Earth's Ozone Layer is Healing, UN-Backed Report Says

Ozone above Antarctica in 2000 left and 2018

Ozone above Antarctica in 2000 left and 2018

The scientific assessment, released at a conference in Ecuador today, was described as "really good news" by Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The measures taken to fix the damage will also have an important beneficial effect on climate change, as some of the gases that caused the ozone layer to thin and in places disappear also contribute to warming the atmosphere.

But it's not a complete success yet, said University of Colorado's Brian Toon, who wasn't part of the report.

The hole in the Earth's ozone layer is expected to fully heal within 50 years, climate change experts predict in a new United Nations report.

As the ozone layer began to thin, more lifeforms, including humans, were exposed to stronger solar rays which increases the likelihood of cancer.

The report stated: "The Antarctic ozone hole is recovering while continuing to occur every year". Since 2000, it has increased by about 1 to 3 percent per decade, the report said.

If nothing had been done to stop the thinning, the world would have destroyed two-thirds of its ozone layer by 2065, Newman said.

Eventually, the hole in the ozone layer is expected to close, returning gradually to the same levels seen in the 1980s.

And if recovery rates continue as they are predicted to do, the report says the Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone should be fully recovered by the 2030s, the Southern Hemisphere ozone in the 2050s, and the polar regions before 2060.

"We're raising a flag to the global community to say, 'This is what's going on, and it is taking us away from timely recovery of the ozone layer, '" NOAA scientist Stephen Montzka, the study's lead author, said in a statement at the time.

However, if it could not be remedied the already slow recovery of the atmosphere's protective layer could be further delayed.

However, while most of the banned gases have been phased out, the report found at least one violation of the protocol: an unexpected increase in production and emissions of CFC-11 from eastern Asia since 2012.

The Protocol is set to be strengthened in 2019 with the ratification of the Kigali Amendment which calls for the future use of powerful climate-warming gases in refrigerators, air conditioners and related products to be slashed.

"I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060", Newman told AP.

"The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history for a reason", Erik Solheim, the head of UN Environment", said 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".