Join the Ozone Heroes campaign
The Ozone Heroes campaign comes at a time when international collaboration is required in order to address pressing global issues and hopes to illuminate the ways in which human partnership can solve these issues as it did for the depletion of the ozone layer.
The campaign journey follows the Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man as they discover humans are the heroes who solved the global crisis of ozone depletion. The campaign serves to emphasize that our human qualities are what equip us to solve the world’s most pressing problems.
Everyone is invited to join the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol by participating in the campaign by visiting www.ozoneheroes.org where one can discover his or her own ozone superpower.
The Ozone Story: Looking Back, Looking Ahead
30 Years of Success
The discovery of the depletion of the ozone layer three decades ago confronted the world with a truth that required urgent action. In the 1980s, scientists discovered manmade chemicals (mostly used as refrigerants and propellants) were causing the ozone layer to thin and eventually created a hole in the protective film that safeguards us from ultraviolet rays. The nations of the world dared to act together decisively under the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol, the two agreements that led to the phase-out of damaging chemicals and the first treaties of their kind to achieve universal ratification. 197 countries came together in support of the Montreal Protocol and its efforts to preserve the ozone layer. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol and the beginning of successes in ozone protection. Today, the Protocol is widely regarded as the most successful international environmental treaty in existence.
As a result of global ozone protection efforts under the Montreal Protocol over the past 30 years:
- More than 99% of ozone-depleting substances have been phased out by the Montreal Protocol, and the ozone layer is on track to recovery by the middle of this century, according to scientific information.
- Up to 2 million cases of skin cancer may be prevented globally each year by 2030; 283 million cases of skin cancer avoided for those born between 1890 and 2100 in the United States, 8.3 million being melanoma; 1.6 million deaths from skin cancer prevented; and 46 million cases of cataract prevented, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- More than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions have been averted, which is about five times larger than the emissions reduced under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
- Savings worth more than US$2.2 trillion are expected by the middle of this century due to health benefits and avoided damages to agriculture, fisheries, and materials that would have been caused by depletion of the ozone layer.
As the world looks to mark the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, the once endangered ozone layer is recovering. This is an extraordinary success story of governments, experts and ordinary people coming together, responding to scientific findings, and acting together to protect life on the planet from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. It is the story of how mankind, through unwavering commitment and earnest collaboration, in three decades, overcame one of the greatest environmental threats it has faced in recent history – the threat to the ozone layer.
The Next Chapter
While a lot has been accomplished, there is still more to be done. The nations of the world are coming together under the UN to mitigate the threat of climate change as they have done successfully for the ozone layer.
Their success in phasing out ozone-depleting substances has inspired a new effort to reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which have been used as replacements for many chemicals being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. HFCs are strong greenhouse gases, meaning they warm the planet and contribute to global climate change. A successful HFC phasedown is expected to avoid up to 0.5 degree Celsius of global temperature rise by 2100, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.
The ozone success was possible thanks to the passion, dedication and hard work of thousands of individuals in government, the private sector, academia, and civil society. By reducing HFCs, the nations of the world can protect our climate the way they have protected, and continue to protect, the ozone layer.