While rushing around yesterday pulling together a quickie review of this week's Science Times and its look forward for science, I failed to look furtherward in the Times itself and did not see John Broder's eye-opening piece on the remodeling of an old international agreement to do part of what the non-existent climate pact, a victim of last year's Copenhagen failures, is not doing.
When I looked at its hed I imagined it was another story on using a different pact, on endangered species, as a place holder in slowing down global warming via international agreement. We've seen a few stories on that recently. But no, it's the Montreal Protocol, with language already in place obligating nations to reduce emissions that attack stratospheric ozone. Some also are greenhouse gases that, if drastically reduced, might buy a decade or more worth of solar forcing.
Just as well I missed it, though, as this gives time to see that a few other outlets have done it, and that a press release, see Grist below, helped to push the story into the public arena. Broder, as far as I can tell, got it out first.
The gases involved are all refrigerants. The Montreal agreement phased out ones called CFC's, which were ferocious instigators of ozone destruction. It ushered in replacements that weren't nearly so bad, which in turn have been replaced with others even milder. Now the target, the latest generation called HFCs, are even less destructive to ozone but not quite indifferent to it, it appears. Broder spells that out in general terms, but without a hint of magnitude. If it is a large difference, it might make it hard to argue, one thinks, in any neutral arena that for all their greenhouse potency, a smallish ozone peril is enough to take care of them through the Montreal Protocol rather than an explicit climate change agreement.
- NatureNews - Jeff Tolleson: Ozone treaty could be used for greenhouse gases ; A detailed report, with a good sense of the diplomatic prospects for this tactic.
- Foreign Policy - Daniel W. Drezner: The globalization of gridlock ; An explicit reaction to Broder's story in the Times, with thoughts about whether this is a wise use of an agreement that, it says here, has been thus far relatively free of controversy and "ridiculously successful."
- Toronto Globe and Mail - Norman Spector: For Canada, climate file is unfolding as it should ; Another piece inspired directly by Broder's version, and that folds it into a broader perspective on the global diplomatic ripples of this months elections in the U.S.
Grist for the Mill: Environmental Investigation Agency Press Release ;
Pic Source ;
- Charlie Petit