The ozone is on track to be fully recovered by 2066, says a new United Nations report.
More than thirty five years ago, every nation in the world made a commitment to stop using chemicals that were damaging the ozone. And the progress is showing, as the ozone slowly- but surely- begins to recover.
It is expected that by 2040, the ozone layer will be back to pre-1980s levels for most of the world. By 2045 the ozone layer will have recovered over the Arctic. It will take an extra 21 years for the ozone to recover over Antarctica, by 2066. This is where the Ozone layer is at its thinnest.
“In the upper stratosphere and in the ozone hole, we see things getting better,” co-chair of the scientific assessment Paul Newman said.
It is all thanks to a treaty that was created by the UN in the 1980s that the ozone is finally showing signs of recovery. In September 1987, The Montreal Protocol was implemented. The Montreal Protocol is a unanimous agreement between all nations, and names nearly 100 chemical substances that need to be regulated due to their ozone depleting substances (ODS). When these substances are released into the atmosphere, they cause tremendous damage to the ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol has had positive impacts on Earth’s atmosphere that cannot be underestimated.
“The impact the Montreal Protocol has had on climate change mitigation cannot be overstressed. Over the last 35 years, the Protocol has become a true champion for the environment,” said Meg Seki, the Executive Secretary of the UN Environment Programme’s Ozone Secretariat.
Cooling Down The Planet
It is not just the ozone that is seeing the benefit of less chemicals being released into the air either. Global warming will also decrease thanks to an amendment that was made to The Montreal Protocol that is phasing out damaging substances called HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons). By the year 2100 between 0.3-0.5°C (0.54-0.9°F) of additional warming could be avoided on the current trajectory. That’s pretty cool!
So what exactly is the ozone?
The Ozone Layer Is Earth’s Sunscreen
The importance of the ozone cannot be underestimated. The ozone layer is a protective layer in Earth’s atmosphere, that protects the planet by absorbing nearly all harmful radiation, particularly Ultraviolet (UV) light.
The ozone has been described as ‘Earth’s sunscreen’, due to its ability to protect against 98% OF UV light. Too much exposure to UV can cause devastating health effects. Ninety-five percent of skin cancers are caused by UV exposure. It has been estimated that the Montreal Protocol is helping to save approximately two million people each year by 2030 from skin cancer.