An UN-backed report has found that the ozone layer is healing, providing proof of what global achievements can achieve and inspiration that ambitious climate action can halt a catastrophic rise in world temperatures.
Released every four years, the latest Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion report shows that the concentration of ozone-depleting substances continues to decrease. In fact, ozone in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1 to 3 per cent since 2000 and is scheduled to heal completely in the Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude by the 2030s at projected rates. The Southern Hemisphere is expected to heal by the 2050s and the polar regions by the 2060s.
The UN unequivocally states that the healing is “due to internationally agreed actions carried out under the historic Montreal Protocol, which came into being over 30 years ago”. It was signed after it was revealed that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances used in aerosols, cooling and refrigeration and many other common items were tearing a hole in the ozone layer.
“The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history for a reason,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. He lauded its “careful mix of authoritative science and collaborative action”, which is set to be strengthened with the ratification next year of the Kigali Amendment, which calls to slash the future use of climate-warming gases in refrigerators, air conditioners and related products.
According to a UN press release, the findings in this new report “provide a ray of hope” less than one month after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that described the catastrophic effects of a 2°C temperature rise.
If the Kigali Amendment is fully implemented, the world could avoid up to 0.4 per cent of global warming this century, meaning that the amendment has the potential to play a major role in keeping global temperature rise below 2°C.
Image credit: NASA