More protection: UN says Earth’s ozone layer is healing

Pablo Tucker
November 9, 2018

This global treaty came into being over 30 years ago in response to the scientific discovery that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances - used in aerosol spray cans, cooling and refrigeration systems - were tearing a hole in the ozone layer, allowing the Sun's ultraviolet radiation to flood through.

The ozone layer's recuperation has been credited to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which mandated that countries phase out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting chemicals.

Parts of it could even be fully repaired by the 2030s, the report said.

If CFC-11 emissions continued at the same rate, return of mid-latitude and polar ozone-depleting chemicals to their 1980 values would be delayed by about 7 and 20 years, respectively, the report said.

This year, the ozone hole over the South Pole peaked at almost 9.6 million square miles - which is still about 16% smaller than the biggest hole recorded.


Every four years, a report like this one is released, documenting the recovery of the ozone layer.

"It's really good news", said report co-chairman Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

"We're raising a flag to the global community to say, 'This is what's going on, and it is taking us away from timely recovery of the ozone layer, '" NOAA scientist Stephen Montzka, the study's lead author, said in a statement at the time.

This is due to internationally agreed actions carried out under the historic Montreal Protocol, which came into being over 30 years ago.

If nothing had been done to stop the thinning, the world would have destroyed two-thirds of its ozone layer by 2065, he warned.


Ozone is a layer that protects life on Earth from harmful layers of ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Still, the United Nations said they were heartened by their findings about the ozone layer ― and what its recovery could mean for future climate action.

And the replacements to CFCs that are now being used to cool cars and refrigerators need to be replaced with other chemicals because they worsen global warming, Mr Newman said.

Mr Newman added: "I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060, ' he said".

The Protocol was in response to the revelation that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances - used in aerosols, cooling and refrigeration systems, and many other items - were tearing a hole in the ozone layer and allowing risky ultraviolet radiation to flood through.


"The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history for a reason", Erik Solheim, the head of UN Environment", said in the press release.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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