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More protection: UN says Earth’s ozone layer is healing | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

09 November 2018

According to a United Nations report, the upper layer of ozone over the northern hemisphere will be repaired by 2030, and the damage over the southern hemisphere will be back to normal by the middle of the century.

This year, the ozone hole over the South Pole peaked at almost 9.6 million square miles - which is still about 16% smaller than the biggest hole recorded.

Scientists discovered the the ozone layer, particularly over the Antarctic region and as far up as Australia, had depleted in the 1970s.

According to the report, the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, has been recovering steadily at a rate of 1 to 3 percent since 2000 thanks to the global efforts to reduce ozone-depleting chemicals.

The Montreal Protocol was finalized in 1987 in response to the realization that numerous chemicals used in aerosols, air conditioning systems, refrigerators, and industrial solvents were eroding the planet's stratosphere, creating a hole and allowing harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation to seep through the ozone layer. It prevents damage to the earth's ecosystems and provides protection against skin cancer.

Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said: "Over the last three decades, the Montreal protocol has fulfilled its original objective to heal the ozone layer".

But an amendment to the Montreal Protocol is set to come into place next year which will ban the chemical.

The earth's protective ozone layer is well on track to recovery, thanks to worldwide efforts against ozone-depleting substances.

Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, described the Montreal Protocol as "one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history". Nations that ratify the Kigali Amendment are committing to cutting the projected production and consumption of these gases, known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), by more than 80 percent. India is also bound by the Protocol and its amendment, but the country gets more time to get rid of such gases as compared to the window available to developed countries and China.

"It's really good news", said report co-chairman Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the IPCC report an "ear-splitting wake-up call". Scientists informed about this danger and the chemicals which weaken the ozone were gradually stopped being used in the whole world.

The findings are being hailed as a demonstration of what global agreements can achieve, and an inspiration for more ambitious climate action to halt a catastrophic rise in world temperatures.

More protection: UN says Earth’s ozone layer is healing | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer