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Old 09-21-2010, 05:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ozone depletion has ended. Ozone layer will recover completely by 2048

Quote:
United Nations News Service: 16 September 2010 – International efforts to protect the ozone layer shielding life on Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet rays have stopped additional ozone losses, potentially averting scores of millions of cases of skin cancer and eye cataracts, according to a new United Nations report released today.

At the same time they have helped to mitigate the global warming greenhouse effect.

‘Today’s report underlines that action to protect the ozone layer has not only been a success, but continues to deliver multiple benefits to economies including on efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)’, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner said, referring to the ambitious targets that seek to slash a host of social ills by 2015.

Global ozone is no longer decreasing, due to the phase-out of nearly 100 depleting substances once used in products like refrigerators and spray cans, but is not yet increasing. The ozone layer outside the polar regions is projected to recover to pre-1980 levels before the middle of the century, although the annual springtime ozone hole over the Antarctic is expected to take much longer, the study reported in one of its key findings.

The report, published jointly by UNEP and the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO)and released today on the UN International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, is the first comprehensive update in four years on the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol phasing out chemicals which accelerate both ozone layer damage and climate change.

‘It (the Protocol) has protected the stratospheric ozone layer from much higher levels of depletion by phasing out production and consumption of ozone depleting substances’, said the report, written and reviewed by some 300 scientists and launched on the UN International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

Given that many substances that deplete the ozone layer are also potent greenhouse gases, the Montreal Protocol ‘provided substantial co-benefits by reducing climate change’, it added.

In 2010, reductions of ozone depleting substances as a result of the Protocol, expressed in carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions (about 10 gigatons per year), were five times larger than those targeted by the first commitment period (2008-2012) of the Kyoto Protocol, the greenhouse emissions reduction treaty.

‘Without the Montreal Protocol and its associated Vienna Convention atmospheric levels of ozone-depleting substances could have increased tenfold by 2050’, Mr. Steiner said. ‘This in turn could have led to up to 20 million more cases of skin cancer and 130 million more cases of eye cataracts, not to speak of damage to human immune systems, wildlife and agriculture’.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said the ozone-hole issue showed the importance of long-term atmospheric monitoring and research, “without which ozone destruction would have continued unabated and might not have been detected until more serious damage was evident.”

In a message for the International Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cited the Montreal Protocol, which last year achieved universal ratification, as ‘an excellent example’ of setting a broad framework, clear targets and a gradual approach to implementation as governments gain confidence and build on initial steps, setting more ambitious goals.

‘When the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987, governments did not originally envision the phase-out of any ozone-depleting substance,” he said. “Yet, as a result of strong national and global compliance, parties to the Montreal Protocol have cut production and consumption of these harmful chemicals by more than 98 per cent’ – United Nations News Service
I was born in 1984 and grew up learning that by the time I had kids it would be unsafe to stay outdoors in the summer for more than a few minutes without sunscreen. The long term effects of ozone depletion were still uncertain but the outlook was bad. That was the future and we would have to live with the consequences of what we've done.

Not only has the depletion of the ozone layer stopped, it is healing and will be back to pre-depletion levels by 2048. We have a few decades of sleeping in the bed we've made, but we recognized a problem and the world got together on the same page to fix it and we did. This is some of the best news I've seen all year.

It's not all rainbows and sunshine, though. We are only beginning to deal the the very real problem of Global Warming. It's not hitting us full force and it's not as apparent to the layman as an overlay of ozone depletion over the globe, but it's going to hit us harder than ozone depletion ever could have. We should celebrate the fact that we faced such a monumental problem head-on and came up with a solution, even though we're going to see a few more decades of increased cancer and cataract rates before it's back to being OK, and we need to channel this enthusiasm into tackling the next worldwide environmental disaster with the same vigor and dedication. It wasn't easy to reduce ozone depleting chemical production to 1/50th of what it was 30 years ago, but we did it. We need to learn our lesson about the consequences of irresponsible stewardship of natural resources. We need to realize that keeping our planet alive and habitable is in our best interest even if it isn't the easiest thing to do in the short term.
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is good news indeed.

Now onto the first major challenge of global warming: converting the deniers.
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Very interesting read, thanks for sharing.
This was actually on the back of my mind the other day, like you said when I was growing up global warming was made out to be the undoing of humanity, by some. Yet others wrote it off completely as "just a theory." I'm very glad that the world as a whole is making strides toward a more sustainable planet. By my (feeble) understanding however, Tokyo is still leagues in advance with it's cutbacks as agreed to by the Kyoto policy.
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'll be way dead by then.
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That's great news! I remember hearing lots about this when I was in junior high, and I don't think much else past that. It is nice to hear that we were able to stop producing the things that were causing such destruction, and I hope that this mentality can be used in other substances that we produce.
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Awesome. I'll be 67....
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Good news.
Not really the point but I'll be 100...in theory.
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CinnamonGirl View Post
Awesome. I'll be 67....
but still hot.
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'll be 76 (hopefully!). I remember the old cans of hairspray that were"gonna kill us,
dude!". I hope, as was said above, that many can take heart in knowing that
solutions are possible. It's amazing to me how Mother Earth can repair herself,
given half a chance.
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amaras View Post
I'll be 76 (hopefully!). I remember the old cans of hairspray that were"gonna kill us,
dude!". I hope, as was said above, that many can take heart in knowing that
solutions are possible. It's amazing to me how Mother Earth can repair herself,
given half a chance.
I was watching a show on TV recently, History - Life after people. I found it very interesting how, Ignoring all the radioactive disasters, Earth returns to it's natural state rather quickly. An interesting series, IMO
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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How old each of us will be when the ozone layer is whole again is beside the point. The fact is that what we have fucked up through lack of understanding or neglect of the consequences of our action is reversible. It's unfortunate that public policy rather than the goodwill of those who can make a difference is what can stop the damage we're doing, but either way it's what we do that's causing the problem and therefore it's up to us to fix it. What was a childhood horror is now a fading memory because we took the initiative to fix the damage we caused and it's time to fix the damage we're causing now.
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Old 09-26-2010, 03:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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good read thanks for the post...
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