Banning CFCs Helped Ozone Hole Recover

The protections afforded by the ozone layer are important.

Hailed as an example of how concerted global action can help solve a planetary crisis, a new study conducted by NASA scientists documented the first direct evidence that an international effort to ban chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) has led to the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole.

Published in the journal Geophysical Research Letterson Thursday, the study uses satellite observations to demonstrate that the decline in atmospheric chlorine that resulted from the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, enacted in 1989, has led to “about 20 percent less ozone depletion during the Antarctic winter than there was in 2005—the first year that measurements of chlorine and ozone during the Antarctic winter were made by NASA’s Aura satellite.”

“We see very clearly that chlorine from CFCs is going down in the ozone hole, and that less ozone depletion is occurring because of it,” Susan Strahan, an atmospheric scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and one of the study’s lead authors, said in a statement.

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Responding to the study’s results on Twitter, Greenpeace called for the success of Montreal Protocol to be used as a model for tackling the climate crisis.

“We’ve stopped harmful pollutants before and nature has healed itself,” the group observed. “Let’s cut carbon emissions now and allow nature to heal itself again.”