September 13th, 2017
The climate success story of the Montreal Protocol will be celebrated on World Ozone Day this Saturday with the launch of a new UN campaign to celebrate the protection of the ozone layer.
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, established in 1987 to reduce the use of chemicals harmful to the layer.
The Montreal Protocol is regarded by many as the most successful global environmental agreement ever.
As part of the milestone celebration, the UN Ozone Secretariat responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Protocol will launch the #OzoneHeroes campaign.
The campaign, to be launched on 14 September, will celebrate the accomplishments of the Montreal Protocol in protecting the ozone layer and the climate.
The campaign also aims to generate support for its new mandate to phase-out the use of additional climate-warming chemicals under a 2016 amendment.
The Kigali Amendment was a landmark development in ozone protection, with countries committing to cut production and consumption of additional ODSs by at least 80 per cent over the next 30 years.
It is expected that this amendment will help avoid up to 0.5C warming by the end of the century.
The Ozone Layer
The ozone layer – a thin shield of gas in the Earth’s stratosphere – protects the Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which can cause damage to humans and other forms of life.
In the second half of the twentieth century, scientists became increasingly concerned about the impact on the layer from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in refrigeration and aerosol sprays. These substances were believed to be causing a ‘hole’ in the ozone.
This promoted the UN to take action and form the Montreal Protocol to introduce plans to phase-out the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs).
The global consumption of ODSs has fallen by 98 per cent since countries began taking action under the Montreal Protocol, resulting in the slow recovery of the ozone layer.
The recovery has also aided in the protection of human health and ecosystems by limiting exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
The treaty also played a crucial role in global efforts to address climate change as most man-made ODSs are also major greenhouse gases up to 14,000 times stronger than carbon dioxide (CO2).
According to the European Commission, the international phase-out of ODSs has so far delayed the impact of climate change by eight to 12 years.
A new report from the European Environment Agency recorded a decrease in the import, export and overall consumption of chemicals harming the ozone layer in the European Union in 2016. The report also shows a continuous trend in the phasing out of such chemicals over the last decade.