Thunderheads near Borneo, Indonesia are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 40 crew member on the International Space Station.
Thunderheads near Borneo, Indonesia are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 40 crew member on the International Space Station.

Cosmic Queries in the O-zone: Saving the World with Susan Solomon & Stephen Andersen

NASA/Expedition 40 crew member, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Free Audio
  • Ad-Free Audio
  • Ad-Free Video

About This Episode

How did we save the ozone layer? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice break down the successful campaign to save the ozone layer with professor and atmospheric chemist Susan Solomon and director of research for the Institute of Governance and Sustabaility Stephen Andersen. What lessons can we learn to apply to the ongoing climate crisis?

How do you save the world? We discuss their winning the Future of Life Award this week (details here) for their contributions to the 1987 Montreal Protocol. What was it? Is it the most successful treaty of our day? How did the ozone layer get depleted? What is a Chlorofluorocarbon or CFC? How do you convince people to get rid of what they have if you don’t have something for them to replace it with? We explore how industries and media were able to create a movement to help the cause. How do we create a sustainable civilization?

How does the ozone layer work to protect us? Discover the different forms of oxygen and how they interact with UV rays from the sun. How much UV actually reaches the Earth’s surface? What are the actual effects of refrigerants and CFCs on the atmosphere? What’s HCFC22? Or HFC410A? Are we at the point of no return with runaway climate change? Do we have any new technology to reverse the change? We break down whether geoengineering Earth is a good idea and how to fix our dire energy infrastructure problem.

Do all heroes wear capes? We take a moment to appreciate the work of climate scientists and the tireless work they’ve been doing against the clock. Would reducing the cost of greener alternatives be enough? What’s the most life-changing adaptation we will be forced to make in the near future? Is it true that 75% of all greenhouse gas emissions are created by just 100 companies? What does it mean to go carbon-neutral? What is the most likely cause for Earth becoming uninhabitable? How do you convince climate change deniers? What lessons can we learn and apply from the Montreal Protocol? All that, plus, Chuck announces the release of his new hit country album “My Daddy was a Solar Panel Installer.”

Thanks to our Patrons ryan ogle, David Matthews, Colleen Magee-Uhlik, Ryan Atashkar, Cameron Q Myhre, Jordan Sisinni, and Mien for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

 

In This Episode

  • Host

    Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Astrophysicist
  • Co-Host

    Chuck Nice

    Chuck Nice
    Comedian
  • Guest

    Susan Solomon

    Susan Solomon
    Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor in Environmental Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Guest

    Stephen Andersen

    Stephen Andersen
    Director of Research at the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development and former co-chair of the Montreal Protocol Assessment Panel

Get the most out of StarTalk!

Ad-Free Audio Downloads
Ad-Free Video Episodes
Stickers & Mugs
Live Streams with Neil
Priority Cosmic Queries
Early-Access Videos
Learn the Meaning of Life
...and much more

Episode Topics