Washington Post and Environmentalism: Yesterday's Fix is Today's Crisis

Score another for the Law of Unintended Consequences.

The Washington Post reported July 20 that, “Scientists say the chemicals that helped solve the last global environmental crisis – the hole in the ozone layer – are making the current one worse.”

David A. Fahrenthold wrote, “This is not the funny kind of irony.” Except it really is. Even funnier is the Post’s dedication to the environmental cause, a cause that does not have as much support as the media makes it out, and a cause that keeps shooting itself in the foot.

The chemicals used to replace chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have now been found to “act as heat sponges in Earth's atmosphere, absorbing energy from the sun and keeping it from being reflected out into space,” and therefore contribute to the global warming “crisis.”

“Now, scientists say, the world must find replacements for the replacements – or these super-emissions could cancel out other efforts to stop global warming,” Fahrenthold wrote. Such are the problems when you view everything as a series of crises. Fahrenthold accepts the current climate situation as a “crisis” and joins with the sources he cites to bemoan their betrayal by those replacement chemicals once believed brought salvation.

The chemicals that replaced CFCs are apparently now too voluminous, and “there will soon be many more of them, as developing countries become more prosperous and their people buy vehicles and air conditioners.”

But would Fahrenthold and global warming activists propose keeping poor countries from developing, in the name of saving the planet? Maybe not (at least not publicly), but they do want to replace the replacement. 

“A bigger question: What will replace these chemicals? Experts say that some substitutes, with less global warming impact, can be made with new HFCs or by using ammonia or butane. But others are needed,” Fahrenthold wrote.

No, the bigger question: what environmental catastrophe will the next replacements bring on? Whatever the answer, at least Fahrenthold and co. will have a new crisis to occupy them.