Researchers Say the Ozone Layer is Recovering
Researchers Say the Ozone Layer is Recovering

Researchers Say the Ozone Layer is Recovering

The ozone layer that shields the Earth from the sun is showing the first signs of recovery, UN researchers have revealed.

Researchers credit the 1987 Montreal Protocol for the achievement. According to the Washington Post, the Protocol’s phasing out of chemicals used in refrigerators, air conditioners, and aerosol cans (CFCs) in the 1980s have had a monumental effect.

Chemist Mario Molina, who won a Nobel Prize for his research into the ozone layer, stated, “It’s a victory for diplomacy and for science and for the fact that we were able to work together,” conveying his excitement concerning the news.

Science Daily reports that the ozone layer – a fragile shield of gas that protects Earth from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun – would have been depleted much more quickly without the Protocol’s associated agreements. The Protocol will have prevented 2 million cases of skin cancer annually by 2030, and protected wildlife and agriculture.

Of course, getting the Protocol enacted wasn’t easy. In the 1980s, many industries objected and argued that the science was speculative and that regulation was costly and would lead to the loss of jobs. However, companies soon learned how to make safe substitutes for CFCs, and became less opposed to the Protocol’s precautionary measures.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud stated, “International action on the ozone layer is a major environmental success story… This should encourage us to display the same level of urgency and unity to tackle the even greater challenge of tackling climate change,” conveying his hope for continuing political and environmental unity.

BBC News reports that scientists are not absolutely sure the ozone layer will completely heal itself. Professor David Vaughan from the British Atlantic Survey (BAS) is currently doing tests that will throw light on the WMO’s findings. He said, “We have to be a bit cautious, but this does look on the face of it like some very good news… if it’s accurate, it underlines the potential power of international agreement.”


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