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Some Early Beginnings of Global Warming, Its Causes, and How We Will Yet GREEN Our Earth

Dick Pennington

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Global warming is the result of mankind's greed and selfishness. We have known it was going to catch up with us since I was in college in the early 1950's. We were aware fluorocarbons were destroying the ozone layers, yet we were continuing to dump refrigerants into the atmosphere without regard of how they would destroy the beautiful world God created for us. The Corporations that produced the gases used in the refrigeration and spray can industries, and the engineers that designed equipment and other things, were aware of the damage they were doing. They and we looked the other way thinking it would be a long time before we felt the hurt.

I grew up in the refrigeration industry, as did my father before me, and his father before him. My grandfather designed the first mechanical ice plants to store beer and other perishable products, including meat, produce, and ice for the home icebox. The first mass production freezer belts that froze vegetables, meat and pies were tunnels where fluorocarbons were sprayed in liquid form directly on the raw products. After the liquid froze the product it evaporated, and as the heavier gas fell to the bottom of the tunnel it was exhausted into the air outside. There was no attempt at recovery. This went on until fluorocarbons were phased out completely in 1996 by the Montreal Protocol.

The ozone layer is a layer in the Earth's atmosphere containing relatively high concentrations of ozone (O3). This layer absorbs approximately 94% of the sun's high frequency ultraviolet light. If it is not absorbed, life as we know it ends. Charles Fabry and Henri Buisson discovered the ozone layer in 1913. G. M. B. Dobson explored its properties. He established a worldwide network of ozone monitoring stations between 1928 and 1958, which continue to operate today.

The ozone layer can be depleted by free radical catalysts, including atomic bromine (Br), atomic chlorine (Cl), hydroxyl (OH), and nitric oxide (NO). While there are natural sources for all these compounds, the concentrations of bromine and chlorine have increased due to the release of large quantities of manmade organohalogen compounds, especially bromofluorcarbons and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). These highly stable compounds are capable of surviving the rise to the stratosphere where Cl and Br radicals are liberated by the action of ultraviolet light. Their lifetime is 50 to 100 years, and much of the world is still dumping them. These elements cause the ozone holes we have all heard about. This was only one of the causes that could have been completely avoided, and it to lead to the warming of the temperature at the poles and the subsequent rising sea level.

With the price of gas at $4.10 a gallon, and heating oil suppliers demanding up to $7.00 a gallon for prepaid contracts, (with an additional $400 a year insurance policy to guarantee the supplier is paid if the price goes above $7.00 a gallon) some people may be forced to choose between heating their home, putting gas in the car, or food on the table. It is little consolation that customers will be refunded the difference if the price of the heating oil averages less than $7.00 at the end of the heating season.

In the long term these high-energy prices may work to our advantage. Some overseas businesses have already come home due to the high cost of shipping, and we will be forced to cut back on our carbon producing activities. The Electric Power Companies are already thinking about what to do with the carbon dioxide. They are designing methods using algae to capture the Carbon Dioxide from coal burning plants. A team at Ohio University created a photo bioreactor that uses photosynthesis to grow algae, then passing the carbon dioxide from the plant over collection membranes. The algae grown by this process can be used to make biodiesel fuel and feed for animals.

The future uses of algae products produced by coal burning power plants will replace the wood products used in activated carbon. Sweetfilter uses Zeocarbon as our chemical to remove stink pipe odor. Zeocarbon is a proprietary mixture of Zeolite and activated carbon. Zeolite is a natural volcanic rock. Currently the activated carbon used in Zeocarbon is derived from wood products but this will change. We will work together to save this island home, our Earth, and make it GREEN again!

Dick Pennington
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