Environmental effects and interactions of stratospheric ozone depletion, UV radiation, and climate change: 2018 assessment

The seven papers published in this issue of Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences comprise the assessment of the interactive effects of ozone depletion, anticipated ozone recovery, and climate change on UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface, and the resultant implications for human health and the environment. The assessment is produced in the first instance as a limited edition for governments of all countries, via the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and now is made more readily available to the scientific community by publication in the scientific literature. Forty-two members and co-authors of the UNEP's Environmental Effects Assessment Panel from 18 countries contributed to the assessment, which has been reviewed by 73 scientists. The assessment highlights the contribution of the Montreal Protocol to environmental sustainability, human health and well-being, and the alignment with many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Montreal Protocol and its Amendments, through controlling the ozone depleting substances over the past 34 years, has helped to avoid large increases of solar UV-B (280–315 nm) radiation that would otherwise have occurred by the middle of the 21st century. Modelling studies of a world without successful control of ozone depleting substances, the so-called ‘world avoided’, show that implementation of the Montreal Protocol and its Amendments has avoided catastrophic effects on human health. Globally, the implementation of the Montreal Protocol has protected crop production from the damaging effects of both elevated UV radiation and climate change. However, to date, there are no ‘world avoided’ models of these effects on the environment. As editors and Panel members, we hope that publication in this scientific journal will help keep scientists aware of their involvement in the protection of the environment for all forms of life on Earth.

Janet F. Bornman

Nigel Paul

Min Shao

Co-Chairs of the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel

Keith R. Solomon

Secretary of the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel


Cover illustrations

We acknowledge the generous contributions of the photographs for the front (Simon Lucas, Wild Lens Photography, https://www.simonlucasphotography.com/) and inside covers (Germar Bernhard).

Our thanks to the reviewers

We thank the following reviewers (listed alphabetically) for their generous contributions of time and expertise, which have greatly assisted in improving the papers of this assessment:

Prof. Javier Martínez-Abaigar, Prof. Manuel Anton, Dr Pedro J. Aphalo, Dr Antti Arola, Dr Jianhui Bai, Prof. John Beardall, Prof. Lars Olof Björn, Dr Mario Blumthaler, Prof. Peter Braesicke, Dr Amy Butler, Dr Sergio H. Cabrera, Prof. Lucy Carpenter, Dr Thomas P. Coohill, Prof. Sandra L. Cooke, Dr Martin Dameris, Prof. Andy Davis, Prof. Thomas A. Day, Dr Henri Diémoz, Prof. (Emeritus) Brian Diffey, Dr Sebastian D. Eastham, Prof. Nils Ekelund, Prof. Andreas Engel, Dr David Fahey, Dr Auroop, R Ganguly, Prof. Kunshan Gao, Dr Peter Gies, Dr Shelley Gorman, Dr Julian Groebner, Dr Dylan Gwynn-Jones, Prof. Panos Hadjinicolaou, Prof. Prue Hart, Prof. Dag Hessen, Prof. Éva Hideg, Prof. Rainer Hofmann, Prof. Andrés Holz, Dr Alexey Karpechko, Prof. Jennifer Y King, Dr Malcolm Ko, Prof. Janusz Krzyscin, Prof. Victor Kuwahara, Dr Kaisa Lakkala, Prof. Taylor Leach, Prof. Shaoshan Li, Dr Laura Llorens, Dr Ben Liley, Dr Javier López-Solano, Prof. Gizaw Mengistu, Prof. Line Nybakken, Dr Catherine Olsen, Dr Masaji Ono, Prof. Rubén Piacentini, Dr Richard Quere, Prof. Lesley Rhodes, Dr Bonfils Safari, Dr Michelle Santee, Dr Tamara Schikowski, Dr Norma D Searle, Prof. Alistair Seddon, Dr Jonathan Shanklin, Prof. Anna Maria Siani, Dr Rajeshwar Sinha, Prof. Raymond C. Smith, Prof. Ralph E. Smith, Prof. Cristina Sobrino, Prof. Knut Asbjörn Solhaug, Dr J. Richard Soulen, Prof. Åke Strid, Prof. Hugh R Taylor, Prof. Kleareti Tourpali, Prof. Sivakumar Venkataraman, Prof. Dolors Verdaguer Murlà, Prof. Maria Vernet, Assoc. Prof. Jason Wargent, Prof. Ann R. Webb, Dr Caradee Wright, Prof. Huixiang Xie.

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This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry and Owner Societies 2019