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Filing fails to consider ozone layer, global warming in cost-benefit for O'Hare expansion

A filing last week with the Federal Aviation Administration on a plan to expand Chicago's O'Hare airport shows a cost-benefit ratio as justified, even under adverse scenarios [Paul Merrion, Crain's Chicago Business, 15 Feb. 2005]. However, the filing failed to account for more damage to the ozone layer and more global warming from increases in airline transportation and costly emissions.
What didn't the FAA consider in their cost-benefit analysis for plans for expanding O'Hare?

The FAA didn't consider the ozone layer and global warming in their cost-benefit analysis to expand O'Hare. See subtitled article which follows.

Airline emissions linked to hole in ozone layer and global warming
by Pat Neuman, Climate Specialist
Chicago IMC, 06 March 2005

Emissions of nitrogen oxides and other gases by airlines deplete the ozone layer. More harmful radiation then reaches the Earth's surface, increasing skin cancers, cataracts, crop damages, and damage to plankton which are critical to supporting marine life.

Airline emissions, and those from other fossil fuel burning activities, are altering the balance of greenhouse gases in the lowest level of the Earth's atmosphere - the troposphere.

The increasing heavy accumulation of greenhouse gases in the troposphere is worsening the depletion of the ozone layer in the next atmospheric level up - the stratosphere.

The stratosphere is getting colder due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the troposphere, which is keeping more of the energy from the sun within the troposphere and less passing back out through the stratosphere. A colder stratosphere increases the depletion rate of ozone within the stratospheric ozone layer.

On 07 March 2005, scientists will take off near Munich to fly into the world's protective ozone layer, amid increasing fears that it may be about to develop a hole over Britain and northern Europe. So far, the hole has not formed. Dr Neil Harris of the European Ozone Research Co-ordinating Unit in Cambridge says ozone levels in the Arctic are 40 per cent lower than normal for this time of year. But scientists are divided on the likelihood of a hole developing. Sunlight - which plays a key role in destruction of ozone, will be greatly increasing in the Arctic during the next few weeks. While the intensely cold "vortex" that forms the hole stays in the same place in Antarctica, in the northern hemisphere it wanders about.

Comment: A depleted ozone layer may have contributed to extinctions in Earth's history. Non-anthropogenic gases may have been sufficient under extremely cold stratospheric conditions to deplete the ozone layer and cause the extinctions that took place during global warming episodes in Earth's past (late Permian extinction of 245 mya, Cenomanian/Turonian of 95 mya, Paleocene/Eocene of 55 mya). A depleted ozone layer 55 mya could explain the great loss of marine species at the Paleocene/Eocene, from a loss of plankton due to high ultraviolet radiation.

If the FAA considered the costs from increases in airline emissions to the ozone layer and global warming in their cost-benefit analysis, their more meaningful cost-benefit figures would clearly show that O'Hare should not be expanded, not ever.

Airline emissions linked to hole in ozone layer and global warming, at:




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