This week in Singularity Hub we found an article written by James Temple on the MIT Technology Review site, which tells us about the results generated by the Montreal Protocol adopted in 1987.
This protocol establishes strict measures to phase out the use of chlorofluorocarbons and other chemicals used in refrigerants, solvents and other industrial products that were breaking down the Earth’s protective ozone layer.
Today, 30 years later, the results obtained go far beyond what was expected; Although there was already talk of global warming, the main objective was to protect and strengthen the ozone layer.
This objective was widely met; Today, measurements published by NASA show a denser and more stable ozone layer, which has allowed to limit the ultraviolet radiation radiation that generates health problems, such as cancer and eye damage.
This collective effort is showing that it has also generated other collateral effects of great benefit: the decrease in greenhouse gases is influencing the reduction of the average temperatures of the planet until 2050, by 1ºC.
Now, a new study in Nature highlights another crucial, albeit unintended, benefit: reducing the stress that ultraviolet radiation from the sun places on plants, inhibiting photosynthesis, and slowing growth.
The Montreal Protocol prevented “a catastrophic collapse of forests and farmland” that would have added hundreds of billions of tons of carbon to the atmosphere, said Anna Harper, senior lecturer in climate science at the University of Exeter and co-author of the paper. , in an email.
The Nature article, published on August 18, found that, if the production of ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase by 3% each year, the additional ultraviolet radiation would have reduced the growth of trees, grasses, ferns, flowers. and crops around the world. “While it was originally thought of as an ozone protection treaty, the Montreal Protocol has been a very successful climate treaty,” says Paul Young, a scientist at Lancaster University. _