Children of the 80’s will well remember the panic over the ozone layer. CFC chemicals – used in the likes of fridges and hairspray – were found to be creating a hole in Earth’s gassy shield, allowing harmful rays to come flooding in. The CFC ban offered hope in tackling climate change
The international ban on ozone-depleting chemicals in 1987 may have helped avert a climate catastrophe already, scientists said this week. A study found that global surface temperatures could have risen by a further 1 degree Celsius this century without the ban, putting the planet on a dangerous path to climate breakdown.
The subsequent CFC ban was described by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan as “perhaps the single most successful international agreement”.
While the ban shows what the world is capable of when it works together, reaching an agreement on climate change is likely to be more challenging given how pervasive fossil fuels are in society.
“The science was listened to and acted upon — we have not seen that to the same degree with climate change,” lead researcher Dr Paul Young, of the Lancaster Environment Centre, told the BBC. “But it’s nice to have something positive to hold on to.”