Within 20 years, a new ozone hole could develop over the North Pole, similar to the one that has been expanding dramatically in recent years over the South Pole, according to one of the three British scientists who discovered the damaged ozone layer over the Antarctic in 1985. A hole over the Arctic could affect far greater numbers of people than the one over the Antarctic, including many residents of western Europe, northeast Asia, and North America. An international agreement to restrict the production and use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances was signed in 1987, and great progress has been made since then in phasing out the substances, but there is a lag time before these efforts will slow the deterioration of the ozone layer. The World Bank and Western nations announced yesterday that they will grant Russia $26.2 million to help close seven facilities that now account for many of the ozone-depleting substances still being produced.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.