The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, and like that helping to preserve life on the planet.
The phaseout of controlled uses of ozone depleting substances and the related reductions have not only helped protect the ozone layer for this and future generations, but have also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change; furthermore, it has protected human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the Earth.
Montreal Protocol@35: global cooperation protecting life on earth
when scientists working in the late 1970s discovered that humanity was creating a hole in this protective shield, they raised the alarm. The hole – caused by ozone-depleting gases (ODSs) used in aerosols and cooling, such as refrigerators and air-conditioners – was threatening to increase cases of skin cancer and cataracts, and damage plants, crops, and ecosystems.
The global response was decisive. In 1985, the world’s governments adopted the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Under the Convention’s Montreal Protocol, governments, scientists and industry worked together to cut out 99 per cent of all ozone-depleting substances. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is healing and expected to return to pre-1980 values by mid-century. In support of the Protocol, the Kigali Amendment, which came into force in 2019, will work towards reducing hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs), greenhouse gases with powerful climate warming potential and damaging to the environment.
World Ozone Day, held every year on September 16, celebrates this achievement. It shows that collective decisions and action, guided by science, are the only way to solve major global crises.
The theme for the 2022 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, is Montreal Protocol@35: global cooperation protecting life on earth, and its recognises how the Montreal Protocol ended one of the biggest threats ever to face humanity as a whole.This action has protected millions of people from skin cancer and cataracts over the years since. It allowed vital ecosystems to survive and thrive. It safeguarded life on Earth. And it slowed climate change: if ozone-depleting chemicals had not been banned, we would be looking at a global temperature rise of an additional 2.5°C by the end of this century. This would have been a catastrophe.
The theme also recognises the wider impact the Montreal Protocol has on climate change and the need to act in collaboration, forge partnerships and develop global cooperation to address climate challenges and protect life on earth for future generations.