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Ozone hole discoverer issues another global warning


TV 3 New Zealand-January 27 2008-Jonathan Shanklin was one of a group of scientists who helped bring about the Montreal Protocol – the international agreement on ozone control.

However, he says the world is still not moving fast enough.

On the Antarctic coastline where the ozone hole is open, he drew a diagram in the snow, illustrating how the world used to be with its protective layer; how it appeared 25 years ago when he first discovered the hole in the ozone layer and how that hole appears today.

“It’s probably doubled in size since the first discovery,” Mr Shanklin said. “And it was a wakeup call to the planet on how easily it is to change the atmosphere.”

His discovery led to a world-wide ban on ozone-destroying chemicals in hairsprays and fridges, slowing the growth of the ozone hole.

In decades to come, the hole is expected to close again.

Mr Shanklin has a warning about the climate changes to come.

“It won’t just be the Antarctic ice sheets breaking up,” he warned. “It will be glaciers flowing faster into the sea, the sea level rising and we will see the effects of that back in England.”

He says climate conferences where governments discuss the problem are not good enough.

“We need action and we need action now,” Mr Shanklin said. “This is a bit like putting the breaks on a lorry. You don’t stop immediately, but you perhaps will slow down enough so that you’re in control when you get to the future. At the moment, we’re not in control.”