The hole in the ozone layer is about to close: the UN announcement

The hole in the ozone layer is about to close: the UN announcement

The hole in the ozone layer, once mankind’s most feared environmental hazard, is expected to be completely gone in most of the world within two decades, thanks to decisive action by many governments to phase out substances that deplete the ozone layer. layer. Loss of the ozone layer, which has risked exposing people to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, is on track to be fully recovered by 2040 in large parts of the world, while it will fully recreate itself by 2040, according to a UN report. 2045 on the Arctic and by 2066 on Antarctica.

Since the ozone loss scare in the 1980s, the ozone layer has steadily improved in the wake of the 1989 Montreal Protocol, an international agreement that helped eliminate 99% of chemicals that deplete the ozone layer , such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which were used as solvents and refrigerants. The UN says that the action taken on the ozone layer has also been a weapon against the climate crisis: CFCs are also greenhouse gases and their continued and uncontrolled use would have raised global temperatures by as much as one degree Celsius by half of the century, worsening an already disastrous situation in which the gases that warm the planet are not yet diminishing.

“Action on ozone sets a precedent for climate action,” said Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, who presented the progress report, compiled every four years. “Our success in phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals shows us what can and should be done urgently to move away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gases and thereby limit temperature rise.”

The unified global response to CFC management means the Montreal Agreement should be regarded as “the most successful environmental treaty in history and offers encouragement for countries of the world to come together and decide on an outcome and act on it,” according to David Fahey , a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who was the lead author of the new assessment.

Progress hasn’t always been linear: In 2018, scientists detected an increase in CFC use, traced it to China, and eventually fixed it. Meanwhile, the replacement of CFCs with another group of industrial chemicals, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), has been problematic as HFCs are greenhouse gases, and thus a further international agreement, reached in Kigali, was needed to curb its spread. ‘use.

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