A new report released by the University of Waterloo and published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B this week, says contrary to long-held belief, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are to blame for global warming since the 1970s, not carbon dioxide.
The report says CFCs are known to deplete ozone, but this statistical analysis shows that CFCs are also the key driver in global climate change, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The findings, says the are based on in-depth statistical analyses of observed data from 1850 up to the present time.
Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, biology and chemistry in Waterloo’s Faculty of Science, says the study flies in the face of conventional thinking.
“Conventional thinking says that the emission of human-made non-CFC gases such as carbon dioxide has mainly contributed to global warming. But we have observed data going back to the Industrial Revolution that convincingly shows that conventional understanding is wrong,” he said. “In fact, the data shows that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays caused both the polar ozone hole and global warming.”
“Most conventional theories expect that global temperatures will continue to increase as CO2 levels continue to rise, as they have done since 1850,” continued Lu. “What’s striking is that since 2002, global temperatures have actually declined – matching a decline in CFCs in the atmosphere,” Professor Lu said. “My calculations of CFC greenhouse effect show that there was global warming by about 0.6 °C from 1950 to 2002, but the earth has actually cooled since 2002. The cooling trend is set to continue for the next 50-70 years as the amount of CFCs in the atmosphere continues to decline.”
Terry McMahon, dean of the faculty of science at the University of Waterloo commented on the study.
“This study underlines the importance of understanding the basic science underlying ozone depletion and global climate change,” he said. “This research is of particular importance not only to the research community, but to policy makers and the public alike as we look to the future of our climate.”
A recent study found that 97% of peer-reviewed papers on climate change pointed to human activity as the main driver. The survey, which was published last week in the journal Environmental Research Letters, analyzed nearly 12,000 peer-reviewed papers published between 1991 and 2011. It followed on a 2004 study that found not a single peer-reviewed paper had rejected manmade climate change.