Jon Dawson: Is Freon going away in 2020?

Jon Dawson: Is Freon going away in 2020?

Forecasters are predicting snow for much of Eastern North Carolina later this week. Actually, that's not true, but you sure were happy for a tenth of a second, weren't you?

If the thought of snow amidst this sky-melting heatwave we're currently going through doesn't make you smile, your face might be broken. Even the most ardent winter haters out there are surely tired of this soupy, oppressive quilt of moisture that's draped over us all like some sort of penance.

One blessing I never take for granted is air conditioning. Holy mackerel, twice this summer our electricity has gone out for just a few seconds, and during those few seconds that soothing, reassuring hum of the air conditioner was gone.

I've played music to a rowdy crowd at Kenny's Castaways in New York City, drank water from a garden hose and seen Neuse News Editor Bryan Hanks eat an entire plate of spaghetti with his bare hands, but none of those scenarios are as scary as the thought of no A/C in the middle of the summer.

The cherry on top? As of 2020, there will be no more Freon — the coolant that makes life a viable option during the summer months. Of course, Freon will be replaced with an alternative substance that's as of this writing considered to be better for the environment — and I hear is also great on a saltine.

I'm all for anything that's better for the environment, but my concern is what happens if my still-functioning A/C unit develops a Freon leak? Based on my 4 minutes of internet research, most A/C units manufactured before 2010 will have to be serviced with recycled Freon. My guess is recycled Freon will be more expensive than caviar harvested with a diamond scoop from a breed of sturgeon that only exists on the moon.

The issue with Freon as I understand it is it's bad for the ozone layer, which is part of the buffer between our atmosphere and outer space. Since I was a kid, I've been inundated with cautionary tales of what could happen if we don't protect the ozone. I remember in fourth grade we collected money for weeks to help out with NASA's Operation Patchwork.

"The ozone layer is in peril," said former astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a 1984 press release. "The purpose of Operation Patchwork is to equip the Space Shuttle with a million rolls of duct tape so our astronauts can start patching the gaping ozone hole over the arctic. Sure, all that duct tape will block out the sun at the North Pole, but it's already dark up there half the year anyway.

“We'll chopper in some flashlights — they'll be fine."

It's my belief that scholars and unsuspecting Facebook re-posters have the cure to global warming staring them right in the face: outer space is cold. That's right, the average cosmic background temperature in outer space is minus-455F, which is almost twice as cold as Kevin Spacey's career and a little warmer than Ariana Grande's disposition.

Obviously, we should do away with the ozone altogether so cold space air could swoosh in and save the ice for the polar bears, lower the sea levels, and most importantly, head off this Freon problem at the pass.

Anyone who actually cares about the environment should gather all the aerosol cans they can lay their hands on and spray them skyward. Come on, folks, we need those chlorofluorocarbons in the air, and pronto!

Jon Dawson's humor columns are published weekly by Neuse News. Contact Jon at and

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