MEU Chairman and Professor of Respiratory Medicine, Ashley Woodcock, was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today Show this morning about some good news concerning the environment.
Professor Woodcock spoke to Nick Robinson about how the ozone layer is on course to being repaired thanks to a decision to phase out CFCs (gases found in products such as aerosols, fridges and foam insulation) through the Montreal Protocol.
As a result, the ozone hole is closing, billions of skin cancer deaths have been avoided, and one degree of climate change benefit has been achieved.
However, a new challenge is being posed by the need to reduce HFCs, the gases which replaced CFCs now being used in air conditioning units and refrigerators around the world, and in developing countries in particular. HFCS are ozone friendly, but powerful greenhouse gases.
This task to reduce the use of HFCs and slow down the warming of the planet has been given to the Montreal Protocol, the only fully ratified protocol in the UN Environment Programme. Professor Woodcock is co-chair of its technology panel which provides annual reports to support consensus decisions by the 197 countries involved.
The Montreal Protocol was initially established in 1987 in response to the discovery of ozone hole. It meets every year to regulate the production and consumption of man-made chemicals referred to as ozone depleting substances (ODS), and now HFCs. If successful, this could save another half a degree of global warming.
Listen to the interview here (starting at 53 minutes): https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001h641