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Squishy!
12-02-2009, 10:12 AM
Hoax, fad, or truth in environmental harm done by R-12 and other refrigerants.

I was having a discussion with a person who is convinced that releasing refrigerants into the atmosphere does no harm to anything, and furthermore is simply a proverbial wool being pulled over our eyes by politicians and other "interested" parties.

So here's the question: What is the truth behind them? I've tried to dig up stuff online, but I end up getting overwhelmed in the sea of info. Anybody got any good articles or information? Even opinions?

Red_Chili
12-02-2009, 10:25 AM
Ozone degradation.

http://www.jstor.org/pss/4313719 for example.

theboomboom
12-02-2009, 12:20 PM
I had a buddy break the refrigerator at work on Monday and get a bunch of refrigerant on his hands (don't ask, all I know is it involved scissors and they were bored). He says it stung a little, but he washed his hands off and the refrigerator went in the dumpster. Not that I know very much about refrigerants per say, but it probably would have been better in that case if it had been disposed of in a better way.

SteveH
12-02-2009, 12:50 PM
The typical question is also whether a few volcanic eruptions and one or two shuttle launches don't release so much chlorine and other compounds so as to dwarf what is released by a few million GM vehicles (;-)) with chronic R-12 leaks.

Apart from the science, the air conditioning lobby is a big fan of laws requiring certification to purchase/use refrigerants. A clear conflict of interest.

DaveInDenver
12-02-2009, 12:55 PM
The CFC issue is I think one place that there is some truth in that it does deplete ozone. It's not that the alternative HCFC refrigerants are a ton better overall, although they do not react the same in the environment and do more or less solve the initial issue. The downside of HCFC is potentially several orders worse than CO2, if you buy into the greenhouse gas debate. So therefore it is not a hoax fundamentally, maybe something a 1980s fad in that it's was hip to be CFC-free and be against CFCs in Hollywood as I vaguely recall as a kid.

But one thing is for sure, there is no opportunity wasted that politicians won't exploit to their benefit and the same is true here to some extent.

Look up the Ozone Depleting Chemicals legislation from about 1985-1992, the Montreal Protocol of 1985 and Title 6 of the Clean Air Act. Congress took the opportunity to tax not only CFCs but Halons and Tetrachlorides, too. I say exploit because if all they cared about was removing a presumed harmful chemical then making it's use illegal would suffice I'd think.

But nothing like a tax (i.e. cigarettes come to mind) to take advantage of a situation, at least for a while, eh? The point there is that around 1988 when the CFC argument was peaking there was a whole lot of already produced chemicals (particular Halons, very common for firefighting) that were supposed to go to market. Since the replacement chemicals were already being developed anyone who currently stocked these things had a limited window of time to recoup their production cost and so Congress had them over a barrel. Sell now with high taxes, wait until the tax expires (if ever) but the alternative is available which depresses your price or finally just pay down the road to 'safely' dispose of what will eventually be illegal substances. In all cases the prospect of making much money was pretty much nil.

Red_Chili
12-02-2009, 02:15 PM
I was having a discussion with a person who is convinced that releasing refrigerants into the atmosphere does no harm to anything, and furthermore is simply a proverbial wool being pulled over our eyes by politicians and other "interested" parties.

As I re-read your post I am wondering if I might know who that person is... Let's say they have combined conservatism and faith in a way that supports each other. Maybe so, maybe not.

James Watt would be an example of where faith, conservatism, and environmental ethics can combine to disastrous effect. As Sec'y of the Interior under Reagan, he supported clearcutting, breathtaking levels of extraction industry leases on public land, and commercial uses of public land (with little enthusiasm for the scientific pluses and minuses) because, as he was reported to have put it, "it's all gonna burn anyway...".

The quote is likely apocryphal. But it seemed all too accurate in its characterization IMHO.

Excepts from Wikipedia:
Greg Wetstone (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Greg_Wetstone&action=edit&redlink=1), who was the chief environment council at the House Energy and Commerce Committee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_Energy_and_Commerce_Committee) during the Reagan administration (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_administration) and later served as director of advocacy at the Natural Resources Defense Council (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_Resources_Defense_Council), said Watt was one of the two most "intensely controversial and blatantly anti-environmental political appointees" in American history. (The other was Anne Gorsuch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_M._Burford), head of the EPA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Environmental_Protection_Agency) at that time.)[/URL]

A public controversy erupted after a speech by Watt on September 21, 1983, when he said about his staff: "I have a black, a woman, two [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew"]Jews (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_G._Watt#cite_note-3) and a cripple. And we have talent."[13] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_G._Watt#cite_note-bart-12) Within weeks of making this statement, Watt submitted his resignation letter.

During a March 1991 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_1991) dinner event organized by the Green River Cattlemen's Association in Wyoming (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyoming), Watt said, "If the troubles from environmentalists cannot be solved in the jury box (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_box) or at the ballot box (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballot_box), perhaps the cartridge box (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartridge_%28firearms%29) should be used."

As a person of faith I find that way beyond an embarrassment. And I would not describe myself as against many of the values of the Reagan administration. Except for this and a couple others that toast my wheaties. I want to care for the environment because of my faith, not in spite of it.

How much was due to an un-nuanced faith? Probably due more to his particular social background. And in all fairness I too live in a glass house.

And with that... I now have taken a perfectly good tech/chat question right over to the Political and Controversial barnyard.
:lmao::lmao::lmao:

If my guess about the person is accurate, I would place him/her much muchhigher on the 'honorable' scale than Mr. Watt. But not everything environmental is due to political charade, even if it really is tainted by political strategizing and subterfuge.

Do da right thang. ;)
Besides, to break that law is to put yourself in its crosshairs.

Squishy!
12-02-2009, 03:53 PM
As I re-read your post I am wondering if I might know who that person is... Let's say they have combined conservatism and faith in a way that supports each other. Maybe so, maybe not.

You probably do

Besides, to break that law is to put yourself in its crosshairs.

AMEN