Finally, some good news for a change: The ozone layer is showing signs of healing.
For the first time in 35 years the region of the Earth’s stratosphere that protects the planet from harmful ultraviolet rays has stopped expanding.
It will take another ten years until the ozone layer starts to shrink, and another 35 until it returns to healthy levels, last seen in 1980.
But the message is very much one of environmental success, after man-made CFC gasses, once widely used in refrigerators and spray cans, were banned in 1987 after being identified as the cause of the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica.
“This should encourage us to display the same level of urgency and unity to tackle the even greater challenge of tackling climate change,” said Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organisation, which presented today’s report along with the UN Environment Programme.
Nobel Prize winner Mario Molina, the co-author of a study that first warned of ozone depletion, said: “It’s a victory for diplomacy and for science and for the fact that we were able to work together.”
This Nasa video shows how the ozone hole developed and how it reached its largest as recently as 2006.
Meanwhile, in less good news, earlier this week the WMO revealed greenhouse gases had reached a record high.