CFC’s to Blame for Global Warming?

Several major media outlets carried articles on this study a few days ago. It is an interesting addition to the science on the causes of global warming. The article below appeared in the Waterloo News of the University of Waterloo on Thursday, May 30.

Global warming caused by CFCs, not carbon dioxide, study says

WATERLOO, ONT. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are to blame for global warming since the 1970s and not carbon dioxide (CO(2), according to a research paper from the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) published May 30th in the International Journal of Modern Physics B.

CFCs are already known to deplete ozone, but this study’s statistical analysis points to CFCs as a key cause of global warming, rather than CO(2) emissions.

“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,” says 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 ozone hole and global warming.”

“Most conventional theories expect that global temperatures will continue to increase as CO(2) 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 greenhouse effect show that there was global warming by about 0.6 deg 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.”

The findings are based on in-depth statistical analyses of observed data from 1850 up to the present time, Professor Lu’s cosmic-ray-driven electron-reaction (CRE) theory of ozone depletion and his previous research into Antarctic ozone depletion and global surface temperatures.

“It was generally accepted for more than two decades that the Earth’s ozone layer 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.”

Lu’s theory says his theory is confirmed by ongoing observations of cosmic ray, CFC, ozone and stratospheric temperature data over several 11-year solar cycles. “CRE is the only theory that provides us with an excellent reproduction of 11-year cyclic variations of both polar ozone loss and stratospheric cooling,” said Professor Lu. “After removing the natural cosmic-ray effect, my new paper shows a pronounced recovery by 20% of the Antarctic ozone hole, consistent with the decline of CFCs in the polar stratosphere.”

By examining the link between CFCs, ozone depletion and temperature changes in the Antarctic, Professor Lu  draws a near perfect correlation between rising global surface temperatures and CFCs in the atmosphere. “The climate in the Antarctic stratosphere has been completely controlled by CFCs and cosmic rays, with no CO(2) impact. The change in global surface temperature after the removal of the solar effect has shown zero correlation with CO(2) but a nearly perfect linear correlation with CFCs – a correlation coefficient as high as 0.97.”

He says data recorded from 1850 to 1970, before any significant CFC emissions, show that CO(2) levels 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 CO(2) , suggests the temperatures should have risen by 0.6deg C over the same period, similar to the period of 1970-2002.

The analyses indicate the success of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.  “We’ve known for some time that CFCs have a really damaging effect on our atmosphere and we’ve taken measures to reduce their emissions,” Professor Lu said. “We now know that international efforts such as the Montreal Protocol have also had a profound effect on global warming but they must be placed on firmer scientific ground.”

“This study underlines the importance of understanding the basic science underlying ozone depletion and global climate change,” said Terry McMahon, dean of the faculty of science. “This research is of particular importance not only to the research community, but to policy makers and the public alike as we look to the future of our climate.”

Professor Lu’s paper, Cosmic-Ray-Driven Reaction and Greenhouse Effect of Halogenated Molecules: Culprits for Atmospheric Ozone Depletion and Global Climate Change, also predicts that the global sea level will continue to rise for some years as the hole in the ozone recovers increasing ice melting in the Polar Regions.

“Only when the effect of the global temperature recovery dominates over that of the polar ozone hole recovery, will both temperature and polar ice melting drop concurrently,” says Lu.

The peer-reviewed paper not only offers new fundamental understanding of the ozone hole and global climate change but provides alternative predictive capabilities, compared with the conventional sunlight-driven ozone-depleting and CO(2) -warming models.

Does this science have a chance to be considered in the public policy discussion of global climate change? There are a lot of closed minds in this public policy debate on both sides. Time will tell. It also highlights the necessity and success of a global agreement addressing global climate change rather than a piece meal approach by individual nations.

