The ozone layer continues to recover thanks to Montreal Protocol
Published: 07 Nov 2018

New evidence provided in a study carried out by the United Nations called "Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018" shows that the ozone layer is showing signs of continuing recovery from man-made damage, and it is possible that it might heal completely by 2060.

The Montreal Protocol is a landmark international agreement between 197 parties that involves legally binding restrictions on the use of chemicals and aerosols that contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which deplete the ozone in the upper layers of earth's atmosphere, which protects all living things from most of the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.

The recovery of the ozone layer has been progressing at a rate of about 1% to 3% a decade since 2000. At this pace, the ozone layer in the northern hemisphere could recover completely by the 2030s, if the current recovery rate is sustained. The southern hemisphere, especially in the Antarctic region, where the damage to the ozone layer is the worst, might take much longer to repair.

The phasing out of CFCs has also had a beneficial effect on climate change as some of the substances had a very high global warming potential.

Also, in 2019 the Montreal Protocol will be strengthened by an addition of the Kigali Amendment, which aims to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), mostly found in refrigeration systems and air conditioning, which have very high global warming potential if released into the atmosphere. As one of the first nations, the UK ratified the Kigali Amendment in November 2017, legally committing to phasing out the HFCs from the general use.

The phasing out of HFCs will start as a 10% reduction in 2019 and delivering an 86% cut by 2036, compared with the baseline 2011-2013 period.

For more information on this subject, see:

  • Decision 1988/540/EEC on the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol;
  • Regulation (EC) 1005/2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer;
  • Regulation (EU) 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases