The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have published the “Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2014,” detailing of the state of the ozone layer. The report is issued every four years by the Scientific Assessment Panel (SAP) of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. It provides Parties to the Montreal Protocol with critical information as they undertake their ozone protection activities and address challenges under the Protocol.
A summary “Assessment for Decision Makers” was published in September 2014. The full report, prepared by nearly 300 scientists from 36 countries, contains additional details on how to speed up the recovery of the ozone layer.
The Scientific Assessment indicates that the ozone layer, the shield that protects life on Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet rays, is showing the first signs of recovery. It is on track to full recovery to 1980 benchmark levels—the time before significant ozone layer depletion—by the middle of this century, thanks to concerted international action to phase out ozone depleting substances.
The recovery of the ozone layer would be sooner if we were to fast-track the phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and manage other ozone depleting substances that remain in equipment, building walls and chemical stockpiles,
Additionally, earlier phase out of relatively small remaining uses of ozone depleting substances, which are currently exempted for reasons of essentiality and criticality to society, would hasten ozone recovery, the report says. Altogether, preventing those emissions can speed up the recovery of the ozone layer by about 11 years.
The Scientific Assessment projects that atmospheric amounts of ozone depleting substances will continue to decline through the 21st century, assuming continued compliance with the Montreal Protocol. Since ODSs are also potent global warming gases, the Protocol has significantly contributed to climate change mitigation, having averted more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
The Scientific Assessment Panel presented the report’s findings during the Joint 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention and the 26th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol held in Paris 17 – 21 November 2014.
The “Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2014” report
The report was prepared and reviewed by 282 scientists from 36 countries (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, People's Republic of China, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Togo, United Kingdom, United States of America, Zimbabwe.)
Co-Chairs of the ozone assessment are: Prof. Ayité Lô Nohende Ajavon, Université de Lomé, Togo; Prof. John Pyle, University of Cambridge and National Centre for Atmospheric Science, UK; Dr. Paul Newman, NASA/ Goddard Space Flight Center, USA; Prof. A.R. (Ravi) Ravishankara, Colorado State University, USA.