The United States will have to obey restrictions and won’t be able to expand oil exploration in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, against President Trump’s will.
Ozone layer, a shield against UV rays
Ozone is a protective shield from UV rays. Damaging it means damaging the environment and our health.
Ozone is a gas consisting of three oxygen molecules (O3) instead of two (O2) like the oxygen we breathe.
Generally, ozone is present in the atmosphere in small amounts, in a layer 10 to 60 kilometres above the earth (ozonosphere) and in close proximity to the ground.
The ozone layer serves as protective shield against ultraviolet (UV) rays.
The formation of ozone at low altitudes is mainly due to two factors:
- Electric discharge (lightning);
- Reactions with nitrogen oxide molecules coming from the vehicles’ downpipes and thermal power stations.
In the ozonosphere, ozone is formed when a molecule of oxygen (O2) is split by UV rays so that oxygen atoms can combine with another molecule to make a molecule of ozone (O+O+O = O3), which, in turn, is split by UV rays in one molecule of oxygen and one free molecule (O2+O), which, back in circulation, pass through this process forever absorbing UV rays. The layer where these reactions are more likely to happen is 25 km above the earth, in the stratosphere.
When ozone is missing or reduced, the UV light reaches directly the earth surface causing damages to flora (inhibiting the photosynthesis) and fauna, including human beings (skin cancer, eye injuries, weakening of the immune system etc). The explanation is simple: UV rays are harmful to living creatures because with their low wavelength they have high radiant energy.
Belize has passed legislation to put an end to all oil activity in its waters to protect the largest barrier reef in the Northern hemisphere and boost sustainable tourism.
These are the top news stories of 2017 and the people who have most left a mark on a year that has been intense yet also rewarding from the point of view of social and environmental sustainability.
The fourth edition of the Greening the Islands International Conference will be held on the Italian island of Favignana on 3 and 4 November. The protagonists are the world’s small islands and the green economy.
The mayors of 12 cities have signed the C40 fossil-fuel-free streets declaration, pledging to fight air pollution, improve the quality of life for all citizens, and help tackle climate change.
The Canadian oil and gas company Pacific E&P has decided to halt its extractive activities in the Peruvian Amazon. A victory for the native Matsés people.
Cities are where the future happens first. An open letter by the mayors of Paris, Tokyo, Sydney and Cape Town
The mayors of four megacities have their say about the future in a letter that perfectly summarises how cities can play a crucial role in fighting climate change and creating a greener world.
People living near major roads and busy traffic are more at risk of developing dementia, according to a report analysing more than 6 million people.
Some of the most significant news stories of the year. From the Paris Agreement to the Colombian peace deal, here’s our 2016 in review: the last 12 months seen through the lens of sustainability.