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Response to Ozone Depletion vs Response to Global Warming

Response to Ozone Depletion vs Response to Global Warming

By Mahia Rahman, age 16

First I urge you to compare these two sets of graphs

In 1987 ozone levels dropped by 50%, and by the 1990s, scientists warned that by 2050 the ozone layer would collapse entirely. Considering the horrific consequences of ozone depletion, activists, scientists, and lawmakers worldwide proposed solutions. That same year, The United States and other big countries signed the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental treaty aimed at phasing out the production and consumption of substances that deplete the ozone layer by putting forth rules, guidelines, and preventative measures countries should take to slow ozone depletion. In the following years, every single country in the world signed the Montreal Protocol. Every country that signed the Montreal Protocol began phasing out the production and consumption of Ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) like hydrofluorocarbons and Halons. Soon after the Montreal Protocol was signed, consumption of ODSs began to plummet and reached near zero in the early 2000s. Today the ozone hole has stopped growing and is predicted to recover completely by 2055.

Today climate experts claim climate change will have irreversible effects on human life by 2030. This information has prompted action on a global level. The Paris Agreement was drafted on December 12, 2015, and entered into force on November 4, 2016. The goal of the Paris treatment is to hold all countries (the 193 that have signed it) accountable for their CO2 emissions and ultimately limit global warming to well below 2, and ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius. On paper, the Paris Agreement mirrors the Montreal Protocol and is an adequate plan for limiting global warming. However, a report from the Climate Action tracker shows that every G20 country, a country with one of the largest economies, is failing to meet the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Paris Agreement states that global emissions must be cut by 50% by 2030. We are nowhere near this number. As of September 2021, the only country that meets the 1.5 ℃ goals of the Paris treatment is The Gambia, all while accounting for only 0.05% of total greenhouse emissions. In contrast, Russia, responsible for 7.53% of greenhouse emissions, is labeled "critically insufficient" with the feat of meeting the Paris Agreement's demands. 

Time and time again on the news - per national organizations such as the United Nations - the fix for global warming seems to fall on the individual. On the United Nations' official website, the UN pushes that individuals can work towards reducing CO2 emissions by biking to work, eating a more plant-based diet, switching to electric vehicles, changing their home's source of energy, and more. These actions will make a difference at an individual level, but unless big corporations are held accountable and forced to change, the impact will be minuscule. Taking inspiration from the Montreal Protocol, we need to urge the government to stop corporations from making products that produce significant amounts of CO2 rather than telling people to stop buying these products. If there is anything we can learn from the Ozone layer restoration, it is to tackle global warming on the largest, most significant scale possible: globally. 

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