Press releases

Monday 08 Oct 2001

Threats to ozone layer persist as governments seek tighter controls

Colombo, Sri Lanka, 8 October 2001 - Recognizing the need to eliminate any remaining weaknesses in the international regime for protecting the earth's ozone layer, governments will meet here from 16 to 19 October in order to strengthen the effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol on Substances That
Deplete the Ozone Layer.

"Despite the enormous cuts in ozone-depleting chemicals achieved under the Montreal Protocol, the stratospheric ozone layer remains in poor health as a result of past emissions," said Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, under whose auspices the 1987
Protocol was adopted.

"To minimize the damage to humans and the environment caused by increased ultraviolet (UV-B) radiation reaching the surface, we need to tackle simultaneously all the remaining sources of these chemicals," he said.

While smaller than last year's record thinning, the current spring ozone "hole" over Antarctica measures 24 million square miles - almost the combined size of the Russian Federation and Brazil. Earlier this year,
during the Northern Hemisphere spring, the ozone layer over the Canadian Arctic declined by 20% for a short time, while over Northern Siberia the decline exceeded 30% in early March. Declines of 10 to 12% were measured over large areas of densely settled Europe, and declines of 6 to 10% were recorded over North America.

The Colombo meeting will consider accelerating the ozone layer's revival by:

* Helping governments to comply with the agreed phase-out schedules. With the consumption of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances in developed countries now almost completely phased out, attention is turning to the developing countries. The ozone layer cannot recover unless these countries - which account for 83% of the remaining global CFC consumption - make an early transition to ozone-friendly chemicals. They are currently committed to a 1999 freeze in their production and consumption of CFCs; in 2002 they
will also be required to freeze halons and methyl bromide.

In Colombo, delegates will review the first round of data and reports from developing countries on their compliance with the CFC freeze. These reports show that the vast majority of developing countries are meeting their commitments. For countries having difficulties implementing the CFC freeze, a special meeting will be convened on 17 October for discussions with their Ministers.

Fortunately, developing countries can rely on the Multilateral Fund for support in meeting the Protocol's targets. Delegates will prepare the terms of reference for a study that will help governments determine the level at which the Multilateral Fund should be replenished for the 2003-2005 funding period. The Fund has disbursed more than $1.2 billion since 1991 for phase-out projects in some 120 developing countries.

* Discouraging the development and marketing of new ozone-depleting substances. The Montreal Protocol covers 96 specific chemicals, many of which have been added through amendments in recent years. But the global chemicals industry develops thousands of new chemicals every year, some of which then enter the market. The risk is that some of these new substances could prove dangerous to the ozone layer.

Concerns have been raised about such recently introduced chemicals as Hexachlorobutadiene (used as a solvent and produced as a by-product of chlorinated chemical production), n-Propyl Bromide (being aggressively marketed as a solvent, a feedstock and as a carrier and intermediate for pharmaceutical and other industries), 6-bromo-2-methoxyl-naphthalene (used in the manufacture of methyl bromide, which is controlled by the Protocol), and Halon-1202 (used in fire fighting).

Delegates will discuss a long-term strategy for ensuring that new chemicals are tested for their ozone-depleting potential before they enter the market.

* Clamping down on illegal trade in CFCs and other substances. Millions of CFC-dependent refrigerators, automobile air conditioners and other equipment are still in service around the world. Criminals clearly have a strong incentive to smuggle CFCs and other banned substances across borders. Governments are seeking to minimize illegal trade through better monitoring and through arrests and severe penalties. Efforts are also
underway to restrict the export and import of used products and equipment that are dependent on CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances as a way of cutting demand for these substances.

Since developing countries are now also subject to phase-out schedules, they too are increasingly exposed to illegal trade. Governments are discussing the need for stronger controls on imports and exports, more
training of enforcement officers, improved regional customs cooperation, enhanced regional networking for sharing information and experiences, and greater awareness raising to help buyers avoid accepting illegal substances unknowingly. In Colombo, Governments will consider in what way to conduct a study of the best means of monitoring international trade and preventing illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances.

