After decades of efforts, our planet’s ozone layer is finally recovering. But this may take a few more decades until it fully recovers, according to a report backed by the United Nations (UN).
According to the report, our planet’s ozone layer is on track to be completely recovered by 2040 across the world, aside from the polar regions. As for the poles, the ozone layer will fully bounce back by 2045 over the Arctic and by 2066 over the Antarctic.
That is if we continue our current trend of reducing the use of ozone-depleting substances.
Following the alarming loss of ozone in the 1980s, the Montreal Protocol was ratified universally in 1987, which help eliminate 99% of the ozone-depleting chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that were used as solvents and refrigerants.
The protocol also regulates the use of these substances and publishes a report on the progress of the ozone’s recovery every four years.
The report also mentioned the positive progress in reducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — substances that have been used as less-harmful-to-ozone alternatives instead of CFCs but are still considered bad for the environment.
Although these HFCs do not directly erode the integrity of the ozone layer, they still do contribute to global warming.
The Montreal Protocol was later amended to also target the reduction of these HFCs, which seem to have had progressively lower usages over the years, according to the report.
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Meanwhile, the report also estimated that if we are continuing what we are doing currently, we should see about 0.3 to 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.54 to 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) avoided by the year 2100.
“That ozone recovery is on track to the latest quadrennial report is fantastic news. The impact the Montreal Protocol has had on climate change mitigation cannot be overstated,” said Meg Seki, the Executive Secretary of the UN’s Environment Program’s Ozone Secretariat.
“Over the last 35 years, the Protocol has become a true champion for the environment.”
The Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, Professor Petteri Taalas added that these positive developments meant that the world is heading towards the right direction.
“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,” he said.