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November 18, 2018

Report says Earth’s ozone layer is healing

November 6, 2018
Reductions in the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other substances that had been tearing a hole in the layer of ozone that protects earthlings from ultraviolet radiation are showing results. (Francois Mori / AP)

Researchers say a new report indicating the Earth’s ozone layer is healing shows what planet-wide cooperation can accomplish.

Reductions in the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other substances that had been tearing a hole in the layer of ozone that protects earthlings from ultraviolet radiation are showing results.




The hole may be fully healed by the 2030s in the Northern Hemisphere, the 2050s in the Southern Hemisphere and 2060 in the polar regions, according to the report, “Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018,” published by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization.

The report comes out every four years, and the hole has been closing by 1 to 3 per cent since 2000, the group said.

“It’s really good news,” report co-chairman Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told the Associated Press. “If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects. We stopped that.”

The UN group called it a testament to the potential of international cooperation. It was 30 years ago that the historic Montreal Protocol was implemented after it came to light that CFCs and other ozone-sapping substances used in aerosols and cooling and refrigeration systems were allowing Earth to be showered with dangerous ultraviolet radiation.

The resulting cooperation could be applied to other environmental issues, the report’s authors said, calling it “a ray of hope” in the wake of the recent report warning about the ticking clock of global temperature increases.

They’re hoping this will gain traction with the upcoming scheduled ratification of the Kigali Amendment, which will ensure that those ozone-depleting substances aren’t replaced with climate-warming gases in refrigerators, air conditioners and the like.

“The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history for a reason,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, in a statement. “The careful mix of authoritative science and collaborative action that has defined the Protocol for more than 30 years and was set to heal our ozone layer is precisely why the Kigali Amendment holds such promise for climate action in future.”

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