More protection: UN says Earth’s ozone layer is healing | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

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Scientific evidence of the depletion of the ozone layer over the Antarctic was first presented in 1985, and in 1987 the Montreal protocol was signed, binding world governments to reduce and phase out the harmful chemicals identified as causing the problem.

"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).

However, if it could not be remedied the already slow recovery of the atmosphere's protective layer could be further delayed.

"The Antarctic ozone hole was expected to gradually close, returning to 1980 levels in the 2060s, the report said".

If this rate of recovery continues, the ozone layer over the northern hemisphere and mid-latitudes could heal completely by the 2030s, the report said. "We stopped that", Paul Newman, a NASA scientist and co-chairman of the new United Nations report, told the AP.

WMO scientists said that since 2000, the ozone layer is recovering by 1-3% per decade.

The reports, which are released every four years, note the improvement of Earth's protective ozone layer, which was in grave danger about 30 years ago.

It is possible the healing of the ozone hole above Antarctica may insulate the continent and accelerate climate warming, but report co-author Ross Salawitch, an atmospheric scientist at the University of MI, said the immediate effects of ozone damage were such that it would be "incredibly irresponsible" not to protect the depleted ozone layer.

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This healing progress is attributed to worldwide initiatives under the Montreal Protocol, a global agreement that was formed more than 30 years ago in response to climate change concerns. He noted that if nothing had been done, two-thirds of the ozone layer would have been destroyed by 2065.

Next year, the Protocol is set to be strengthened with the ratification of the Kigali Amendment, which calls for decreasing the future use of powerful climate-warming gases, which also damage the ozone layer.

Still, the United Nations said they were heartened by their findings about the ozone layer ― and what its recovery could mean for future climate action. Newman said we'll need to ensure that the replacements for these gases don't worsen global warming.

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 risky ultraviolet radiation to flood through.

"As a result of the Montreal Protocol much more severe ozone depletion in the polar regions has been avoided", the report said.

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

"The careful mix of authoritative science and collaborative action that has defined the Protocol for more than 30 years and was set to heal our ozone layer is precisely why the Kigali Amendment holds such promise for climate action in future", he said.

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