* Promoting alternatives to ozone-depleting chemicals. The meeting will consider new applications for "essential-use exemptions" for 2002 and beyond; for example, a health exemption is normally granted for CFC metered-dose inhalers for asthmatics. Technological progress offers hope that the need for such exemptions can be reduced.

Related issues on the agenda include reducing emissions from ozone-depleting chemicals used as process agents (chemical catalysts), developing national management plans for reducing Halons in critical uses
(such as fire-fighting) and considering critical-use exemptions for methyl bromide to be implemented beginning 2005.

The issue raised previously by the European Community regarding the tightening of the Protocol's phase-out schedule for developing country consumption of HCFCs - a leading substitute for CFCs - will also be
discussed at the meeting. The proposal by the European Community is based on the concern that, while much less destructive to the ozone layer than CFCs, HCFCs do contribute to ozone depletion, and alternatives are now available on the market.

* Accelerating ratifications of the Protocol's amendments. While the Montreal Protocol itself has a membership of 180 states plus the EC, its subsequent Amendments have received fewer ratifications. For example, governments had agreed to ratify the 1999 Beijing Amendment (which phases out Bromochloromethane and introduces new controls on HCFCs) in time for it to enter into force by January 2001, but the Amendment still does not have the 20 ratifications required. Until governments ratify, they are not legally bound to phase out the chemicals agreed in the London, Copenhagen, Montreal and Beijing Amendments.

The 13th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol will include a preparatory segment (16-17 October) and a high-level segment (18 - 19 October). Some 400 delegates from about 130 countries are expected to attend.

Under the 1987 Montreal Protocol and its subsequent Amendments, governments have agreed to phase out chemicals that destroy stratospheric ozone, which is essential for shielding humans, plants, and animals from the damaging effects of harmful ultraviolet light. Recent years have seen record thinning of the ozone layer, including an ever-larger ozone "hole" over Antarctica. Scientists predict that the ozone layer will start to recover in the near future and will fully recover some time in the mid-21st century - but only if the Protocol continues to be vigorously enforced.
However, they also believe that climate change (which is warming the earth's surface but cooling the stratosphere and thus accelerating the chemical processes that lead to ozone depletion) may contribute to delaying the recovery.

Note to journalists: The meeting will be held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka.
For additional information before or after the meeting, please contact
Michael Williams at +41-22-917-8242/9244/8196, +41-79-409-1528 (cell phone)
or Michael.williams@unep.ch. During the meeting call the conference center
at +94-1-69 1130 or +94-1-69 6489 and ask for the UNEP Ozone Press Office.
A press accreditation form and other information about the Montreal
Protocol is available at www.unep.org/ozone/

 

 

 


BACKGROUNDER
Basic Facts and Data on the Science and Politics of Ozone Protection
1. The Ozone Layer
Ozone molecules (O3) consist of three oxygen atoms. This poisonous gas is
extremely rare in the atmosphere, representing just three out of every 10
million molecules. Ninety per cent of ozone exists in the upper atmosphere,
or stratosphere, between 10 and 50 km (6-30 miles) above the earth. Ozone
at ground-level, at the bottom of the troposphere, is a harmful pollutant
resulting from automobile exhausts and other sources.

Figure 1 - Ozone Distribution in the Atmosphere
The ozone layer absorbs most of the harmful ultraviolet-B radiation from
the sun. It also completely screens out lethal UV-C radiation. The ozone
shield is thus essential to life as we know it. Depleting the ozone layer
allows more UV-B to reach the earth. More UV-B means more melanoma and
non-melanoma skin cancers, more eye cataracts, weakened immune systems,
reduced plant yields, damage to ocean eco-systems and reduced fishing
yields, adverse effects on animals, and more damage to plastics.
Scientific concern started in 1970 when Prof. Paul Crutzen pointed out the
possibility that nitrogen oxides from fertilizers and supersonic aircraft
might deplete the ozone layer. In 1974, Professors F. Sherwood Rowland and
Mario J. Molina recognized that when CFCs finally break apart in the
atmosphere and release chlorine atoms they cause ozone depletion. Bromine
atoms released by halons have the same effect. The three scientists
received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1995 for their pioneering work.
The ozone layer over Antarctica has steadily weakened since measurements
started in the early 1980s. The problem is most severe over this part of
the globe due to the extreme cold of the atmosphere and the presence of
polar stratospheric clouds. The land area under the ozone-depleted
atmosphere increased steadily to more than 20 million sq. km. in the early
1990s and has varied between 20 and 29 million sq. km. since then. The area
of the ozone "hole" reached a record 29 million sq. km. on 12 September
2000. Although it was the largest and the deepest ozone hole on record for
the month of September, it dissipated early in October, the quickest
reversal since 1991. The lowest value for ozone recorded at the South Pole
was 86 DU on 12 October 1993. In 2001, the area of the ozone hole has been
about 25 million sq. km. While no hole has appeared elsewhere, the Arctic
spring has seen the ozone layer over the North Pole thin by up to 30%,
while the depletion over Europe and other high latitudes varies between 5%
and 30%.

Figure 2 - Measurements of Ozone and Reactive Chlorine from a Flight Into
the Antarctic Ozone Hole, 1987
2. Adopting and Ratifying the Vienna Convention, the Montreal Protocol, and
Amendments to the Protocol
The issue of ozone depletion was first discussed by the Governing Council
of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1976. A meeting of
experts on the ozone layer was convened in 1977, after which UNEP and the
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) set up the Coordinating Committee
of the Ozone Layer (CCOL) to periodically assess ozone depletion.
Inter-governmental negotiations for an international agreement to phase out
ozone-depleting substances started in 1981 and concluded with the adoption
of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer in March 1985.
The 1985 Vienna Convention encourages intergovernmental cooperation on
research, systematic observation of the ozone layer, monitoring of CFC
production, and the exchange of information. The Convention commits its
Parties to take general measures to protect human health and the
environment against human activities that modify the ozone layer. The
Vienna Convention is a framework agreement and does not contain legally
binding controls or targets.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was
adopted in September 1987. Following the discovery of the Antarctic ozone
hole in late 1985, governments recognized the need for stronger measures to
reduce the production and consumption of a number of CFCs (CFC-11, 12, 113,
114, and 115) and several Halons (1211, 1301, 2402). The Protocol was
designed so that the phase-out schedules could be revised on the basis of
periodic scientific and technological assessments. Following such
assessments, the Protocol was adjusted to accelerate the phase-out
schedules in London in 1990, Copenhagen in 1992, Vienna in 1995, Montreal
in 1997, and Beijing in 1999. It has also been amended to introduce other
kinds of control measures and to add new controlled substances to the list;
the 1990 London Amendment included additional CFCs (CFC-13, 111, 112, 211,
212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217) and the two solvents (carbon tetrachloride
and methyl chloroform), while the 1992 Copenhagen Amendment added methyl
bromide, HBFCs, and HCFCs. The Montreal Amendment of 1997 finalized the
schedules for phasing out methyl bromide. The Beijing Amendment of 1999
included Bromochloromethane for immediate phase out; it also introduced
production controls on HCFCs as well as controls on trade with non-Parties.
Governments are not legally bound until they ratify the Protocol as well as
the Amendments. Unfortunately, while most governments have ratified the
Protocol, ratification of the amendments and their stronger control
measures lag behind. As of 5 October 2001, the Ozone Agreements had been
ratified by countries as depicted in the figure 3 chart:

