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The Ozone Threat: Managing with Uncertainty

The ozone layer serves as protection of the Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Over a span of decades it has been found out and continuously theorized that the said layer is thinning or depleting. This depletion is speculated by scientific experts to have negative effects to human beings and most importantly to the environment.

Studies have been done regarding the possible negative effects of the depletion of the ozone layer. First, it was said that a small 5% decrease in the ozone would probably produce thousands of new cases of skin cancer every year. Second, solar radiation can damage the planktons in the oceans which provide the world its oxygen supply. Apart from that, the
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But, the new report issued another concern which is the growing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide and its impact on the atmosphere or what has been called the “greenhouse effect.”

In 1985, 21 nations including the US met and agreed to cooperate in atmospheric research and the monitoring of ozone levels. Eventually, no agreement on restricting the use of CFCs was reached because some nations refused to abide. In the same year, a scientist reported that a giant hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic has been developing. It was shortly confirmed after satellite observations saw the presence of the said hole. It was the first clear direct evidence that the ozone layer was breaking down at a very high rate. Observations in October 1985 indicated a 50% loss of the ozone over the Arctic region. Though despite this finding, DuPont continued its expansion of CFC production in Japan. Apart from DuPont, Allied-Signal, the second largest producer was reported to be planning to increase their CFC sales.

In 1986, leaders of the CFC industry started to change their positions. The Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy supported “a reasonable global limit on the future rate of growth” of CFC production. DuPont also stated that its position was to “be prudent to take precautionary measures to limit CFC growth worldwide.” However, DuPont and other US producers lobbied against any federal legislation that would limit CFC production unless there were

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