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More protection: UN says Earth's ozone layer is healing

More protection: UN says Earth's ozone layer is healing

The hole in the Earth's ozone layer is expected to fully heal within 50 years, climate change experts predict in a new United Nations report.

The Montreal Protocol was finalized in 1987 in response to the realization that numerous chemicals used in aerosols, air conditioning systems, refrigerators, and industrial solvents were eroding the planet's stratosphere, creating a hole and allowing harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation to seep through the ozone layer. Scientist raised the alarm and ozone-depleting chemicals were phased out worldwide.

It is the layer that shields the Earth from cancer-causing solar rays and the report says it is recovering at a rate of one to three percent a decade.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, the study shows that the concentration of ozone-depleting substances continues to decrease, leading to an improvement in the layer since the previous assessment carried out in 2014.

Over the southern hemisphere and in the more problematic polar regions, recovery will take longer, until the middle of this century in the former and about 2060 in the latter case.

"It's really good news", said report co-chairman Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Aerosol spray and coolants made before the ban contained man-made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which released chlorine and bromine that ate away at the ozone.

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Experts credit a 1987 treaty that banned ozone-depleting chemicals, as well as new technology, for the global environmental success story. The 2018 edition shows that ozone levels in sections of the stratosphere have been recovering at rates of 1-3 percent since 2000.

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 unsafe ultraviolet radiation to flood through.

If nothing had been done to stop the thinning, the world would have destroyed two-thirds of its ozone layer by 2065, Newman said.

Parts of it could even be fully repaired by the 2030s, the report said.

"We are only at a point where recovery may have started", Toon said, pointing to some ozone measurements that haven't increased yet. "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". Newman said we'll need to ensure that the replacements for these gases don't worsen global warming. And the Montreal Protocol is set to be enhanced in early 2019 with the ratification of the Kigali Amendment, which seeks to curb future climate change by targeting powerful greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning.

"I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060", Newman told AP.