend to other atmospheric aspects as well.

Contemporary Global Warming Hysterics will hate and reject this new theory, because CFCs have already been banned completely, and thus there’s no way to use this new info to use as a sledgehammer to destroy the Western world’s economy (as the anti-carbon mania is being used).

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  • zombie

    Here’s the explanation you requested:
    CFCs, as far as I know, are entirely artificial; there may have been trace naturally occurring amounts of them, but if so they were insignificant. CFCs were invented in the 1890s and found to be fantastically useful as fire suppressants, refrigerants, and propellants. All industrialized nations used them extensively, especially starting after WWII when CFCs became the standard ingredient in most refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers, and aerosol cans.
    But in the ’70s and ’80s is was discovered and conclusively confirmed that CFCs had destroyed the southern polar ozone layer, and so there was an international treaty banning their production signed in 1989.
    Since then, no nation had legitimately produced CFCs, and safer replacement chemicals have been found.
    HOWEVER, the treaty allows for the fact that there are millions — hundreds of millions, more likely — of existing refrigerators and air conditioners already installed around the world which were made before 1989 and thus still contain CFCs. There was no reasonable way for everyone in the world to have their existing appliances replaced for free. So the treaty assumes that CFC release will not stop immediately, but slowly decrease over time as the existing refrigeration units break down and are junked and their CFCs escape into the atmosphere. The amount of CFCs is definitely and irrevocably on the decline, but it will still be decades before the existing CFCs in existing appliances expire, release their contents, and are replaced by modern non-CFC appliances.
    (The problem, you see, is that while aerosol cans release their CFCs soon after purchase, the CFCs in appliances remain sealed and non-polluting while still functioning, and they only release the pollutant in one big plotz at their end of their functional lives, when they break and are junked and the refrigerant seal is broken. Well-made appliances can last for decades and decades, so even 30 years from now, half a century after CFC manufacture was banned, there will still be some release from junked old refrigerators.)
    Another problem is the illegal manufacture of CFCs, in third-world countries, rogue states, and communist regimes, which smuggle them and use them to this day (because they’re cheap to make and quite useful as chemicals). We in the civilized industrial West try to crack down, but it’s difficult.
    Anyway, the CFC theory of global warming has much stronger footing than the CO2 theory just on the face of it, because we have already proven beyond doubt that CFCs destroy the ozone layer (which is why there was almost no argument or fuss when their ban was proposed back in ’89), and it’s therefore not a stretch that their effects would extend to other atmospheric aspects as well.
    Contemporary Global Warming Hysterics will hate and reject this new theory, because CFCs have already been banned completely, and thus there’s no way to use this new info to use as a sledgehammer to destroy the Western world’s economy (as the anti-carbon mania is being used).

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Thank you so much for that clear explanation.  I think I can sum it up by saying we were the problem, but we no longer are the problem, which will make Leftist heads explode.

  • Ron19

    But:
     
    I remember hearing that the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines  a few decades ago released a huge amount of CFCs, enough to make human generated pollution seem puny by comparison.
     
    From http://cfc.geologist-1011.net/ :  (emphasis mine)
     … 
    “CFCs are not Volcanic” – Oh Really?
     
    This statement is one that I keep seeing on websites and blogs, and ties in with the assertions repeated by Warrick & Farmer (1990), Grimston (1992), Hendeles et al. (2007), Colice (2007), Colice (2008), and Green & Stewart (2008, p. 18) to the effect that CFCs are not natural in the environment. If one chooses to measure the gases emerging from volcanic vents instead of taking a politician’s word for it, one discovers that volcanoes produce a variety of halocarbons, including CFCs. This fact, along with other natural sources of CFCs including sponges, other marine animals, bacteria (both marine & terrestrial), fungi (both marine & terrestrial), plants (both marine & terrestrial), lichen, insects, is so well documented that it is the subject of ongoing textbook publication (Gribble, 2003; Jordan, 2003). Stoiber et al. (1971) first measured and documented CFCs venting from Santiaguito in Guatamala. Since, there have been many studies corroborating the volcanic emission of CFCs (Isidorov et al, 1990; Isidorov et al., 1993; Jordon et al., 2000; Schwandner et al., 2000; Schwandner et al., 2002; Schwandner et al., 2004; Frische et al., 2006). Although some authors attempt to correlate volcanogenic CFCs to atmospheric variations, the confirmation of soil diffusion decay with distance from the vent (Schwandner et al., 2004) still stands in stark contradiction of Frische’s hypothesis.
     

