The Results Of The Ban On Ozone Depleting Substances Is A Testimony Of Collective Action – Madras Courier News

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is “perhaps the single most successful international agreement,” remarked the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
When the question of climate change and global warming arises in India, people often neglect it. One gets the feeling that people have resolved to believe that the world cannot be rescued. No one person’s efforts can alter the planet, say those afflicted with chronic pessimism. As clichéd as it may seem, a single person’s responsible acts may have a cascading impact. Similarly, when nations band together on an issue, positive outcomes could be anticipated. Nothing stands as a genuine testimony to the evolution of human behaviour as the Montreal Protocol.
The ozone layer, a gaseous blanket that occurs between 10 and 50 kilometres above the earth’s surface, is critical for shielding humans from the sun’s strong UV radiation. Scientists released research in 1974 claiming that chemicals included in common goods such as aerosols, packaging, and refrigerators may be destroying the ozone layer. It significantly increases the occurrence of skin cancer, cataracts, and other damages to people and animals on the planet. 
When a hole in the ozone layer was found over Antarctica in 1985, the ozone depletion hypothesis was confirmed. The hole demonstrated that the severity of the issue was much larger than scientists had anticipated. International concern over the ozone layer’s degradation prompted unprecedented international action. It was to prohibit the hazardous chemicals responsible for its depletion – chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
Within two years of the hole’s discovery, an international pact was in place that reduced CFC usage in half. In 1990, the Montreal Protocol was strengthened to prohibit the use of CFCs entirely in industrialised nations by the year 2000. The goal to eliminate them in the developing countries was by the year 2010. Now, CFCs are banned in 197 nations across the globe. Experts agree that the ozone layer is steadily regenerating as a consequence.
Research published by the journal Nature on August 18, confirms these results of the protocol. Scientists found that a world without the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer would have been in worse conditions today. 
In that alternative reality, we would be going through the worst-case scenario. A nightmare-like situation would be induced by increasing climate change that in reality that we are attempting to prevent in a world with the 1987 pact.
Without the pact, the Earth and its vegetation would have been subjected to much greater ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, reported the BBC. The chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) act as greenhouse gases. The continued and increasing use of CFCs could lead to an extra 2.5°C rise in global air temperatures by the end of the century. 
“What we see in our ‘world-avoided experiment’ is an additional 2.5C warming above any warming that we would get from greenhouse-gas increases,” said the lead researcher of the Lancaster Environment Center, Dr. Paul, in an interview with the BBC. 
According to scientists’ current but dismal predictions, rapid climate action may potentially restrict warming to the 1.5-degree threshold established by the 2015 Paris accord.
The ozone depletion would have further hastened climate change by releasing currently-sequestered carbon into the atmosphere and caused additional environmental deterioration. More planet-warming carbon dioxide would be released into the atmosphere, which is now bound up in plants. The world would witness more severe weather, fatal heat, infrastructure failure, and mass death and extinction without a ban on CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals.
There would be 580 billion tonnes less carbon deposited in forests, other plants, and soil. According to the experts, it would also increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 165-215 parts per million (40-50 percent). “In past experiments, people have exposed plants – basically tortured plants – with high levels of UV,” said Dr. Young. “They get very stunted – so they don’t grow as much and can’t absorb as much carbon.”
The 1987 pact did not prevent anything; rather, it provided us with more time to get our act together and avoid exacerbating climate change. Global climate change is a grave existential danger that requires urgent action if we are to leave a livable world for future generations. 
While the outcry to save the ozone layer initiated action, a similar concerted effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions was expected to be much more difficult. 
“The science was listened to and acted upon – we have not seen that to the same degree with climate change,” said Dr. Young. “But I would be cautious of using it as a positive example for the climate negotiations. It’s not [directly] comparable — but it’s nice to have something positive to hold on to and to see that the world can come together.”
The project has been lauded as an exemplifying effect of worldwide collective action. Experts highlight that comparable reactions to climate change are possible, but warn against over-optimism. However, people should not give up hope in protecting the environment. A single person’s efforts may not change the world, but a single person’s responsible actions will have a ripple effect. As a nation, we must commit to environmental protection and encourage other countries to join the force.
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