UN environment chief hails push for protection of ozone layer to combat climate change
The head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has applauded the findings of a new study that calls for a “parallel push” to fight climate change and also to decrease chemicals harming the ozone layer which shields the Earth from harmful ultraviolet light.
“I believe the study,” released yesterday, “underscores the simple fact that well-devised action to address one area of environmental concern can have multiple environmental benefits across numerous others,” said UNEP’s Executive Director Achim Steiner.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, now entering its 20th year, is one of the most successful environmental agreements to date. It has succeeded in phasing out ozone depleting chemicals (ODS) in developed countries, led to the closure of many plants producing ODS and discouraged the creation of industries that use them.
“The climate dimension of the Montreal Protocol is a story that is not widely known, but one that deserves more consideration by the communities involved in ozone and climate protection,” he said.
This study, by scientists from the Netherlands and the United States, is the first to calculate in detail how the phasing out and reduction of chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) assist in protecting the climate. CFCs were once very commonly used in products such as refrigerators, but contributed to the depletion of the ozone layer.
In a related development, Mr. Steiner also lauded yesterday’s launch of a report on managing Brazil’s water resources, a collaborative effort combining the work of the Government, UN agencies and Brazilian institutions and specialists.
Welcoming the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) on Water Resources in Brazil report, Mr. Steiner noted that the “inclusiveness” involved in producing the study is “mirrored in Brazil’s evolving water management initiatives such as those on river basins, where the Federal and state level to the private sector and non- governmental organizations are represented.”