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Earth’s protective ozone layer is on its way to recovery within the next four decades, a bit of good news amid repeated and consistently dire warnings about the climate, CNBC reported.

A United Nations-backed panel of researchers released a report this week highlighting how the trend toward recovery was thanks to years of work to eliminate ozone-damaging chemicals: These efforts included the landmark Montreal Protocol in 1987, which banned the production and consumption of chemicals that eat away at the planet’s protective layer.

Found in the planet’s upper atmosphere, the ozone layer protects the Earth from the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation, which is linked to skin cancer, compromised immune systems and agricultural damage.

The findings showed that the recovery will be gradual: If current policies remain in place, the protective layer could recover to 1980 levels – before the appearance of the ozone hole – by 2040. It will return to normal over the Artic by 2045 and over Antarctica by 2066.

The report noted that since 2018, global emissions from the banned chemical chlorofluorocarbon-11 (CFC-11), which was used as a refrigerant and in insulating foams, have decreased after rising unexpectedly for a number of years.

Scientists and environmental groups hailed the assessment, saying the ozone’s recovery underscores the importance of taking climate action. They added that it could set a precedent for the broader regulation of climate-warming emissions.

“Our success in phasing out ozone-eating chemicals shows us what can and must be done – as a matter of urgency – to transition away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gases and so limit temperature increase,” World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said.

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