Sometimes things go wonderfully right. From a paper in Nature Communications that looks at what the Ozone layer would have been like had action not been taken around thirty years ago.
Quantifying the ozone and ultraviolet benefits already achieved by the Montreal Protocol
M.P. Chipperfield1,2, S.S. Dhomse1,2, W. Feng1,3, R.L. McKenzie4, G.J.M. Velders5 & J.A. Pyle3,6
1 School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. 2 National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. 3 National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), UK. 4 National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Lauder Private Bag 50061, New Zealand. 5 National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, PO Box 1, Bilthoven 3720 BA, The Netherlands. 6 Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK.
Chlorine- and bromine-containing ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) are controlled by the 1987 Montreal Protocol. In consequence, atmospheric equivalent chlorine peaked in 1993 and has been declining slowly since then. Consistent with this, models project a gradual increase in stratospheric ozone with the Antarctic ozone hole expected to disappear by ~2050. However, we show that by 2013 the Montreal Protocol had already achieved significant benefits for the ozone layer. Using a 3D atmospheric chemistry transport model, we demonstrate that much larger ozone depletion than observed has been avoided by the protocol, with beneficial impacts on surface ultraviolet. A deep Arctic ozone hole, with column values <120 DU, would have occurred given meteorological conditions in 2011. The Antarctic ozone hole would have grown in size by 40% by 2013, with enhanced loss at subpolar latitudes. The decline over northern hemisphere middle latitudes would have continued, more than doubling to ~15% by 2013.
We can assess the changes already avoided using our realistic calculations of ozone to estimate the ultraviolet index (UVI). The UVI describes the level of solar ultraviolet radiation at the Earth’s surface, ranging from zero upward—the higher the index value, the greater the potential for damage to the skin and eye, and the less time it takes for harm to occur30. Figure 5a shows the noontime sea-level UVI calculated using the daily column ozone for 2011 from model run MP, showing a strong gradient between the tropics and high latitudes. The additional ozone depletion in run NoMP causes an increase in UVI at all latitudes (Fig. 5b). The largest changes occur at the edge of the Antarctic vortex in September–November, with an increase of 20–100%. Following the large ozone loss in the Arctic in 2011, the UVI increases by a mean of over 15% at 60°N in March. In the tropics, the UVI increases by about 5% all year round.
Figure 5c shows the percentage change in the 2011 annual mean noon UVI between runs NoMP and MP. This is a measure of the change in the sun-burning dose of ultraviolet. Without the Montreal Protocol, these ultraviolet changes would have been a strong function of latitude, ranging from more than a 20% increase in parts of Antarctica, to 5% or less in the tropics. At mid-latitudes, where skin types of the resident populations are typically more sensitive to ultraviolet damage, the percentage changes are potentially important. For example, in the most populated areas of Australia and New Zealand, which currently have the 31 highest mortality rates from skin cancer , increases would have been 8–12%; and in Northern Europe, including the United Kingdom, increases would have exceeded 14%. Health impacts of these changes in UVI are complex and difficult to quantify. However, changes as large as these would have had potentially serious consequences in the decades that followed. In the absence of any changes in sun-exposure patterns, a 5% increase in sunburning ultraviolet is expected to lead to larger increases in the two most common forms of skin cancer: about 15% and 8% in incidence rates for squamous and basal cell carcinoma, respectively32. Effects on melanoma rates, with its higher mortality, are less certain because the action spectrum for melanoma in humans has not been measured. More quantitative statements would require analyses of the type described by van Dijk et al.27, but focusing on a later period to take account of the large time lag between ultraviolet exposure and the development of skin cancer.
The Montreal Protocol is rightly seen as a seminal interna- tional agreement, which is successfully protecting the ozone layer. In this paper, we have shown that, just over two decades since it was ratified, the Montreal has already had major beneficial impacts, including avoiding an Arctic ozone hole.
A piece by Chris Mooney in The Washington Post. Several studies have pointed this out. It would be interesting to see how this holds in Europe where the politics of global warming is different.
Rosenau called the work “fascinating and nicely-done.” “They make clear that politics is the dominant driver of environmental attitudes, but religion plays a large role,” he added by e-mail. The study is also consistent with a 2008 survey — reported on here — finding that U.S. evangelicals were less likely than non-evangelicals to think global warming is happening and caused by humans.
The new study does not probe why evangelicals seem more inclined to reject climate concerns, but a recent blog post by Christian author Scott Rodin, entitled “As a Conservative, Evangelical Republican, Why Climate Change Can’t be True (Even Though It Is),” provides an intriguing hint.
Much of the animus in what he calls the “conservative evangelical” community, Rodin suggests, is about viewing environmentalists negatively, as a sort of “other” who don’t share the same worldview and values. Thus, Rodin writes that he had been “conditioned” to think that “People who care about the environment are left-wing, socialist, former hippies who have no job and hate those who do” and that “People who care about the environment are atheists who worship nature, hate Christians and believe humans are intruders on the earth.”
Chinese students have become a big market in the United States—and nobody understands this better than the universities themselves. Over 60 percent of Chinese students cover the full cost of an American university education themselves, effectively subsidizing the education of their lower-income American peers. Some schools—such as Purdue University in Indiana—profit further by charging additional fees for international students.
But the symbiotic relationship between cash-strapped American schools and Chinese students is not without its problems. Demand for an overseas education has spawned a cottage industry of businesses in China that help students prepare their applications. The industry is poorly regulated and fraud is rampant. According to Zinch China, an education consulting company, 90 percent of Chinese applicants submit fake recommendations, 70 percent have other people write their essays, 50 percent have forged high school transcripts, and 10 percent list academic awards and other achievements they did not receive. As a result, many students arrive in the U.S. and find that their English isn’t good enough to follow lectures or write papers.
Until recently, American schools have been happy to look the other way.
I don't care if a religious person accepts science and practises their own private faith. The problem is that this acceptance of faith — which means belief without substantial evidence — as a useful means to ascertain truth has invidious social consequences. In my country, it's opposition to abortion, it’s opposition to gay marriage. Creationism is the least of our worries. It's this enabling of faith, this untoward respect for belief without evidence, that has caused so much mischief. If religious people just kept to themselves, just went to church, respected the findings of science and a) didn't teach it to their kids (which I think is a form of child mistreatment) and b) didn't try to take their religious beliefs into the public sphere and make them law for everybody else, than I wouldn't care so much. But that's not the way it is. Certainly not in Muslim countries, where religion and government are almost synonymous. It is a widespread problem.