How We Saved the Planet: Ozone Hole

The inspiring story of how a global environmental problem was solved — providing valuable lessons for today’s climate challenges. Scientists and politicians reveal how the nations of the world came together to fix the hole in the ozone layer.

Available on CBC Gem

How We Saved the Planet: Ozone Hole

The Passionate Eye

How We Saved the Planet: Ozone Hole is the inspiring story of how a global environmental problem was solved — providing valuable lessons for today’s climate challenges. Scientists and politicians reveal how the nations of the world came together to fix the hole in the ozone layer.

In the 1980s, the planet was in grave danger. Not from climate change, but from a giant hole in the ozone layer, caused by industrial chemicals known as CFCs. Against all odds, scientists and politicians successfully persuaded Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher — two of the most unlikely eco-warriors in history — to take action.

In September 1987, more than 30 countries agreed to cut the use of CFCs and signed the Montreal Protocol — the world’s first global treaty to reduce pollution. In 1990, Margaret Thatcher urged further support for the Montreal Protocol so that CFCs could be phased out completely and developing nations could afford ozone friendly technologies. It worked. Today, the ozone hole is showing signs of recovery and we have avoided an epidemic of skin cancer, the collapse of agriculture and the destruction of entire ecosystems.

MORE: How human action tackled the first great man-made threat to the planet’s environment

How We Saved the Planet: Ozone Hole interviews Secretary George Shultz, who persuaded President Reagan to phase out CFC chemical production; Professor Mario Molina, who won the Nobel Prize for identifying the CFC problem and Dr Jonathan Shanklin, who discovered the ozone hole. For those at the heart of the story, the Montreal Protocol shows that it is possible for the world to come together to prevent environmental destruction.
 

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