Good news from UN: Ozone layer is healing
Finally some good news from the environment.
The ozone layer – which protects us from the sun’s harmful radiation – is slowly healing, the United Nations announced Monday.
“It’s really good news,” said NASA’s Paul Newman, co-author of the report.
Over the northern half of the world, the layer should be completely repaired by the 2030s, the report said. The good news is due to decades of global cooperation to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals.
“If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects. We stopped that,” Newman said.
The ozone hole over Antarctica also is recovering, although it will continue to occur each year until the 2060s.
The ozone layer is located up in the stratosphere some 7 to 25 miles above Earth’s surface, according to NASA. It acts like sunscreen, shielding the planet from ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer, suppress immune systems and damage plants.
The natural ozone high up in the atmosphere is the “good” ozone in contrast to “bad” ozone near the surface, which is man-made pollution.
Scientists say the way the ozone problem was tackled provides a template for how we can counteract human-caused global warming.
“Carbon dioxide emissions remain by far the most important greenhouse gases,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “But we can also help tackle climate change by reducing our commitment to other gases. Every bit of warming matters,” he said.