Figure 3 - Ratification Status of the Montreal Protocol and its Amendments
as of 5 October 2001.
3. The Chemicals And Their Phase-Out Schedules
Ninety-six (96) chemicals are presently controlled by the Montreal
Protocol, including:
· Halo-carbons, notably chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Halons. CFCs were
discovered in 1928 and were considered wonder gases because they are
long-lived, non-toxic, non-corrosive, and non-flammable. They are also
versatile and from the 1960s were increasingly used in refrigerators, air
conditioners, spray cans, solvents, foams, and other applications. CFC-11
remains in the atmosphere for 50 years, CFC-12 for 102 years, and CFC-115
for 1,700. Halon 1301 is used primarily in fire extinguishers and has an
atmospheric lifetime of 65 years.
· Carbon tetrachloride is used as a solvent and takes 42 years to break
down in the atmosphere.
· Methyl chloroform (1,1,1-trichloroethane) is also used as a solvent and
takes 5.4 years to break down.
· Hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs) are not widely used, but they have been
included under the Protocol to prevent any new uses.
· Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) were developed as the first major
replacement for CFCs. While much less destructive than CFCs, HCFCs also
contribute to ozone depletion. They have an atmospheric lifetime of 1.4 to
19.5 years.
· Methyl bromide (CH3Br) is used as a fumigant for high-value crops, pest
control, and quarantine treatment of agricultural commodities awaiting
export. Total world annual consumption is about 70,000 tonnes, most of it
in the industrialized countries. It takes 0.7 years to break down.
· Bromochloromethane (BCM), a new ozone-depleting substance that some
companies sought to introduce into the market in 1998, has been targeted by
the 1999 Amendment for immediate phase-out to prevent its use.
· The Parties are considering measures to prevent the marketing of new
ozone-depleting substances not so far covered by the Protocol.
The phase-out schedules for developed countries are as follows:
Ø Phase out Halons by 1994;
Ø Phase out CFCs, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, and HBFCs by 1996;
Ø Reduce methyl bromide by 25% by 1999, 50% by 2001, 70% by 2003, and phase
out by 2005; and
Ø Reduce HCFCs by 35% by 2004, 65% by 2010, 90% by 2015, and 99.5% by 2020,
with 0.5% permitted for maintenance purposes only until 2030.
Ø Phase out HBFCs by 1996 and phase out BCM immediately.
Developing countries have a grace period before they must start their
phase-out schedules. This reflects the recognition that developed countries
are responsible for the bulk of total emissions into the atmosphere and
that they have more financial and technological resources for adopting
replacements. The developing country schedules are as follows:
Ø Phase out HBFCs by 1996 and phase out BCM immediately;
Ø Freeze CFCs, Halons and carbon tetrachloride at average 1995-97 levels by
1 July 1999, reduce by 50% by 2005, 85% by 2007, and phase out completely
by 2010;
Ø Freeze methyl chloroform by 2003 at average 1998-2000 levels, reduce by
30% by 2005, 70% by 2010, and phase out by 2015;
Ø Freeze methyl bromide by 2002 at average 1995-98 levels, reduce by 20% by
2005, and phase out by 2015; and
Ø Freeze HCFCs by 2016 at 2015 levels and phase out by 2040.
The phase-out schedules cover both the production and the consumption of
the target substances. However, even after phase out both developed and
developing countries are permitted to produce limited quantities in order
to meet the essential uses for which no alternatives have yet been
identified, e.g. the use of CFCs in metered dose inhalers for asthma.
Production is defined as total production minus amounts destroyed or used
as chemical feedstock. Consumption is defined as production plus imports
minus exports. Trade in recycled and used chemicals is not included in the
calculation of consumption in order to encourage recovery, reclamation and
recycling.
4. What Have Been The Results So Far?
Without the Protocol, by the year 2050 ozone depletion would have risen to
at least 50% in the northern hemisphere's mid latitudes and 70% in the
southern mid latitudes, about 10 times worse than current levels. The
result would have been a doubling of UV-B radiation reaching the earth in
the northern mid latitudes and a quadrupling in the south. The amount of
ozone-depleting chemicals in the atmosphere would have been five times
greater. The implications of this would have been horrendous: 19 million
more cases of non-melanoma cancer, 1.5 million cases of melanoma cancer,
and 130 million more cases of eye cataracts.

