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The ozone layer is on track to make a full recovery by 2066

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A report commissioned with support from the United Nations has found that weakened areas of the ozone layer could be fully recovered by 2066.
The ozone layer is on track to make a full recovery by 2066

A report commissioned with support from the United Nations has found that weakened areas of the ozone layer could be fully recovered by 2066.

Protecting the ozone layer has been a key part of conservation efforts in recent decades, after scientists found parts of it were thinning due to human pollution.

Here’s what you need to know.

The context

The ozone layer is the sheet around the Earth’s atmosphere that absorbs harmful rays from the sun. It has often been referred to as ‘Earth’s sunscreen’.

In the early 1980s, scientists discovered parts of the ozone layer, especially in the North and South Poles, were thinning due to harmful chemical use by humans.

This sparked efforts to restore affected areas of the ozone layer. A key response was the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty that came into effect in 1989 that agreed to phase out some substances depleting the ozone layer.

What’s new

This week, a report that assesses the Montreal Protocol was released. It is conducted by a panel of scientific experts every four years.

It found almost 99% of banned substances under the treaty had been phased out, which they said was integral to the recovery of the ozone layer.

If the current policies remain in place, they forecast the ozone layer will be recovered by 2040 above most of the world, by 2045 above the Arctic, and by 2066 above Antarctica.

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