Montreal Protocol Unexpectedly Saved Earth From Significant Climate Change; What Does It Mean?

While the globe is reeling from the devastating effects of global warming, the Montreal Protocol has emerged as a beacon of hope for combating the threat of climate change. The ozone layer’s protection has kept the earth from warming another 0.85 degrees Celsius.

Montreal Protocol Unexpectedly Saved Earth From Significant Climate Change; What Does It Mean?

By Aubrey Clarke 

The Montreal Protocol that regulated ozone-depleting chemicals also safeguarded plants and their capacity to take carbon from the atmosphere. It maintains the ozone layer, which filters damaging ultraviolet (UV) light. Since ozone-depleting chemicals are strong greenhouse gases, the Montreal Protocol provides co-benefits for climate change mitigation.

Researchers acknowledged the ozone layer’s role in climate and how greenhouse gases harm the ozone layer. “But what we’ve never done before this is to connect the ozone layer to the terrestrial carbon cycle,” Lancaster University’s atmospheric and climate scientist Paul Young said in a NASA statement.

Researchers published the study titled “The Montreal Protocol Protects the Terrestrial Carbon Sink,” in the journal Nature.

Ozone Layer Protection Also Preserves Earth’s Ability to Separate Carbon

The study said sustained increases in chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) would have caused the ozone layer to disintegrate globally. That could increase UV light falling on plants and animals.
Previous “world-avoided” experiments have shown that, without the Montreal Protocol, ozone levels would be depleted globally by the mid-twentieth century.

Eurekalert, citing the study, said the tropics would lose 60% of their ozone layer by 2100 if leaders did not implement the Montreal Protocol. Researchers said unfiltered radiation could harm plant tissues. That factor could slow down their development and reduce their capacity to photosynthesize.

According to Science Alert, the hole from the ozone layer would be even bigger than the one that formed over Antarctica in the early 1980s. By 2100, the hole might have caused damaged forests, soils, and other plants incapable of absorbing a total of 580 billion tons of carbon dioxide. This would result in a 40 to 50 percent increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

Global temperatures would rise by 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) due to this increase alone. CFCs, on the other hand, are greenhouse gases, and by 2100, they would have increased global warming by 1.7 degrees Celsius (3 degrees Fahrenheit).

Montreal Protocol Explained

The ozone layer functions as a shield over the globe, protecting humans from the harmful UV radiation released by the Sun. However, a hole discovered in this blanket has caused alarm among experts all over the world. The hole, which was discovered in 1985, was caused by ozone-depleting chemicals and greenhouse gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), used in various utilities and goods.

UN Environmental Program said Montreal Protocol aims to limit the production and use of over 100 man-made compounds known as ozone-depleting substances (ODS). The resolution was passed on September 15, 1987, and it is the first United Nations treaty ever to be approved by every country on the planet.

Originally published at The science times