The essentially positive story of CFC reduction - slightly depressing though that history seems bound to repeat with the manoeuvrings of the energy industry & politicians. Do we ever really learn?
"The Coalition MPs causing such a rearguard rumpus on behalf of Big Coal ought to book lessons on how to perform a screeching U-turn when the light finally dawns on them.
They could do worse than study the amazing switcheroo of the once infamous Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy.
Remember the ozone hole?
Think of the ozone hole of the 1980s as the climate of the 21st century and chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) as coal and you might get a preview of the humiliation awaiting the current champions of coal-fired energy.
Back in 1974 two scientists postulated a link between the depletion of the ozone layer above Antarctica and the increasing use of CFCs, which were used in refrigerators, cleaning solvents, as aerosol propellants and in the manufacture of plastic foams.
The findings were poo-pooed and outright attacked by big industry and conservative politicians. But by the end of the 1970s, growing evidence of the depletion of the ozone layer was causing alarm among those who cared to look at the science.
The ozone layer, after all, is critical in protecting life on Earth. It absorbs ultraviolet radiation which otherwise causes skin cancer, damage to the genes and suppresses the immune system in living organisms.
The US president at the time was Jimmy Carter, who declared his Christian faith embraced a commitment to protect the environment. "Stewardship of the earth", he called it.
Many CFCs of the time were marketed as Freon by the US chemical giant DuPont.
And in 1978, with evidence growing that CFCs were chewing up the ozone layer, Carter's administration outlawed the use of Freon in aerosol cans.
DuPont was infuriated. Its product might have been endangering life on Earth, but regulations like this would endanger something more important: profits.
With the support of like-minded Big Industry, DuPont established an outfit called the Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy. Its real aim was to confront anti-CFC science and to lobby politicians to stop any further regulation.
Those who denied the science and fought to keep pumping CFCs into the ozone layer are now consigned to the history's bin
It got its wish when Ronald Reagan, who believed government regulation was devilry, became US president in 1981.
But the world was moving on, leaving Reagan's US and DuPont behind. In 1985 a giant hole in the ozone layer was finally proved.
So concerned were most developed countries that diplomats met in Montreal in 1987 and signed a treaty, the Montreal Protocol, requiring massive reductions in the production of CFCs. Australia was among the first signatories.
Two years later, 12 European Community nations agreed to ban the production of all CFCs by the end of the century. In 1990, diplomats met in London and voted to significantly strengthen the protocol, calling for a complete elimination of CFCs by the year 2000.
Meanwhile, DuPont had slyly sniffed the wind. Its representatives attended the Montreal convention, performed an astonishing backflip and actively lobbied for a total ban on CFCs worldwide.
It had developed a new product, known as HCFCs, which DuPont claimed would fix the problem.
Along with this U-turn, the CFC Alliance changed its name to the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy. It was recognition that the game was all but over. The only thing left to do was stall for time and to sound responsible.
In fact, HCFCs do deplete ozone, albeit at a rate much reduced from CFCs. They too were eventually banned in favour of non-ozone-destroying products known as HFCs.
Thirty years on, ozone-watching scientists announced last year that the ozone hole had finally begun healing.
The hole in 2016 was four million square kilometres less than the 21 million square kilometres of the year 2000, and the downward trend was generally on course (with the notable exception of 2015, when volcanic activity kicked the hole wider).
The world's decision to tackle the compounds that were destroying the ozone layer and threatening life on Earth is now considered history's most important environmental action.
Those who denied the science and fought to keep pumping CFCs into the ozone layer are now consigned to the history's bin.
And today, those in Australia who deny that coal is destined to go the same way, eventually, as CFCs, and who appear content to cripple their own political movement in the argument, seem to have learned nothing."