A new report from the United Nations has revealed that the hole in the ozone is repairing itself. The news is being celebrated as an example of what global agreements can achieve, but don’t get complacent about the planet’s future just yet.
Some parts of the ozone layer have recovered at a rate of 1-3 percent since 2000, and at projected rates, the ozone above the Northern Hemisphere could heal completely by the 2030s, the Southern Hemisphere by the 2050s and the polar regions by 2060.
The UN is celebrating this news and using it as an example of what happens when countries work together because it’s largely the result of the Montreal Protocol.
The Montreal Protocol was finalised in 1987, and it saw countries agree to phase out the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances, such as chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which are used in aerosols and refrigeration systems.
The UN described these findings as a ‘ray of hope’ following the release of a report last month that described the devastating effects of a 2°C temperature increase.
Experts largely agree that it is good news, but it’s only the beginning.
The University of Colorado’s Brian Toon told the BBC, “We are only at a point where recovery may have started.”
If next year’s Kigali Amendment is fully implemented, the writers of the report found that the world can avoid up to 0.4% of global warming this century, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but could keep us below the projected temperature increase of 2°C.
The Kigali Amendment is an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that calls for the future use of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances to be slashed.
The Montreal Protocol and its subsequent amendments have been ratified by all UN member states (except for the Beijing Amendment, which hasn’t been ratified by Mauritania), so if next year’s amendment is ratified by all countries in a timely fashion, it could help prevent serious disaster.
I think we all know who we have to thank for this bit of good news. Cheers, Planeteers, for teaching us that we can most effectively help the planet when we work together. Hopefully our very own Captain Planet will come along soon.