In the upper stratosphere and in the ozone hole we see things getting better.Co-chair of a recent United Nations’ Scientific Assessment, Paul Newman. The once-every-four-years assessment found that the earth’s protective ozone layer is healing. The report confirms that nearly 99% of banned ozone-depleting substances have been phased out.
What To Know: Countries around the world made an agreement in 1987 to implement measures to protect and heal a large hole forming in the ozone, which shields earth from harmful radiation that is linked to crop damage, cataracts, skin cancer, etc. The agreement – the Montreal Protocol – banned chemicals often found in refrigerants and aerosol sprays (ex: certain types of deodorant and hairsprays).
Why It Matters: Signs of healing have been in the making for years, but the recent report marks the most significant data pointing towards a healed ozone, thus humans exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays has largely decreased. The process will still take time, though, as the hole over Antarctica is set to fully mend in about 43 years. The global average atmosphere will reach 1980 pre-thinning levels in about 2040, and normalcy should return in the Arctic around 2045.
Big Picture of the Scientific Assessment: “Ozone action sets a precedent for climate action. Our success in phasing out ozone-eating chemicals shows us what can and must be done – as a matter of urgency – to transition away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gases and so limit temperature increase,” World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas said.
UN says ozone layer slowly healing, hole to mend by 2066 (The Associated Press)
by Jenna Lee,