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'Saving the Earth'

March 27, 1989

A careful reading of Stammer's excellent stories from London on the international meeting to deal with new atmospheric ozone problems suggests that U.S. and world environmentalists have their work cut out for them in persuading world leaders, including President Bush, to stop pouring chlorofluorocarbons and halons into the air.

Bush's endorsement of speeding-up the phase-out of ozone-destroying chemicals contained a giant loophole--a ban on CFCs by the turn of the century "if safe alternatives can be developed."

This is a naive and totally misleading view. The world has no alternatives. All nations must end the use of CFCs and halons (a chemical used in fire suppressants) or face a health-threatening and environmental-threatening global disaster.

The destruction of the ozone shield by industrial chemicals is now an established, proven scientific fact.

Stammer reported that recent findings by scientists show "there are enough chemical pollutants in the Arctic to deplete the ozone layer there at the staggering rate of 1% a day if climatic conditions are right."

President Bush's wishy-washy "support" for a ban on ozone destroyers will not persuade Third World foot draggers to go along with the industrialized world when their economic development is at stake.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William K. Reilly, who knows the score on chlorofluorocarbons, is going to have to assemble our top atmospheric scientists and go have a talk with Bush.

The U.S. and Europe must lead the way on this issue. It's a matter of life and death.

LU HAAS

Pacific Palisades

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