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5/3/2005 Lecture explores how a plant in Gresham can impact global warming

McMINNVILLE - Jim Diamond, professor of chemistry at Linfield College, will speak on "Global Warming, Greenhouse Gases and Gresham - It’s Not All Hot Air" Wednesday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m. in Jonasson Hall, lower level of Melrose Hall

In October, Diamond noticed a small article in The Oregonian announcing a public hearing on an air quality permit for a proposed Owens Corning Corporation polystyrene foam insulation board manufacturing facility in Gresham. The company was requesting an air quality permit to allow it to emit 283 tons of HCFC-142-b per year. The chemical is an ozone depleting chemical that is also a greenhouse gas. The announcement said that the amount of the greenhouse gas the facility would emit would be equivalent to adding 100 more cars on the road.

At the time, Diamond was teaching a freshman inquiry seminar on Chemistry and the Atmosphere, which studied issues relating to global warming, climate change and ozone depletion. He asked his class to begin studying this particular issue and to figure out what the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide had to be released in order to get the same global warming potential. Once the class had that calculation they then figured out how many cars would have to be present in order to produce that amount of CO2.

"The DEQ was off by a factor of 1,000," Diamond said. "It was actually the equivalent of adding 111,000 cars to the road, not 100, as they had announced."

The class’s calculation showed that HCFC-142-b is a potent greenhouse gas. In fact, the use of the chemical has been abandoned by most insulation manufacturers. Diamond’s class wrote about the chemical and assisted in gathering the technical data that he presented to DEQ. He also testified at the public hearing in Gresham.

His lecture will discuss the issue, the results of the public hearing to date and the roles of Oregon public agencies in the Owens-Corning permitting process.

Diamond has been on the Linfield faculty since 1991. He has a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia, Pa., and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call 503-883-2409.