Ozone layer recovery has slowed climate change
Ozone layer recovery has slowed climate change

SYDNEY — A new study from the University of New South Wales has found that in addition to allowing the ozone layer to recover, the Montreal Protocol has also slowed the rate of climate change by up to 25 percent.

The Montreal Protocol is an international agreement signed by countries around the world in 1987 to stop the import and production of chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons that are harmful to the earth's ozone layer, after an "ozone hole" was found over Antarctica.

The ozone layer protects our planet by deflecting harmful radiation from the sun.

Researchers tested out two different scenarios: one in which the Montreal Protocol was brought into effect and another in which the agreement wasn't.

Using an estimated 3 percent increase of CFC emissions per year starting from 1987, scientists estimate the Montreal Protocol has likely already helped our planet avoid 0.5 degrees Celsius to 1 degree Celsius of temperature rise over some land areas and 3 degrees Celsius to 4 degrees Celsius of temperature rise across much of the Arctic, as of 2019.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, estimates that our planet will be at least 1°C cooler by 2050 than it would have been had the agreement not been enacted.

Researchers also found that the Arctic summer sea ice extent is roughly 25 percent higher today than it would have been otherwise.

The study also suggests that Greenland's melting ice sheet and subsequent sea level rise is happening at a slower speed.

Lead author of the paper, Rishav Goyal, said in a University of New South Wales news release that the agreement saved the ozone layer as well as reduced a "substantial fraction" of global warming as CFCs are a thousand times more potent than carbon dioxide.