ibusinesslines.com December 09, 2018

UN says Earth's ozone layer is healing as CFC curbs take hold

09 November 2018, 02:46 | Justin Tyler

Image The ozone layer of the atmosphere will be repaired by 2030

The ozone layer of the atmosphere will be repaired by 2020

This combination of images made available by NASA shows areas of low ozone above Antarctica on September 2000, left, and September 2018 GENEVA: The ozone layer that shields life from cancer-causing solar rays is recovering at a rate of one to three percent per decade, reversing years of unsafe depletion caused by the release of harmful chemicals, a United Nations study said on Monday. The worldwide agreement compelled the global community to begin the phasing out of ozone-depleting substances like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and halons.

According to a scientific assessment released in a conference held in Quito in Ecuador on Monday, the result will be that by 2030, the upper layer of ozone will be completely rectified on the upper hemisphere and the Antarctic ozone hole should disappear by 2060.

But the United Nations has today said it is finally healing, with the Northern Hemisphere's upper ozone layer expected to be repaired in the 2030s.

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.

The report may send a positive signal to the global community which had joined hands in 1987 to end the use of ozone-depleting substances (CFCs, HCFCs and others) in refrigerators, air conditioners, aerosol cans and other related products by switching over to non-ozone depleting substances as refrigerants. It's unclear, however, how much more warming can be expected once the Antarctic ozone hole heals.

It is possible the healing of the ozone hole above Antarctica may insulate the continent and accelerate climate warming, but report co-author Ross Salawitch, an atmospheric scientist at the University of MI, said the immediate effects of ozone damage were such that it would be "incredibly irresponsible" not to protect the depleted ozone layer.

However, while most of the banned damaging gases have been phased out, the study found at least one violation - having spotting that production and emission of CFC-11 unexpected increased in eastern Asia since 2012. Newman said we'll need to ensure that the replacements for these gases don't worsen global warming.

'We are only at a point where recovery may have started, ' Mr Toon said. It prevents damage to the earth's ecosystems and provides protection against skin cancer.

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

Next year, the Protocol is set to be strengthened with the ratification of the Kigali Amendment, which calls for decreasing the future use of powerful climate-warming gases, which also damage the ozone layer.

'I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060, ' he said.

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