Since the fear of ozone depletion in the 1980s, the ozone layer has steadily improved as a result 1989 Montreal Protocolan international agreement that has helped eliminate 99% of ozone-depleting chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used as solvents and coolants.
UN says action on ozone layer is also aWeapon against the climate crisis: CFCs are also greenhouse gases, and their continued and uncontrolled use would have raised global temperatures by as much as one degree Celsius by mid-century, compounding an already catastrophic situation in which the gases that warm the planet have not yet diminished .
“Action on ozone sets a precedent for climate action,” said Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of theWorld Meteorological Organization, who presented the progress report produced every four years. “Our success in phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals shows us what can and should be done urgently to move away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gases, and with it limit the temperature rise“.
The unified global response to CFC management means the Montreal Accord as “the most successful environmental agreements in history and encourages the countries of the world to come together, decide on an outcome and act on it,” said David Fahey, scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and lead author of the new assessment.
Progress has not always been linear: In 2018, scientists noticed an increase in CFC use that was traced to China and eventually resolved. Meanwhile, replacing CFCs with another group of industrial chemicals, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), has been problematic as HFCs are greenhouse gases and therefore another international agreement, reached in Kigali, was needed to curb their spread.