Tags: ozone layer | CFCs | Montreal Protocol

UN Report: Hole in Ozone Layer Is Shrinking

UN Report: Hole in Ozone Layer Is Shrinking
(NASA/EPA/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 11 September 2014 09:41 AM


The hole in the ozone layer — which protects the earth from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays — is shrinking, according to The Washington Post, citing a 110-page report issued by the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization.

The diminishing hole will help prevent some two million cases of skin cancer by 2030, according to the International Business Times.

Human immune systems, wildlife and agriculture will also benefit from the recovery, which scientists credit to a marked reduction in chlorofluorocarbons, known as CFCs, in consumer products. CFCs were widely used in the 1980s in refrigerators, air conditioners and aerosol cans.

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“It’s a victory for diplomacy and for science and for the fact that we were able to work together,” said chemist Mario Molina, who won a Nobel Prize for his research into the ozone layer, the Times reported.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987 and entered into force in 1989. Its purpose was to “reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone layer.”

A panel of 300 scientists reports to the United Nations on the subject every four years. They have concluded that the ozone layer should return to pre-1980 levels by 2050, though the most damaged layers in the Antarctic will take until 2075, according to the Post.

"International action on the ozone layer is a major environmental success story," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a UNEP statement. "This should encourage us to display the same level of urgency and unity to tackle the even greater challenge of climate change.”

On the downside, the Associated Press reports that MIT scientist Susan Solomon’s findings that the chemicals replacing CFCs are contributing to global warming.

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At the moment, they don’t make much of a dent, but they are expected to increase dramatically by 2050 and make "a big contribution" to global warming, she said.

Carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas, jumped to a record high in 2013, the biggest leap in 30 years, according to a United Nations announcement this week.


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The hole in the ozone layer - which protects the earth from the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays - is shrinking, The Washington Post said, citing a report issued by the United Nations.
ozone layer, CFCs, Montreal Protocol
392
2014-41-11
Thursday, 11 September 2014 09:41 AM
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