 

Media contact:

Nick Manning
University of Waterloo
nmanning@uwaterloo.ca

Governor Dayton signs solar energy standard

Minnesota’s investor-owned utilities will be required to get 1.5 percent of their power from solar energy by 2020 under legislation signed by Gov. Mark Dayton. The solar energy standard also sets a statewide goal of reaching 10 percent by 2030.

PhotovoltaikThe proposal was championed by the Minnesota Clean Energy and Jobs campaign. The coalition says the law takes Minnesota farther down the road to a clean, renewable energy future by making solar energy cheaper and more accessible for consumers, while creating well-paying, permanent jobs across the state.

Now the group is calling for raising Minnesota’s renewable energy standard to 40 percent by 2030. The state’s current standard requires utilities to get 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources including wind, solar and biomass by 2025.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

Water grants are available

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources is accepting applications for grants to support projects aimed at improving water quality. Officials say they expect about $2 million will be available for South Dakota projects. Conservation districts, water development districts, counties, cities, universities and American Indian tribes can apply for the grants through October 1. The grants from the federal Environmental Protection Agency require a 40% local funding match.

The federal Clean Water Act provides grants to reduce water pollution from nonpoint sources such as runoff from urban, agricultural and forest lands. Such pollution comes from heavily fertilized lawns, urban street and pet wastes, agricultural fields and small livestock operations. The primary nonpoint source pollutants in the state are sediment, phosphorus, nitrogen and fecal coliform bacteria.

Solar power in Minnesota gets boost from lawmakers

by Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio News

ST. PAUL — Minnesota could soon take another step ahead in the transition to renewable energy.

The state’s utilities already are replacing coal-fired power plants with windmills, prompted by the state’s landmark 2007 Next Generation Energy Act. Partly as a result, the state has a healthy wind power industry.

To continue the renewable energy effort, state legislators have introduced bills in the House and Senate that would increase the use of solar systems in homes and businesses.

“There are lots of folks, businesses in Minnesota that are eager to get going on this, but they need a little boost right now,” said Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, chairman of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee. “And the faster we make the solar industry start growing in Minnesota, the faster the prices fall.”

Marty’s bill and a companion bill in the House would require utilities to produce gradually increasing amounts of solar power.

The House bill still has the original goal of 4 percent solar by 2025. In the Senate, it’s been whittled down to 1 percent.

Utility company officials are leery of the requirements, and contend they could be costly and unfair to ratepayers.

State Rep. Rep. Melissa Hortman, the author of the House bill, told the Ways and Means committee last week that the bill tries to balance the current and future costs of solar.

“Yes, it’s more expensive to install this capital up front, but it decreases cost in other ways,” said Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park. “For one thing, we know what the price of solar energy will be 30 years from now; we don’t know what the price of natural gas will be, we don’t know what the price of coal will be.”

Hortman said solar panels will help utilities by producing a lot of power on summer afternoons when people crank up their air conditioners.

Representatives of the state’s investor-owned utilities, however, say solar electricity still is more expensive than other forms of power, and their customers shouldn’t be required to buy it.

Rick Evans, Xcel Energy’s director of regional government affairs, told legislators that the bill is unfair because it requires people who don’t have solar panels to subsidize people who do have them. He said a family or business that lowers its electric bill by generating some of its own electricity still is using the system’s essential infrastructure.

“All of the wires, all of the poles, all the infrastructure right back to the generation source are also included in those kilowatt hour charges,” Evans said. “And if they’re not going to pay for all the kilowatt hours that they were before, then their neighbors who don’t have a solar panel, who can’t afford to put one up, are going to have to pick up the slack.”

Evans is negotiating with the bills’ authors to figure out a way to fix that.

Rural electric coops and city-owned power companies also say a solar mandate would be much too expensive. But the bills’ authors exempted coops and municipal utilities from the requirements.

Joel Johnson, director of government affairs for the Minnesota Rural Electric Association, said coops still are absorbing the costs of the 2007 renewable mandates.

“Electric coops are very long on generation right now,” Johnson said. “And when you mandate a utility to build and increase their generation when they already have more than their customers or in our case their members can use, it starts getting really expensive.”

