Nature Canada

Ozone Success Shows Emissions Can Be Reduced

When I was growing up, before going to play outside we were always told, “Put on lots of sunscreen!” The hole in the ozone layer was a fairly recent discovery, and cholorfluorocarbons (CFCs) were still found in everything from refrigerator coolants to hair spray aerosol pumps.

While today’s findings by UN scientists that the ozone layer has stopped thinning don’t mean I can leave the tube of sunblock at home, they do show us that a concerted global effort can reduce emissions and have a positive effect on the environment.

From the AFP story:

“The Montreal Protocol signed in 1987 to control ozone depleting substances is working, it has protected us from further ozone depletion over the past decades,” said World Meteorological Organisation head of research Len Barrie.

“Global ozone, including ozone in the polar region, is no longer decreasing but not yet increasing,” he told journalists.

The 300 scientists who compiled the four yearly ozone assessment now expect that the ozone layer in the stratosphere will be restored to 1980 levels in 2045 to 2060, according to the report, “slightly earlier” than expected.

This success in reducing CFCs, also a contributor to climate change, shows us that a concerted effort could reduce other greenhouse gas emissions. The world was able to recognize its danger once before and we hope that global leaders will come together again this winter to agree on steps to reduce the levels of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere by human activity.

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