    The Awful Truth about Plimer, Volcanoes, and CFCs
     
    As it turns out, Plimer was dead right about the production of CFCs by volcanic processes. He may have misattributed this to the wrong source, but he was still dead right. What about Mt Pinatubo you may ask? Bureau et al. (2000) determined that the eruption of Mt Pinatubo released between 15 and 25 kilotons of Bromine, which in the form of bromocarbons as observed in other locations (eg. Schwandner et al. 2004), and in the presence of large quantities of HCL and HF, would undergo a substitution reaction to produce sufficient CFCs to have a prolonged effect. The impact of this was observed in the wake of the Pinatubo Eruption with substantial increases in ClO and in particular the substantial increase in the ozone destroying forms of chlorine as a product of Pinatubo’s emissions (Wilson et al., 1993). Aiuppa et al. (2005) determined that ongoing passive emissions from Mount Pinatubo alone include 700 tons of bromine and 10 tons of iodine annually. As halocarbons, it is inevitable that these recombine with more reactive halogens found in abundant volcanogenic acids such as HCl and HF to form CFCs, HI, and HBr.
     
    Conclusion
     
    In spite of numerous erroneous academic assertions, CFCs are naturally occurring chemicals and are a significant component of active volcanism. Volcanic CFCs are emitted in the presence of compounds that raise the residence time of volcanic halogens in addition to intensifying their ozone damaging effect. This would suggest that volcanoes have had a significant impact on the ozone layer. Furthermore, when someone like Plimer appears to misquote one source, it is likely that it is the source that is misattributed and that underpinning can be found elsewhere for the assertion. It is just a matter of looking.
     
     Remember, a basic tenant of statistics is that correlation is not proof of causation.

  • Spartacus

    No.  It’s definitely CO2.  Good, progressive-thinking folk would have to give too much credit to that British b**** if CFCs had anything to do with it, and that’s just not going to happen, so there’s no chemical connection.  Q.E.D.
     
    (Actually, in full disclosure, Lady Thatcher (Chemistry, Oxford, ’47) talked up both CFCs and CO2, although she was being a bit clever when it came to CO2, because she really just wanted more nuke plants in the UK.  She never foresaw that the Frankenstein monster of CO2 would take on a life of its own…)
     
    http://www.nytimes.com/1990/06/28/world/ozone-fading-fast-thatcher-tells-world-experts.html
     
    “Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher warned representatives of more than 100 nations today that destruction of the earth’s ozone layer was proceeding even faster than scientists had feared.
    As a result, she said, efforts to reduce ozone-destroying chemicals must be hastened.
    Mrs. Thatcher’s speech opened an international meeting that is expected to result in an agreement on a worldwide end to the production of chlorofluorocarbon chemicals, which destroy the ozone layer, by 2000 and restrictions on the production of related chemicals.”

  • zombie

    Gee…*nervously adjusting collar*…while it is certainly an honor to have my comment elevated to update status (Thanks!), I made the comment sort of off-the-cuff without doing any deep research, based entirely on my memory of the facts of the situation — so apologies ahead of time if anyone points out that some detail was inaccurate. I’m not assuming there are any errors in my explanation, but couldn’t vouch for every detail under oath without refreshing my memory with research.
    Aw heck, what am I doing — this is the Internet, so there’s no need for modesty. Take that, CFC Deniers!
     
    Burt seriously, I’m sure the gist of my comment is correct, even if this or that detail is fuzzy.

  • zombie

    See, while I was typing my reply-comment above, Ron19 did exactly what I suspected might happen — someone finding a possible error in my comment…in this case, my contention that CFCs were thought to be mostly man-made. As Ron19 pointed out, there’s solid evidence now that volcanos can and do emit CFCs as well, and that various massive eruptions could have been big contributors to CFC in the atmosphere.
     
    So even in this new CFC=warming theory, mankind’s activities may not have been the major factor after all!

  • Ron19

    Likewise, it’s also an honor to be recognized by zombie.

  • Jose

    Thanks to both of you for some interesting information.
     
