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Substantial commitments and actions are required to address climate change.

An example of such a collective commitment and early response was the signing of the Montreal Protocol by 46 countries in 1987 and the subsequent actions to comply with it in terms of research and development as well as industrial production.

In 1985, scientists observed that the thickness of the ozone layer, which is in the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere that protects us from the sun's ultraviolet radiation, was rapidly decreasing over Antarctica and gradually across the world.

The greatest reduction in thickness was observed at the point over the South Pole and gave the impression of a 'hole' in the ozone layer.

The researchers found that the main culprits for the destruction of the ozone layer were chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which at the time were commonly found in air conditioners, sprays and refrigerators.

This discovery led to the signing of the Montreal Protocol by 46 countries in 1987 which banned the use of 99% of the chemicals that contributed to ozone depletion.

The substantial actions and commitment of states and international industry that followed resulted in the UN assessment and report showing that the ozone layer thickness is expected to be fully recovered by 2040 worldwide, except at the poles, where it is expected to recover by 2066.

The UN said that these actions to preserve the ozone layer also contributed to the broader effort to address the climate crisis, as CFCs are greenhouse gases and have contributed to climate change.

This agreement and substantial international commitment can perhaps be described as humanity's most significant environmental success to date and demonstrates that a global effort is needed to address global challenges.

Such global efforts are currently underway to comprehensively address climate change through international agreements (Paris Agreement), Directives (EU Green Deal, EU Climate Law) and standard setting (TCFD, CDP). For these initiatives to succeed, however, there must be substantial commitment and involvement of both public and private organisations and businesses and they must not be limited to intentions and the preparation of theoretical compliance reports that are not based on real data derived from both the internal structure of an organisation and the external environment in which it operates.

Just as meaningful actions to reduce the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) led to the success of the Montreal Protocol and the reduction of the ozone hole, the actions of organisations and businesses today to tackle Climate Change must involve meaningful interventions based on information and the ability to predict the future. Only then will international initiatives to reduce the impacts of Climate Change and ensure the sustainability of the planet for future generations succeed.


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