Mr. Lean\’s very strange definition of success

The Montreal thingie on CFCs. A huge success showing us the way forward!

Unfortunately, the chemicals increasingly being employed in their place, HFCs, are themselves exceptionally potent greenhouse gases, and their rise threatens to undo all the progress made in tackling global warming so far.

This is success is it? Ban something to find it substituted by something even more dangerous?

11 thoughts on “Mr. Lean\’s very strange definition of success”

  1. We could try adopting what you appear to be proposing, if you like: do no new thing until all its consequences have been fully understood. Yes getting rid of CFCs was a good idea (lets hope the ozone-hole-was-all-a-liberal-conspiracy nuts stay away). No it didn’t solve all the worlds problems. No the problem with HFC is not new, its been known for years and quite possibly decades.

  2. Re: William M.Connolley (#3)

    You’re the same William M. Connolley who has been banned by Wikipedia for partisan editing of Articles relating to Climate Change?

  3. Re: William M.Connolley (#3)

    ‘We could try adopting what you appear to be proposing, if you like: do no new thing until all its consequences have been fully understood.’

    Us engineers and scientists don’t just ‘try’ this approach, it’s central to everything we create. Bridges, airplanes, new drugs, that sort of thing. It works bloody well.

  4. Thomas Gibbon, you’re defending the precautionary principle? I can assure you, that’s not how engineers work.

    Matt Lacey and William Connelly are both quite right. CFCs/HFCs are both greenhouse gases, but only one also had a role in destroying ozone. Ergo, improvement. Play the ball not the man VP.

  5. Ltw

    I do hope you aren’t an engineer.

    If you were, you’d design anything that *will* kill people if it fails so as to stop it doing so. As far as reasonably possible.

    PP doesn’t apply: the design and prototypes for a plane, or nuclear weapon, or reactor, or drug, or bridge can be tested. Whereas PP is about what *might* happen. That why it’s called Precautionary.

    This thread is about the unintended consequence of the PP policy of switching from CFC to the HFC greenhouse gas. The correct, engineering, solution would have been to avoid them both.

  6. And use what instead? You’ve got one with two downsides, the other has one of them. There are no other alternatives. You can compensate for one of the downsides in other ways. What now?

    The correct, engineering, solution would have been to avoid them both.

    The perfect is the enemy of the good. I’m guessing you’re the kind of engineer who never ships.

  7. I assume you missed the point that CFCs are a powerful greenhouse gas too. So this wasn’t a new consequence. Nothing to see here.

  8. if it fails so as to stop it doing so

    Is that meant to make sense? That’s the sort of thing I mark up as “not ready for review”. With a red pen and in extreme cases (I prefer personal counseling) a dressing down in front of the team.

  9. Nuclear reactors are just big hot kettles with some weird material/chemical properties by the way. Not much to scare you, not after you’ve had the socks melt off your ankles from groundwater more caustic than undiluted bleach.

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