Evidence has emerged that the deteriorating global environment can be significantly improved by human efforts.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) jointly published a report on the 9th (local time), "Scientific Assessment of Ozone Layer Reduction: 2022," which presented prospects for the restoration of the destroyed ozone layer.
The report concluded that if global policies remain as they are, the ozone layer in most parts of the world will return to 1980s levels by 2040.
The Arctic region was badly damaged, and the pace of recovery varied, with the Arctic expected to return to that level by 2045 and the Antarctic by 2066.
The ozone layer in the Earth's atmosphere blocks ultraviolet rays harmful to life from reaching the surface.
Since the late 1980s, the scientific community has warned of holes in the ozone layer, pointing to freon gases (CFCs, chlorofluorocarbons) from refrigerators and air conditioner refrigerants, sprays, solvents, and blowing agents as the cause.
Countries around the world have signed the Montreal Protocol on Ozone-Depleting Substances, tightening regulations on CFCs.
South Korea has also implemented the Ozone Layer Protection Act since 1992 to implement this international agreement.
Since the Montreal Protocol came into force in 1989, the use of CFCs in countries around the world has decreased by 99%.
It is evaluated that the recovery of the ozone layer through the efforts of mankind has no small implications for the climate change crisis, which is an immediate problem.
WMO Secretary General Petteri Talas said in an interview broadcast on CNN, "Responding to protect the ozone layer is a good precedent for tackling climate change."
"Our success in phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals shows that we must urgently limit the rise in global temperature by eliminating fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gases," Talas said.
The international community has signed a climate change agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane, which trigger climate change due to global warming.
It even set a framework for efforts by setting a goal to limit the increase in global surface temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.
However, due to the interlocking of each country's short-term interests and the loose binding of the agreement, there has been no rapid progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Since the Industrial Revolution, the earth's surface temperature has already risen by 1.2 degrees Celsius.
In addition to the results of this report, it is noteworthy that the gases that destroy the ozone layer are also greenhouse gases.
According to the results of a study published in 2021 in the scientific journal Nature, if CFCs were not regulated, the current global temperature would have risen by 1 degree Celsius.
Academics have warned that failure to meet the 1.5-degree Celsius target will dramatically increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, heat waves, cold snaps, and wildfires, endangering ecosystems, including humans.
The report has been published every four years to track changes in the ozone layer, and the 2022 report is the 10th. [YonhapNews]