Others have raised the issue of fairness, as the Senate bill exempts some industries but not others.

Iron mining and paper mills, which use a lot of electricity, successfully lobbied to be excluded, which dramatically reduces Minnesota Power’s obligation to invest in solar.

But other industries, such as oil refineries, also use a lot of power, and so far they are not exempt from the bill’s requirements.

Marty said he’s frustrated with how much he’s had to compromise to move his bill forward.

“Whatever we do this year, no matter how bold we try to be,” he said, “I think the next generation, in 15 or 20 years, are going to be looking back and saying, ‘you saw all the signs of what was happening; why were you so timid?'”

Marty said his bill could be strengthened on the Senate floor, where it’s expected to be heard early this week, or in conference committee. Minnesota Public Radio News can be heard at KZSE 91.7 FM in the Rochester area, or go online to MPRnews.org

Eco@Home

Heartland is committed to promoting and developing energy efficient practices in our customer communities. Part of our commitment is a partnership with American Public Power Association, the service organization for the nation’s more than 2,000 community-owned electric utilities. Heartland’s customers are provided are a complimentary membership to APPA, giving them access to its many benefits and services.

APPA offers a variety of resources and support networks to promote energy efficiency programs and provide assistance with their implementation. One such resource is Eco@Home, public power’s energy-efficiency customer outreach program. According to APPA:

“As utilities respond to regulatory pressure and rising fuel costs, promoting energy efficiency is an effective way to meet your utility’s energy demands, while assisting your customers with saving money.  Eco@home resources deliver actionable customer communications and education through a variety of media:

  • Digital and print newsletters – localized for your utility, designed to inform, inspire and motivate readers to action.
  • Facebook content service – daily energy conservation tips to enhance your social media efforts.
  • Annual calendar – with a year’s worth of actionable tips and ideas for using energy more wisely and eliminating waste.”

spring 2012 cover w_typeDigital/Print Newsletter

The Eco@Home newsletter is a quarterly piece containing energy conservation tips and ideas as well as information about water conservation, recycling, green products for the home and buying locally. All content is developed in collaboration with APPA and leading industry organizations, and can be delivered in print or digital format.

The newsletters are designed to be co-branded with your utility’s name and contact information on the cover. For more information, contact the APPA Product Store at Products@PublicPower.org or call 202.467.2926.

2013-calendar-cover-ecohome-finalCalendar

Utilities can launch their energy efficiency program with this 12-month calendar, featuring actionable tips and ideas for using energy more wisely and eliminating waste. Customers will welcome the money saving information as well enjoy its small, digest-size and booklet-style format which allows space for appointments, reminders, birthdays and more.

In addition to offering green tips, the calendar itself is eco-friendly! It is printed on Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) approved paper using soy inks, and Eco@Home purchases carbon offsets through CNPP (Carbon Neutral Print Productions) to eliminate environmental impact of the manufacturing process.

Like the newsletter, the calendar’s cover can be co-branded with your utility’s name and contact information. It can be mailed directly to customers by the printer or shipped in bulk to your office for distribution. For more information, contact the APPA Product Store at Products@PublicPower.org or call 202-467-2926.

Facebook Content Service

According to research, consumers respond to timely ways to save energy and money. Eco@Home’s Facebook Content Service provides utility’s with a year’s worth of  meaningful, actionable content your customers will use and appreciate. The daily posts of useful energy-saving ideas and tips will enhance your social media efforts and attract followers. No longer will you need to spend days creating content or go weeks without posting – the Content Service does the work for you!

For more information, contact the APPA Product Store at Products@PublicPower.org or call 202-467-2926.

Eco@Home is a great, low-cost opportunity for utilities to supplement their energy efficiency program by sharing simple, cost-effective ideas for saving energy. To order any of these products, complete and return the Eco@Home order form below or visit www.publicpower.rog/ecoathome.