Environment: the ozone layer “on track” to recover in four decades, according to a scientific report from the UN

The ozone layer, which protects the Earth from harmful solar radiation, is “on the right track” to be reconstituted in four decades, declare, Monday January 9, the experts of the scientific panel which works on the ozone on behalf of UNO. “If current policies remain in place, the ozone layer is expected to recover to 1980 values ​​(before the ozone hole appeared) by about 2066 over Antarctica, 2045 above above the Arctic and 2040 in the rest of the world”, says the UN Environment.

However, experts warn of the potential adverse effects on ozone of geoengineering projects intended to limit global warming. One such project would be to inject billions of sulfur particles into the upper layer of the atmosphere. However, an injection of particles into the atmosphere “could result in a serious drop in ozone levels”, warns the co-chair of the scientific panel, John Pyle. “There are a lot of uncertainties.”

The ozone layer saved by global cooperation

The hole in the ozone layer was created by man-made pollution, particularly by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) once emitted by many refrigerators. In recent decades, however, global cooperation has given it a chance to rebuild itself: “The phasing out of nearly 99% of banned substances that destroy ozone has helped preserve the ozone layer and contributed significantly to its recovery in the upper stratosphere and to a decrease in human exposure to radiation. harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun”, note these experts, who publish their four-year estimate under the aegis of the UN.

As early as 1987, the Montreal Protocol (Canada), ratified by 195 countries, greatly reduced the quantity of CFCs in the atmosphere. En 2016, the Kigali agreement (Rwanda) provided for the gradual elimination of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), gases that are extremely harmful to the climate and used in refrigerators and air conditioners. If this agreement is respected, it could reduce global warming by 0.5°C by 2100, UN experts have already estimated.

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