Environment & Energy Report

Southern Skies Benefit from a Rare Climate-Diplomacy Success

March 25, 2020, 4:00 PM

Diplomacy can fix large-scale harm done to the planet by industrial pollution.

That’s the conclusion of new research published today in the journal Nature showing how skies above the Southern Hemisphere have recovered since a 1987 treaty banned chemicals that eat away at the atmosphere’s protective layer.

The ozone layer sits in the Earth’s stratosphere, the second lowest atmospheric layer. Made up of ozone gas—O₃, as opposed to the O₂ we breathe—it shields living things from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Beginning in the 1960s, industrial chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)—pervasive in refrigeration, personal-care aerosol sprays, and insulating materials—reached the atmosphere, and their...

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