By JOHN HEILPRIN - Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON(AP) Cool your home, warm the planet. When more than two dozen
countries undertook in 1989 to fix the ozone hole over Antarctica, they
began replacing chloroflourocarbons in refrigerators, air conditioners and
But they had little idea that using other gases that contain chlorine or
fluorine instead also would contribute greatly to global warming.
CFCs destroy ozone, the atmospheric layer that helps protect against the
sun's most harmful rays, and trap the earth's heat, contributing to a rise
in average surface temperatures.
In theory, the ban should have helped both problems. But the countries that
first signed the Montreal Protocol 17 years ago failed to recognize that CFC
users would seek out the cheapest available alternative.
The chemicals that replaced CFCs are better for the ozone layer, but do
little to help global warming. These chemicals, too, act as a reflective
layer in the atmosphere that traps heat like a greenhouse.
That effect is at odds with the intent of a second treaty, drawn up in
Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 by the same countries behind the Montreal pact. In
fact, the volume of greenhouse gases created as a result of the Montreal
agreement's phaseout of CFCs is two times to three times the amount of
global-warming carbon dioxide the Kyoto agreement is supposed to eliminate.
This unintended consequence now haunts the nations that signed both U.N.
Switzerland first tried in 1990 to sound an alarm that the solution for
plugging the ozone hole might contribute to another environmental problem.
"Nothing, or almost," said Blaise Horisberger, the Swiss representative to
U.N.-backed Montreal treaty. "We have been permanently raising this issue.
It has been really difficult."
In other words, we made SO much money the first time, lets do it one more