30 Years Later—The Montreal Protocol as Essential as Ever

At least this story is about what might have been if we hadn't passed environmental regulations, instead of what will happen if we don't.
September 27, 2017, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

The Montreal Protocol turned 30 years old this month. According to Stephen Leahy, the international agreement is "a landmark environmental success that serves as a model for addressing other problems.

According to Leahy:

The Earth’s ozone layer would have collapsed by 2050 with catastrophic consequences without the Montreal Protocol, studies have shown. In the world we avoided thanks to the Protocol the UV Index measure during a Washington, DC or Los Angles mid-summer day would be at least 30 by 2070. Anything over 11 is considered extreme. There would have been an additional 280 million cases [pdf] of skin cancer, 1.5 million skin cancer deaths, and 45 million cataracts in the United States, according to the U.S. EPA.

There's a lot more scary data than just the preceding included in the article before the article turns to lessons of the politics that allowed the international agreement to proceed. The not-so-subtle subtext is the efforts of the fossil fuel industry to suppress and resist climate change legislation today.

Finally, the article notes that the Montreal Protocol still has unfinished business, and threats (i.e., the Trump Administration) to the ongoing process that protects the planet from ozone-damaging chemicals.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, September 25, 2017 in National Geographic
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email