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UN: Healing Ozone Layer Shows Why Environmental Treaties Matter
After decades of thinning, Earth's ozone layer is slowing recovering, the United Nations (UN) said in a report released Monday, highlighting how international co-operation can help tackle major environmental issues.
The ozone layer, which protects humans and other species from the sun's highly hazardous ultraviolet radiation, has been declining since the 1970s due to the effect of chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and similar gases found in refrigerants and aerosol spray cans.
But the new study—Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018—shows that ozone in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3 percent since 2000 due to the success of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the landmark multilateral environmental agreement that phased out ozone-depleting substances.
"It's really good news," report co-chairman Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, told the Associated Press. "If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects. We stopped that."
That said, the ozone layer still has a long road to complete recovery. If progress continues, the Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone should be healed by the 2030s, followed by the Southern Hemisphere in the 2050s and polar regions by 2060, according to the study.
"I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060," Newman added to the AP. "That will be for our grandchildren to do."
Notably, scientists have recently detected a mysterious rise of CFCs out of eastern Asia.
Newman also pointed out to the AP that the refrigerants that are currently being also need to be replaced themselves with chemicals that do not worsen global warming.
Next year, the Montreal Protocol is set to be strengthened with the ratification of the Kigali Amendment, which slashes climate-warming gases in refrigerators, air conditioners and related products.
Still, the new report is "an inspiration for more ambitious climate action to halt a catastrophic rise in world temperatures," the UN said in a press release of the new report, adding the findings "provide a ray of hope" less than a month after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its dire report urging drastic action to stave off catastrophic climate change.
The writers of the new report said that with the full implementation of the Kigali Amendment, the world can avoid up to 0.4 percent of global warming this century, meaning that it will play a major role in keeping the global temperature rise below 2°C.
"The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history for a reason," Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment stated in the press release. "The careful mix of authoritative science and collaborative action that has defined the Protocol for more than 30 years and was set to heal our ozone layer is precisely why the Kigali Amendment holds such promise for climate action in future."
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.