“Limits On The Space Launch Market Related To Stratospheric Ozone Depletion” By Ross et al. 2009

There is a new paper (which one of authors, Professor Darin Toohey, effectively weblogged on last week; see). The article is

Ross, M., D. Toohey, M. Peinemann, and P. Ross, 2009: Limits on the Space Launch Market Related to Stratospheric Ozone Depletion Astropolitics, 7, 50-82, doi:10.1080/14777620902768867.

and which directly relates to the issue of geoengineering as discussed, for example, in a recent interview by John Holdren who is President Obama’s science advisor (see), and weblogged on by Professor Toohey.

The abstract of the paper reads

 “Solid rocket motors (SRMs) and liquid rocket engines (LREs) deplete the global ozone layer in various capacities. We estimate global ozone depletion from rockets as a function of payload launch rate and relative mix of SRM and LRE rocket emissions. Currently, global rocket launches deplete the ozone layer ∼0.03%, an insignificant fraction of the depletion caused by other ozone depletion substances (ODSs). As the space industry grows and ODSs fade from the stratosphere, ozone depletion from rockets could become significant. This raises the possibility of regulation of space launch systems in the name of ozone protection. Large uncertainties in our understanding of ozone loss caused by rocket engines leave open the possibility that launch systems might be limited to as little as several tens of kilotons per year, comparable to the launch requirements of proposed space systems such as spaceplanes, space solar power, and space reflectors to mitigate climate change. The potential for limitations on launch systems due to idiosyncratic regulation to protect the ozone layer present a risk to space industrial development. The risk is particularly acute with regard to the economic rationale to develop low-cost, high flight rate launch systems.”

with its press releases at:  http://atoc.colorado.edu/~toohey/PUMA.html.

Clearly, as reported on Climate Science, any attempt for a solution  to an environmental concern which is considered too narrowly (e.g. see also with respect to biofuels), can result in serious unanticipated consequences. For additional discussion on Climate Science with respect to geoengineering; see

Comments On The Physics Today Article “Will Desperate Climates Call for Desperate Geoengineering Measures?” by Barbara Goss Levi.



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