The Rest of the Story

Shame on Mr. Bronfman
and Shame on His Corporation

Phasing Out Freon or
Phasing Out Facts?

Floy Lilley, J.D.
Murchison Chair of Free Enterprise
College of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

There is an unwelcome chilling aspect to the ban on the CFC substance which produces welcome chilling effects as a refrigerant: there is no scientific reason for the current policy.

On legal advice, Sallie Baliunas’ mechanic cannot recharge her car. He is afraid he will be accused of improperly servicing the air-conditioner, which is punishable by large fines.

Sallie does not blame him.

Had her mechanic in Massachusetts heard of the auto air-conditioning repairman in St. Louis who allegedly let Freon into the atmosphere? The federal government jailed him as its first ozone victim and fined him $250,000.

Regardless, Sallie is better qualified than most of us to have recently concluded that “there is no observed change in global ozone concentrations that is outside the bounds of natural variability. There is no scientific merit to the claim of an ozone crisis or UV catastrophe. Building on a case without scientific justification, policymakers have put in place restrictions on CFCs that are bound to be extremely costly in lives and dollars.”

You see, Sallie Baliunas is Staff Astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Deputy Director of the Mount Wilson Institute.

Is Dr. Baliunas a lone ‘contrarian’?

Hardly. Any list of ozone depletion theory ‘contrarians’ is today likely to number hundreds of scientists world-wide with substantial credentials and credibility.

Among them find: Dr. S. Fred Singer, Senior Fellow with the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, Dr. Hugh Ellsaesser of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Dr. Thomas Gold of Cornell University, Dr. Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia, Dr. Marcel Nicolet, world famous atmospheric scientist, Dr. Haroun Tazieff, whose Tazieff Resolution calls for a retraction of the Montreal Protocol, Dr. William Happer of Princeton, and Dr. Frederick Seitz, past head of the National Academy of Science.

These trained scientists have been on the trail of an effect in search of a cause. The ozone depletion theory would link the release of chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) to the atmosphere with incidence of skin cancer.

Dr. S. Fred Singer has recently described these assumed steps to be:

Dr. Singer finds each of these steps to be controversial, none to have been sufficiently substantiated, and the possibility that each is even incorrect.

Since the main fear about a possible depletion of ozone is fear of skin cancer, particularly malignant melanoma, important findings which undercut this menace to human health ought to be well-received.

Such findings were presented by Dr. Singer in his May, 1994, article Phaseout of CFC Production: Premature and Unsupported by Science.

The good news is: “The EPA has predicted 200,000 additional skin cancer deaths by the year 2050 as a result of ozone depletion. But unlike basal and squamous cell skin cancers, which are easily cured growths caused by long-term exposure to UV-B (280-320 nm), melanoma does not show the same characteristics increase towards lower latitudes. And indeed, laboratory experiments have now established that melanoma is mainly due to UV-A (320-400 nm). But UV-A is not absorbed by ozone at all, and therefore melanoma rates are not affected by changes in the stratospheric ozone.”

Where are the headlines in the establishment media announcing this good news?

A recent Associated Press article cautioned “Ozone rebounds, but rays still risky.” The article bemoaned that ozone “fell 10 percent to 15 percent below normal during the winter of 1992-1993.” It quoted a researcher as saying “There’s still the long-term decline (in ozone) that’s been going on for the past dozen years or so.”


Since 1985 (that’s within the past dozen years), TOMS Satellite Ozone Measurements 69 N to 69 S report an increase in ozone.

Although from 1979 to 1985, the linear trend was roughly a 3% decrease per decade, after 1985 the trend reversed. Dr. Baliunas shows data from 1979 to 1990 on “a scale that is rarely seen - a scale that starts at zero ozone abundance.” On that scale the 3% per decade decrease in ozone concentration is unnoticeable.

Dr. Baliunas finds it relevant to note that if you move from New York to Washington, D.C., the permanent decrease in ozone is 6% , because this trace gas layer thins toward the equator.

So, what difference will a premature and unsound phaseout of Freon make?

Lewis du Pont Smith, in an April 27, 1994, open letter to shareholders on DuPont’s CFC Policy, warns that DuPont Corporation will be destroyed when a consumer backlash demands a Congressional investigation “regarding the science behind the ozone depletion fraud and the economic forces that pushed for the CFC ban.”

This direct descendant of the company’s founder, accuses Edgar Bronfman, Charles Bronfman, and Charles Bronfman Jr, Canadians who own 25% of DuPont, as having led the whole international campaign, including the Montreal Protocol, to phase out CFCs.

Lewis du Pont Smith calls this CFC policy “the most massive consumer fraud of this century.”

He writes that “The cost to consumers of the ban on CFCs will exceed $5 trillion: the consequences on human health will be devastating.”

Smith details some of his chief concerns. “This summer(1994), more than 30 million car owners will drive to the repair stations to have their car air conditioners either fixed or recharged. To their great shock, they will discover that this will no longer cost them $25 to $50 but closer to $1,000. Furthermore, the substitute coolant is not only very expensive, but also corrosive and possibly dangerous - - unlike the benign and cheap CFCs. If you think these people will meekly accept this unnecessary expense, you are wrong. They are going to flood their congressional offices with calls and letters demanding the overturn of the CFC ban.

But, that’s not all. By the end of the summer there will be acute shortages of CFCs for all uses. [Author’s note: The US Environmental Protection Agency had to persuade DuPont to keep producing CFCs for another year in order to counter this likely consumer revolt.] What will building owners do? More than 70,000 buildings have not been retrofitted, a very expensive proposition. On the average, building air conditioners leak 25% of their charge every year, which means they have to be recharged. If there are no CFCs, and the nation has already exceeded the retrofit/replacement capacity, the only option is to shut down the buildings and send all the tenants packing. This debacle will include hospitals and schools.

That is still not all, There is the issue of the food supply. More than 35,000 supermarkets across the United States will have to spend close to $100,000 each to retrofit or replace their cold storage cases. Many of those supermarkets, especially independent retailers and those serving the inner cities, will have to close their doors. Those that don’t will pass the costs along to the consumer in the form of increased food prices.

CFCs are indeed essential for the storage of food and medicines. The CFC ban may cause hunger in the United States, but in the Third World countries, there will be widespread starvation and death as a result of spoiled vaccine and medical supplies. I have enclosed a copy of a recent cover story in the London Spectator by Andrew Kenny, a South African engineer. In no uncertain terms he describes the havoc caused by the CFC ban in Africa and in other parts of the Third World. Increasingly, it is being said that the CFC ban is simply a convenient way for those immoral individuals who want population control of the dark skinned races, to do it through hunger and starvation.”

Thus, the ethical dimension is added to the raging controversy over the ban on Freon. From all angles, the CFC ban is looking pretty shabby. From all angles, as Dr. Sallie Baliunas sees it, “The phaseout of CFCs appears both scientifically unjustified and unnecessarily costly.”


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