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1987 Chemicals Ban Was a Planet Saver

If it weren't for a global ban of ozone-destroying chemicals in the late 1980s, the ravages of climate change would have become far worse by the 2040s than is currently projected, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature.

Luckily, this isn't what happened. But if CFCs had continued to rise, the 21st century would have seen CO2 levels rise by up to 50 percent. Those of a certain age will recall that CFCs were widely used as refrigeration gases, as propellants in aerosol sprays, and in solvents - and were identified as the cause of the depletion of Earth's protective ozone layer.

We are all aware of the importance of the race to net-zero emissions and how finely balanced this is. Happily, it appears to still be within our grasp as long as every nation pulls its weight and meets its targets - but had it not been for the prescient global banning of chlorofluorocarbons CFCs) in the Montreal Protocol, our task today would have been substantially more difficult.

The CFC ban was described by by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan as “perhaps the single most successful international agreement.”

The good news is that the success of the Montreal Protocol demonstrates that the world can pull together to solve a problem, so it's reassuring to have something positive to hold on to.


Today's OGN Sunday Magazine articles:


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