Earth's ozone layer is healing says UN

Montreal Protocol has prevented severe ozone depletion

This combination of images made available by NASA shows areas of low ozone above Antarctica on September 2000, left, and September 2018 GENEVA: The ozone layer that shields life from cancer-causing solar rays is recovering at a rate of one to three percent per decade, reversing years of unsafe depletion caused by the release of harmful chemicals, a United Nations study said on Monday.

The writers of the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018 found that, if the Kigali Amendment is fully implemented, the world can avoid up to 0.4 percent of global warming this century.

The report shows that the Antarctic ozone hole is recovering, while continuing to occur every year.

He added: "If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects. But we stopped them".

It is the layer that shields the Earth from cancer-causing solar rays and the report says it is recovering at a rate of one to three percent a decade.

The Protocol was in response to the revelation that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances - used in aerosols, cooling and refrigeration systems, and many other items - were tearing a hole in the ozone layer and allowing unsafe ultraviolet radiation to flood through.

Aerosol spray and coolants made before the ban contained man-made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which released chlorine and bromine that ate away at the ozone.

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By the late 1990s around 10 per cent of the upper ozone layer had been depleted. "Most potential is in increasing the energy efficiency of these appliances as 80% of the emissions are due to the use of electricity and 20% due to the release of the refrigerants", said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The Antarctic ozone hole is expected to gradually close, with springtime total column ozone returning to 1980 values in the 2060s.

The hole reaches its peak in September and October and disappears by late December until the next Southern Hemisphere spring, Newman said.

"It shows that the ozone layer is under fix, and highlights areas that must be strengthened for it to be an equally successful platform to phase out HFCs to limit global warming", said Shikha Bhasin, programme lead, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).

But the report, from the UN's environment and world meteorological organisation, said there is evidence of an unexpected increase in CFC-11 from eastern Asia since 2012.

An amendment to the Montreal Protocol that goes into effect next year would cut use of some of those gases.

"I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060", Newman said.

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