What we can learn from a healing Ozone layer

What we can learn from a healing Ozone layer

On the 35th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, it is fitting that you have returned to the city where it all began. Congratulations to all Parties and others involved for carrying out a repair job on a planetary scale. The ozone layer is now healing. Your work has delivered so many benefits, by both protecting the planet from UV radiation and slowing climate change.

By 2030, two million cases of skin cancer will be avoided. By 2060, we will avoid almost 500 biillion an estimated USD 460 billion in damages to agriculture, fisheries and other resources. will have been avoided. By the end of the century, one study has even estimated that up to 2.5°C temperature rise could be avoided – thanks to both the phasing out of climate-warming ozone-depleting substances and the protection of carbon sinks.

As we look ahead, the Montreal Protocol has so much more to give.

Over 99 per cent of ozone-depleting substances have been phased out. The task now is to maintain the gains and push to phase out the remaining gases, largely HCFCs. But the bigger piece of work is on climate.

The Kigali Amendment is expected to avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming by phasing down hydrofluorocarbons. Given how far behind the world is on the decarbonization of economies, this would be a huge contribution. The phase-down will also help expand cooling to those who need it – in cities hit by heatwaves and in developing countries that need more cold chains – without further warming the planet.

Increased adoption of energy efficient cooling technology must accompany the phase-down. However, for the expansion of cooling to succeed – and potentially double the climate gains of the Kigali Amendment, we need action and action now.

There will, of course, be other challenges and opportunities for the Kigali Amendment, which you will discuss during this MOP. Energy efficiency is one such issue. You will also discuss strategies and tools, action being taken by industries and lessons you can share with other global environmental agreements – for example, the deal to end plastic pollution under negotiation. Attaining universal ratification of the Kigali Amendment is another key issue, and I urge nations who have not yet done so to ratify and start implementing the amendment.

Reports from the Scientific Assessment Panel, Environmental Effects Assessment Panel and the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel will provide you with the information you need to make sound policy decisions. My thanks to the panels and we look forward to the completion of their quadrennial assessments this year.

Thank you also to Parties for finalizing the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund for 2021-2023. The funding is important to kick start activities for the Kigali Amendment in many Article 5 parties. I wish you well for the discussion on the replenishment study terms of reference, and on the many other issues on your agenda.