Figure 4.1 - Projection of what would have happened without the Protocol -
Ozone Losses

Figure 4.2 - Projections: Annual Deaths from Melanoma and Non-Melanoma Skin
Cancer Averted due to the Montreal Protocol
In 1986 the total consumption of CFCs world-wide was about 1.1 million ODP
tonnes; by 1999 this had come down to about 150,000 tonnes. It has been
calculated that without the Montreal Protocol global consumption would have
reached about 3 million tonnes in the year 2010 and 8 million tonnes in
2060, resulting in a 50% depletion of the ozone layer by 2035. The bulk of
the 1986 total, or about 0.9 million ODP tonnes, was consumed in developed
countries, but by 1999 these countries consumed just 24,000 tonnes,
including for exemptions approved by the Parties. The developing countries
have reduced their consumption by about 13% from 1986 to 1999. Three of the
130 developing countries (Brazil, China and Republic of Korea), accounted
for more than 50% of this group's consumption for 1999, while 7 more
countries (Argentina, India, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria and
Thailand), accounted for a further 25% consumption. Four of these countries
have already reported a reduction in consumption for 2000 while five of
them have not yet reported data for 2000.

Figure 5 - Worldwide Production and Consumption of CFCs
Scientists predict that ozone depletion will reach its worst point during
the next few years and then gradually decline until the ozone layer returns
to normal around 2050, assuming that the Montreal Protocol is fully
implemented. The ozone layer is currently in its most vulnerable state.
Despite declining CFC emissions, stratospheric concentrations are still
increasing (although they are declining in the lower atmosphere) because
long-lived CFCs emitted in earlier years continue to rise to the
stratosphere. The atmospheric abundance of certain CFCs (notably CFC-11 and
CFC-113), carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform is declining. The
abundance of most of the halons continues to increase. Concentrations of
HCFCs and HFCs are, of course, increasing, since they are used as
substitutes for the CFCs that are being phased out.
The success of ozone protection has been possible because science and
industry have been able to develop and commercialize alternatives to
ozone-depleting chemicals. Developed countries ended the use of CFCs faster
and with less cost than was originally anticipated. Substitutes have proved
particularly important in electronics. The foam-blowing sector has made use
of water, carbon-dioxide, and hydrocarbons, as well as HCFCs. The
refrigeration and air-conditioning sector has largely used HCFCs as
alternatives, but new equipment is increasingly using replacements with
zero ozone-depleting potential, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),
ammonia, and hydrocarbons.
HFCs have a high global warming potential and have been included in the
basket of greenhouse gases controlled by the Kyoto Protocol of the
Convention on Climate Change. Countries are now trying to minimise their
emissions of HFCs.
Consumers are recycling existing Halons to gain time for developing
substitutes for fire fighting. Other extinguishing agents such as carbon
dioxide, water, foam, and dry powder are now widely used. Alternative
approaches, such as good fire prevention practices, use of fire-resistant
materials, and appropriate designs for buildings have significantly reduced
the need for Halon systems, and total phase-out was achieved smoothly by 1994.
Countries are recovering and recycling CFCs from obsolete equipment and
using them for maintenance of existing equipment.
Industrialized countries are concentrating their phase-out efforts on HCFCs
and methyl bromide. They are trying to ensure that HCFCs are used only as
direct replacements where other more environmentally suitable alternatives
