A report backed by the United Nations (UN) says that our planet's ozone layer is on track to be fully restored by 2066, as long as we keep reducing our use of substances that damage the ozone layer.
Nearly 100 substances, like the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that are often found in aerosols, were named as being bad for the health of the ozone layer in 1987, when the Montreal Protocol was signed by all countries.
The protocol tried to set rules for how these substances could be used, and every four years, the Scientific Assessment Panel to the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances puts out a report on how things are going.
The latest report, which will be presented at the American Meteorological Society's 103rd annual meeting, shows that we're on the right track when it comes to restoring the ozone layer.
Based on the data, it is thought that it will be back to normal over most of the world by 2040, over the Arctic by 2045, and over the Antarctic by 2066.
The report also talked about the good progress made in reducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These are substances that have been used instead of CFCs because they are less harmful to the ozone, but they are still bad for the environment.
Over time, the hole in the ozone layer has been getting smaller and smaller. IMAGE: Vox
Even though these HFCs don't directly damage the ozone layer, they still contribute to the problem of global warming. The Montreal Protocol was changed to include a goal of reducing the use of these HFCs, which the report says has been getting less and less over the years.
Estimates say that if we keep going in the same direction as we are now, we can stop the temperature from rising by about 0.3 to 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.54 to 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) by the year 2100.
"The latest quadrennial report says that ozone recovery is on track, which is great news. We can't say enough about how much the Montreal Protocol has helped fight climate change "Meg Seki, who is in charge of the Ozone Secretariat for the UN Environment Program, said this.
"The Protocol has become a real champion for the environment over the last 35 years."
The Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, Professor Petteri Taalas, also said that these positive changes should encourage the rest of the world to keep working for better environmental outcomes.
"Action on ozone sets a standard for action on climate. Our success in getting rid of chemicals that eat the ozone layer shows us what can and must be done right away to move away from fossil fuels, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and limit temperature rise "he said.