    I know that my county landfill, and I suspect most others are similar, will not accept old fridges or air conditioners without a document from an applicance technician stating that the CFCs have been safely collected.  I imagine the extra expense and effort required is the reason many appliances end up in a gully somewhere.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Zombie, I disagree with you that a link between CFC’s and the ozone hole at the South Pole was “conclusively” proved: it was only demonstrated to happen in a laboratory under controlled, “closed system” conditions. I have looked for papers that document the presence of CFCs in the upper atmosphere and haven’t found them – if you know of any, please point them out to me.
    One problem is that ozone holes have probably existed since the beginning of time – the half-life of ozone is very short (measured in minutes) and there is very little sunlight hitting the poles during winter (which would lead to one expecting the ozone hole to be at a minimum by Spring). However, they were only “discovered” in the 1980s and people went hysterical about them without having any idea of whether or not they were a normal natural phenomenon. I maintain that any real chemist should have expected them to be there.
    The second problem is that CFCs are very heavy chemical molecules and the ozone hold is very high up (50,000 – 150,000 feet) – a reaction between CFCs and the ozone layer would be akin to a boulder lying on the floor of the Pacific at 10,000-feet somehow getting churned up to the surface of the ocean by swirling currents. I suppose it could conceivably happen but…highly unlikely. There are also many other (natural) sources of chlorine that could work their way into the upper atmosphere, but we don’t know much about them.
    The third problem with this article is the word “correlation”, which does not impute cause and effect. Poor people tend to smoke more than most. Many poor people get lung cancer. Poor people also are more likely in trailer parks. Ergo, living in a trailer home is correlated to lung cancer. There are probably many reasons why chemical chlorine levels in the atmosphere would increase when the environment was warmer – including normal biological and geological activity. 
    When the hysteria of ozone holes first broke, the CFC manufacturers first locked arms a la tobacco industry and very publicly opposed the  claims being made (I am a chemist by training and followed this story very closely). Then, all of a sudden, they went very strangely (strange to me, anyway) silent. Shortly after that, they announced that they had developed alternatives to CFC that were far more expensive (ergo, they would earn far more from selling them than they had with CFCs). We, consumers, of course, paid the higher price for those CFC alternatives.
    Color me cynical, perhaps?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The thing about this particular member of the Leftist alliance is that even if their religious beliefs prove to be false, they will make it true. If humanity wasn’t polluting and killing Gaia before, they will make it true just so they can declare martial green laws. They need the justification first, then totalitarianism comes afterwards.
     
     

  • DL Sly

    I believe in climate change, too, Book.  Only when I was growing up it was called…..
    …..
    …..
    wait for it……
    WEATHER!
    And seasons.
    0>;~}

  • pst314

    Zombie “existing refrigerators and air conditioners already installed around the world which were made before 1989 and thus still contain CFCs.” Tiny side-note: Because the new chemicals do not behave the same as CFC’s, the old appliances cannot be switched over. So what if an appliance leaks and needs to have its coolant replenished after the leak is fixed? There is a market for recycled CFC’s recovered from junked appliances. I wonder if there may still be some some limited legal manufacture of CFC’s for certain critical applications such as halon fire suppression on aircraft. “the CFCs in appliances remain sealed and non-polluting while still functioning, and they only release the pollutant in one big plotz at their end of their functional lives, when they break and are junked and the refrigerant seal is broken.” I believe that the law mandates that the CFC’s be recovered before the appliance is junked. (Not that this is always done, of course.) But given that there is a strong demand for recycled CFC’s, I suspect that the economic incentives are to recover and sell to a recycler rather than to vent to the atmosphere.

  • pst314

    Book, there’s something funny with your commenting system. When I previewed the preceding comment, it was nicely divided into paragraphs. Now it’s all one run-on paragraph.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Don’t use preview. It kills html paragraph breaks. It kills other html too.

  • Mike Devx

    In addition to Danny’s comments, I’d like to add a memory I have that I unfortunately can’t corroborate with evidence…
     
    I remember the CFC scare and the ban.  The vast ozone hole over the south pole!  The imminent end of life as we know it!  Due to the evil, evil Mother Gaea-destroying humans!  Something MUST be done!  And so it was.  CFCs were banned.
     
    But I then remember – vaguely? – that the ozone hole over Antarctica swiftly then shrunk.  This event shocked – I repeat, SHOCKED! – the scientific community.  The models did not allow for it.  The existing amounts of CFC in the air, and also still being continually released by man on the ground, made it IMPOSSIBLE for the ozone hole to “heal itself’ the way it did, and so rapidly.  The impossible had happened.  Conclusion: The CFC model for ozone destruction as a climate phenomenon was, at best, extremely flawed.  And possibly just plain wrong, completely.
     
    And we’ve heard hardly a word about the ozone hole over the South Pole since.
     

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  • zombie

    pst314
    “I believe that the law mandates that the CFC’s be recovered before the appliance is junked. (Not that this is always done, of course.) But given that there is a strong demand for recycled CFC’s, I suspect that the economic incentives are to recover and sell to a recycler rather than to vent to the atmosphere.”
    Yes — here in civilization-land, we try to recover the CFCs from old appliances. But in truth the US and Europe (places where this is done more diligently) only account for some small percentage of the world’s population (10%? Something like that). Meanwhile, out there in the big messy out-of-control other 90% of the world (think India, China, Indonesia, Africa, etc. etc. etc.), the dumps are full of horrifying toxics, and much less attention is paid to recovering the CFCs. There may be an economic incentive for us, and laws that apply to us, but how can a third-world villager profit from a bottle for of recovered CFCs from an old fridge when he has no access to the reselling market?

     

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