are not available. HCFCs were critical for meeting the early CFC phase-out
goals but are generally considered undesirable for most new equipment
because they do have some ozone-depleting potential and ozone-safe
alternatives are available for most applications.
5. A Short Summary of the Findings of the Assessment Panels
Science:
· The combined concentration of all ozone-depleting chemicals in the lower
atmosphere peaked in 1994 and is now slightly declining.
· The observed concentrations of chlorine and bromine compounds are
expected to peak in the stratosphere by the year 2000.
· The observed concentrations of CFC substitutes are increasing.
· The spring-time Antarctic ozone hole continues unabated. In the Arctic,
the late winter/spring ozone values were unusually low in six out of the
last nine years.
· The understanding of the relationship between the increase in UV-B
radiation and the decrease in the amount of ozone in the entire atmosphere
has been further strengthened through scientific observation.
· Stratospheric ozone losses have caused a cooling of the global lower
stratosphere and a global-average negative radiation forcing of the climate
system.
· The ozone layer will slowly recover over the next 50 years, assuming that
the Montreal Protocol and its Adjustments and Amendments are implemented by
all member countries. Failure to comply with the phase-out schedules will
affect the recovery of the ozone layer.
· The issues of ozone depletion and global warming are interconnected.
Environmental Effects:
· The increases in UV-B radiation associated with ozone depletion are
likely to lead to adverse health effects, including skin cancers, eye
cataracts and weakening of the immune system.
· Measurements at a southern mid-latitude site in New Zealand have
demonstrated long-term increases in peak summertime UV-B radiation.
· Adverse effects, including on the growth, photosynthesis, protein and
pigment control, and reproduction of phytoplankton have been noticed in
aquatic ecosystems.
· Physical and mechanical properties of polymers (namely, plastics) are
negatively affected by increased UV-B radiation.
Technology and Economics:
· CFC consumption for aerosols, which in the mid-1970s accounted for about
60 per cent of the total consumption of CFCs, has come down to only 15,000
tonnes, and the use of CFCs in foams has been reduced by about 75%. While
alternatives are available for almost all fire-fighting applications,
halons are still needed in a few critical uses like aviation. These uses
are maintained through recycling.
· Alternatives are available for the soil fumigation use of methyl bromide.
On the whole, alternatives are not available only for about 2,500 tonnes
of use, out of the total use of about 72,000 tonnes of Methyl Bromide.
· Hydrocarbons are becoming increasingly popular for small refrigerators.
· HCFCs are still a valid option for some refrigeration equipment.
· HFC-134A is being used in some applications.
· Alternatives are available for all the solvent uses of CFCs. HCFCs are
used in some of the applications.
6. The Multilateral Fund and the GEF
The Multilateral Fund is part of the financial mechanism established under
the Protocol in June 1990. It pays the agreed incremental costs incurred by
developing countries in phasing out their consumption and production of
ozone-depleting substances. It is administered by an Executive Committee of
seven developed and seven developing countries chosen by the Parties every
year. The Fund's allocation was $240 million for 1991-93, $455 million for
1994-96, and $465 million for 1996-99. The replenishment for the three-year
period of 2000-2 was fixed at $440 million by the Parties at their Beijing
meeting in December 1999; this includes $150 million for China and $82
million for India to close down their production facilities for CFCs. The
Multilateral Fund has thus far disbursed some 1.2 billion dollars for
capacity building and projects to phase out CFCs.

