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Published: Friday 09 August, 2013

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International efforts to protect the ozone layer shielding life on Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet rays have stopped additional ozone losses, potentially averting scores of millions of cases of skin cancer and eye cataracts. At the same time, the efforts have helped to mitigate global warming from greenhouse gases. This encouraging news is contained in a United Nations report released on 16 September 2010.

Global ozone layer is no longer decreasing, due to the phaseout of nearly 100 depleting substances once used in products like refrigerators and spray cans, but the layer, however, is not yet increasing. The ozone layer outside the polar regions is projected to recover to pre1980 levels before the middle of the century, although the annual springtime ozone hole over the Antarctic is expected to take much longer to recover, the study reported in one of its key findings.

Todays report underlines that action to protect the ozone layer has not only been a success, but also continues to deliver multiple benefits to economies including efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals MDGs, UN Environment Programme UNEPExecutive Director Achim Steiner said, referring to the ambitious targets that seek to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, provide universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and cheap longchamps bags other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and promote global partnership for developmentby 2015.
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The report, published jointly by UNEP and the UN World Meteorological Organization WMO and released on the UN International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Lay cheap longchamps bags er, is the first comprehensive update in four years on the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol phasing out chemicals which accelerate both ozone layer damage and climate change.

It the Protocol has protected the stratospheric ozone layer from much higher levels of depletion by phasing out production and consumption of ozone depleting substances, said the report, written and reviewed by some 300 scientists and launched on the UN International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

Given that many substances that deplete the ozone layer are also potent greenhouse gases, the Montreal Protocol provided substantial cobenefits by reducing climate change, the report added.

In 2010, reductions of ozone depleting substances as a result of the Protocol, expressed in carbon dioxideequivalent emissions about 10 gigatons per year, were five times larger than those targeted by the first commitment period 20082012 of the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty that seeks to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Without the Montreal Protocol and its associated Vienna Convention atmospheric levels of ozonedepleting substances could have increased tenfold by 2050, Mr. Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, said. This in turn could have led to up to 20 million more cases of skin cancer and 130 million more cases of eye cataracts, not to speak of damage to human immune systems, wildlife and agriculture.

The World Meteorological Organization Secretary General, Michel Jarraud, said the ozonehole issue showed the importance of longterm atmospheric monitoring and research, without which ozone destruction would have continued unabated and might not have been detected until more serious damage was evident.

In a message for the International Dayfor the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon cited the Montreal Protocol, which last year achieved universal ratification, as an excellent example of setting a broad framework, clear targets and a gradual approach to implementation as governments gain confidence and build on initial steps, setting more ambitious goals.

When the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987, governments did not originally envision the phaseout of any ozonedepleting substance, he said. Yet, as a result of strong national and global compliance, parties to the Montreal Protocol have cut production and consumption of these harmful chemicals by more than 98 per cent. cheap longchamps bags