The International Day for Protection of the Ozone Layer is a timely reminder of what can be achieved when industry, governments and communities work together for the common good.
On this day 30 years ago the Vienna Convention – the parent convention of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer – was agreed.
It is considered by many to be our most successful international environmental treaty, having helped to prevent hundreds of millions of skin cancers and cataracts while keeping greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.
To mark the occasion and contribute to success of the protocol I am pleased to announce that the Australian Government has made a contribution of $40,000 to the international Ozone Research Trust Fund.
Over the past 28 years, all countries have helped to ensure the ozone layer is on the path to recovery by the middle of this century.
Globally, 1.75 million metric tonnes of ozone depleting substances have been phased out under the Montreal Protocol.
The Montreal Protocol has delivered the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that emissions of more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent have been averted from the atmosphere.
International research suggests the recovery of the ozone layer is estimated to prevent 280 million cases of skin cancer, 1.6 million deaths from skin cancer and 46 million cases of cataracts for those people born this century. These are extraordinary numbers.
This has been a long term commitment and I am proud that Australia was not only one of the first countries to sign up, but that we are well in advance of our obligations to phase-out ozone depleting substances.
The Ozone Research Trust Fund helps developing countries measure the recovery of the ozone layer to complement measurements and observations taken by other countries including Australia.
The Australian Government’s contribution will help countries in the Asia Pacific region build their technical and observational skills by utilising the expertise of the Bureau of Meteorology, which already undertakes ozone layer measurements from a number of Australian sites.
Additional observation sites, particularly in the southern hemisphere, will improve our knowledge of the ozone layer and assist in monitoring its recovery.
The Australian Government is encouraging other countries to play a role in the phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which are man-made replacements for ozone depleting substances, but very damaging to the climate.
The Montreal Protocol could phase out around 110 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050 – around two years worth of total global greenhouse gas emissions.
This is great news for the environment and for human health.
For more information about the Montreal Protocol and the ozone layer visit: http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/ozone/montreal-protocol
For the latest information on the progress of the Antarctic Ozone Hole visit: