Montreal Protocol: fixing the ozone layer and reducing climate change
We celebrate World Ozone Day on 16 September every year and the achievements of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in fixing the ozone layer and reducing climate change.
Over the past three decades, this important environmental agreement has achieved a lot. The latest update from the Scientific Assessment Panel to the Montreal Protocol confirmed that ozone layer is on a path to recovery. While natural impacts such as the Hunga Tonga eruption in 2022 are expected to affect the size and timing of the hole in 2023 due to temperature variations over Antarctica, recovery remains on track. Ozone levels are expected to return to pre-1980 levels by around 2066 over the Antarctic.
But while ozone recovers, the planet is heating up at an alarming rate. This is where the additional work and benefits of the Montreal Protocol can help. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol aims to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – powerful climate-warming gases that replaced ozone-depleting substances in the cooling industry. Universal ratification of the Amendment and full implementation are crucial, for multiple reasons.
The need for air-conditioning in homes, schools and workplaces is increasing. At the same time, expanding access to sustainable cold chain – to keep food fresh and vaccines viable – is essential to meet sustainable development aspirations. But this cannot come at the cost of the environment. This growth in cooling must be sustainable, which means both finding safe and environmentally friendly alternatives to HFCs and increasing the energy efficiency of cooling equipment. By phasing down HFCs, the Kigali Amendment may result in avoidance of up to 0.5°C of warming by 2100. Implementing energy efficiency measures could potentially double this figure.
In celebrating World Ozone Day, and the successes of the Montreal Protocol, efforts need to look forward ensuring the Protocol remains instrumental in protecting human health, nature and the climate for future generations.
For more information, contact the Secretariat Communication & Information Officer, Stephanie Haysmith (firstname.lastname@example.org)