Global efforts to protect the ozone could be working, report says

  • Global efforts to protect the ozone could be working, report says

Global efforts to protect the ozone could be working, report says

This is due to internationally agreed actions carried out under the historic Montreal Protocol, which came into being over 30 years ago 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 unsafe ultraviolet radiation to flood through. When the ozone layer is weakened, more UV rays can get through, making humans more prone to skin cancer, cataracts and other diseases. In fact, the fight over the ozone layer in the mid-to-late 1980s somewhat mirrors the current debates surrounding global warming. Scientists raised the alarm and ozone-depleting chemicals were phased out worldwide.

NASA's Paul Newman, joint chairman of the report, said that two thirds of the ozone would have been destroyed by 2065 had the measures not been implemented.

As a result, the upper ozone layer above the Northern Hemisphere should be completely repaired in the 2030s and the gaping Antarctic ozone hole should disappear in the 2060s, according to a scientific assessment released Monday at a conference in Quito, Ecuador.

"If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects". Man-made chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which release chlorine and bromine, were the first to eat away the layer.

This year, the ozone hole over the South Pole peaked at almost 9.6 million square miles (24.8 million square kilometers). However, in response to the rapid growth of HFC emissions, the 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali Amendment in 2016 to reduce gradually their global production and consumption.

The report says, however, that emissions of certain types of CFCs are increasing in China. The ozone layer shows signs that it has started to heal.

This agreement is now projected to reduce future global average warming in 2100 due to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) from a baseline of 0.3-0.5-degrees C to less than 0.1-degree C. Cross your fingers all goes as planned.

And the replacements now being used to cool cars and refrigerators need to be replaced themselves with chemicals that don't worsen global warming, Newman said.

The 2018 Assessment is the latest in a series of assessments prepared by the world's leading experts in the atmospheric sciences and under the auspices of the Montreal Protocol in coordination with the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment). Newman said we need to wait until 2060, and let our grandchildren do the celebrating.