New study reveals healing ozone, untapped potential for climate action
The ozone layer protects life on Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet rays from the Sun. The recovery from the hole has increased at a rate of 1-3 per cent per decade since 2000.
At projected rates, Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is scheduled to heal completely by the 2030s followed by the Southern Hemisphere in the 2050s and Polar Regions by 2060.
The findings come at a time when the world is still grappling with a sobering message from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which found just 12 years remain to limit global warming to 1.5°C, beyond which, the impacts of a further rise in global temperatures will begin to have an increasingly extreme impact on human society and ecosystems.
The IPCC report offered the clearest evidence to date of the drastic difference between the 1.5°C and 2°C scenarios.
Evidence from the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol will be presented at the 30th meeting of the parties to this historic accord. Its findings confirm first and foremost that actions taken under the Montreal Protocol have led to long-term decreases in the atmospheric abundance of controlled ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) and the ongoing recovery of stratospheric ozone.
It is further evidence of the inspiring success of this environmental treaty now entering its fourth decade. The report also offers a view of the role the Protocol must have in decades to come.
Set to enter in to force on January 1, 2019, the Kigali Amendment calls for slashing the future use of powerful climate-warming gases in refrigerators, air conditioners and related products.
Nations that ratify the Kigali Amendment are committing to cutting the projected production and consumption of these gases, known as hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs), by more than 80 per cent. So far, 58 parties have done so.
Authors of the Assessment found the world can avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming this century through implementation of the Kigali Amendment, affirming its critical role in keeping global temperature rise below the 2°C mark.
“The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history for a reason,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.
The 2018 Assessment is the latest in a series of assessments prepared by the world’s leading experts in the atmospheric sciences and under the auspices of the Montreal Protocol in co-ordination with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment).
The 2018 Assessment is the ninth in the series of major assessments that have been prepared by the Scientific Assessment Panel as direct input to the Montreal Protocol process.
“These new assessment results highlight the importance of continued long-term monitoring of HFCs in the atmosphere as the Kigali Amendment begins to take hold,” said David Fahey, Co-Chair of the Montreal Protocol Scientific Assessment Panel and scientist at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory in the U.S.
“Carbon dioxide emissions remain by far the most important greenhouse gases which are driving global warming. But we can also help tackle climate change by reducing our commitment to other gases including HFCs. Every bit of warming matters,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General, Petteri Taalas.
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