UN: Ozone Is Bouncing Back

Layer is showing first signs of recovery
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2014 8:14 AM CDT
UN: Ozone Is Bouncing Back
This image provided by NASA shows the ozone layer over the years: Sept. 17, 1979, top left; Oct. 7, 1989, top right; Oct. 9, 2006, lower left; and Oct. 1, 2010, lower right.   (AP Photo/NASA)

An environment story without warnings of impending doom: The ozone layer that blocks cancer-causing rays from the sun is finally starting to recover thanks to global action, according to the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program. While it will probably take until the middle of this century to recover to where it was in 1980, experts from the world bodies say a 1987 ban on chemicals, including the chlorofluorocarbons once used in fridges and aerosol cans, appears to have paid off, preventing hundreds of thousands of cases of skin cancer in the process, Reuters reports.

Researchers hailed the findings as an example of what can happen when the political will is there to protect the environment. Humans "have started to do the right thing in order to convert the atmosphere back toward what it was before the Industrial Revolution started," a NASA expert tells the BBC. WMO chief Michel Jarraud describes the ozone recovery as a "major environmental success story" that "should encourage us to display the same level of urgency and unity to tackle the even greater challenge of tackling climate change." (In another recovery story, a sustainability-monitoring group has taken 21 species of fish off its danger list.)

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