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TTU Professor Says Ozone Healing Is 40 Years In The Making

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
TTU Professor Says Ozone Healing Is 40 Years In The Making

A Tennessee Tech professor says this week’s United Nations report concerning the healing of the Earth’s ozone layer has been almost 40 years in the making.

Dr. Lauren Michel is a paleoclimatology professor. She said the healing process began when countries around the world created the Montreal Protocol, effectively banning the harmful substance known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). She said CFCs were created in the 20s as a refrigerating alternative to the harmful chemicals like ammonia, but it was not until the 70s that scientists learned how much CFCs were negatively impacting the earth’s ozone layer.

“Once we banned the use of CFCs we still had them in the atmosphere and we still had to deal with what we had produced,” Michel said. “But since no more have ever been created, at some point all that we have produced interacted with the ozone and now we’re seeing the positive signs of no more CFCs, no more interactions with the ozone, and the ozone repairing itself.”

Michel said the ozone layer takes care of the earth by blocking out harmful sun rays that cause cancer and cataracts. She said in places like Australia and Antarctica, where the ozone was seeing the most widespread vulnerability, there were more severe cases of skin cancer and more instances of cataracts. Michel said there is negative ozone that we see on earth’s ground level. She said that comes from automobile emissions and chemical emissions of industrial plants.

Michel said it makes her optimistic to see that entities from around the world are able to work together to find solutions to global warming and the climate crisis.

“What we saw from the Montreal Protocol is that global problems demand global solutions,” Michel said. “And the only way to do this is not to point fingers and blame each other for who’s done the worst, but instead to recognize that every country in the world, if there’s a problem affecting the world, every country in the world needs to try and do whatever they can do to solve that problem. And in the case of the Montreal Protocol, I would say yes that’s a huge success. It was a global problem, a global solution, and we’re seeing decades later the positive outcome of it.”


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