Some good news for you while we are all social distancing and physically isolating during this time of COVID-19. The Earth’s ozone layer is on track to heal completely in our lifetime.
Late last year, the UN Environment Agency reported that if current momentum continued, scientists predict the planet’s protective shield of gas – the ozone layer as we call it – will be completely healed as far as some regions of the planet are concerned, by the 2030’s.Due largely to the phaseout of controlled uses of ozone-depleting substances, which has not only helped replenish the protective layer for future generations but is also helping guard human health by filtering harmful rays from reaching Earth, said the UNEP in a shared statement.
The agreement targets the phasing of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), climate-warming gases, which could avoid up to 0.4 degrees Celsius of global temperature rise by end of the century.
Some of the damaging effects of ozone-depleting substances allow increased ultraviolet (or UV) rays to reach the earth, increasing incidents of skin cancers, eye cataracts, compromised immune systems and harm to agricultural lands and forests.
After three decades of remarkable international cooperation to protect the ozone layer and the climate under the Montreal Protocol, it reminds us that we must keep up the momentum to ensure the health of our planet and the creatures who live on it, including humans.
The Montreal Protocol is, to date, the only UN treaty to be adopted by all Member States, with all parties sharing responsibilities relating to phasing out ozone-depleting substances, controlled trade of such substances, annual data reporting and other matters.
The latest Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion completed in 2018, shows that, as a result, parts of the ozone layer have recovered at a rate of 1-3% per decade since 2000. At projected rates, Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone will heal completely by the 2030s. The Southern Hemisphere will follow in the 2050s and Polar Regions by 2060. Ozone layer protection efforts have also contributed to the fight against climate change by averting an estimated 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, from 1990 to 2010.
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres said, “we must be careful not to neglect the ozone layer,” as we “rightly focus our energies on tackling climate change”, stating the importance of preventing threats posed by emission of ozone-depleting gases.
Regenerating the ozone has helped curb the effects of climate change – with approximately 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 to 2010 averted by a strong protective shield.
As of late last year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported the global concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is still steadily on the rise, with consequential warming effects on the planet and ozone-teardown.
It goes to show what can be achieved when humanity comes together to tackle a global problem.