In the early 1970s, scientists first discovered that chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), coolants used in refrigeration and foam production, had the potential to destroy ozone in the upper atmosphere, with devastating consequences. The ozone layer acts as a shield to protect life on Earth from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet radiation. Then in 1985, accumulating scientific research and the first evidence of a widening ozone hole over Antarctica, galvanized the world’s nations. Their delegates came together in 1987 to create the Montreal Protocol, a binding international environmental treaty regulating the production and use of manufactured chemicals damaging to Earth’s ozone layer. Since then, nearly 200 countries have signed on and some 100 chemicals have been phased out or phased down. When scientists realized in 2016 that the latest generation of refrigerants, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), while safe for the ozone layer, were very powerful greenhouse gases, the UN parties added the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Under this agreement, which came into force in 2019, signatories will phase down the production and consumption of HFCs, creating the potential to avoid up to 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.72 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming by the end of the century. “If we achieve that, then it will be a great contribution to protecting the climate,” says Megumi Seki, Acting Executive Secretary of the UN Environment Programme’s Ozone Secretariat, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Seki’s work on ozone layer issues started in 1988, and she was one of the staff members of the Ozone Secretariat when it was formally established…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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