Figure 6 - Multilateral Ozone Fund: Cumulative Funds Approved and CFC
Tonnes Phased Out.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established by the world
community to help developing countries deal with ozone depletion, climate
change, biodiversity, and international waters. GEF supports projects and
activities for phasing-out ozone-depleting substances in countries with
economies in transition, as these Central and East European countries are
not eligible for Multilateral Fund assistance. To date, $148 million has
been approved by GEF to assist the following countries: Azerbaijan,
Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland,
the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and
Uzbekistan.
7. Implementing Agencies of the Multilateral Fund and GEF
The UN Environment Programme, the UN Development Programme and the World
Bank implement the programmes of the Fund and the GEF in developing
countries and in countries with economies in transition. In addition, the
UN Industrial Development Organization functions as an implementing agency
of the Fund.
UNEP is responsible for information exchange, institutional strengthening,
networking and preparation of country programmes. It has assisted over 100
developing countries as well as countries that were formerly part of the
Soviet Union.
UNDP, UNIDO and the World Bank are responsible for technical assistance and
investment projects for phasing out ozone-depleting substances in all
countries receiving assistance.
8. The Remaining Challenges
The Protocol has been hailed as an extraordinary success so far, but there
is no room for complacency because:
Ratification is incomplete.
Nineteen countries have not yet ratified the ozone treaties, and many more
have not yet ratified the London, Copenhagen, Montreal and Beijing
Amendments.
Some countries with economies in transition are having difficulty complying
with the Montreal Protocol.
This is due to the economic recession and political transition since 1989.
The Russian Federation and a few other countries admitted in 1996 that they
will be unable to follow the phase-out time-table for CFCs. They have,
however, promised to complete the phase-out by the year 2000, if sufficient
assistance is forthcoming. The Parties asked the GEF to provide this
assistance, and it has thus far allocated $148 million to these countries.
In addition, the World Bank's Special Initiative raised $19 million from
Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, UK and US
to close down the production of CFCs and Halons in the Russian Federation
by the year 2000.
Illegal trade has increased.
Although all new CFCs are now banned in industrialized countries, millions
of CFC-dependent refrigerators, automobile air conditioners, and other
equipment are still in service. Alternatives are available to service this
equipment, but they can be more expensive. Recycled CFCs may be used to
maintain existing equipment, but it is difficult to distinguish between new
and recycled CFCs. In addition, while most consumption is forbidden,
industrialized countries still produce some CFCs in order to meet their own
essential uses and to supply developing countries, as permitted by the
Protocol. In the US, CFCs are heavily taxed and the market price is high.
As a result, some traders illegally sell perhaps 20,000 tonnes of new CFCs
in the industrialized countries every year in the guise of recycled
substances or as exports to developing countries. Smugglers are subject to
imprisonment and heavy fines, and national licensing systems are being
established to better track imports and exports.
The potential for methyl bromide to be adopted in more applications and by
more countries is worrying.
Some countries imposed controls on this chemical because of its toxicity
even before the concern about its ozone depletion potential first arose.
However, since many countries have not yet ratified the 1992 Copenhagen
Amendment which introduced controls on methyl bromide, there is a risk that
consumption could spread to more countries and to more uses than at present.
Atmospheric concentrations of Halons continue to increase even though
production ended in 1994.
This is because Halons in existing fire-fighting equipment get emitted
whenever there is a fire. This is a concern because the bromine contained
in Halons is 50 times more efficient than the chlorine in CFCs in depleting
ozone. An expert panel is exploring the implications of de-commissioning
existing Halons systems and destroying the Halons they contain.
Meeting the phase-out schedules by the developing countries!
With the arrival of the freeze on CFC production and consumption for the
Article 5 Parties, the grace period granted to them by the Montreal
Protocol has now ended. The Article 5 Parties have entered the "compliance"
period in which they will have to achieve specific reductions in the
national production and consumption of CFCs.

Figure 7 - Measured Atmospheric Concentration of Halons at Cape Grim,
Tasmania.
Developing countries must implement their phase out of CFCs, Halons and
carbon tetrachloride according to the schedule. Asian countries, in
particular, have been increasing their consumption due to their high rates
of economic growth and must now stabilize this consumption and begin
reversing it. While consumption levels in the developed countries - which
had been much higher on both a per-capita and a national basis - have been
virtually phased out, the Montreal Protocol can only succeed if the
developing countries - with 80% of world population - phase out these
substances despite their growing economies. The Multilateral Fund will play
an essential role in ensuring that this happens.
A large number of used CFC-based refrigerators are being exported to
developing countries by countries that have phased out CFCs. These sales
could make the future CFC phase out by developing countries more difficult
by stimulating a large demand for CFCs to maintain this equipment.
CFCs are being replaced by HFCs, which have a large global warming
potential. The Kyoto Protocol on climate change has included HFCs in the
basket of six gases whose emissions are to be reduced by the industrialised
countries. Are the two global protocols sending confusing signals? Does the
Kyoto Protocol hinder the implementation of the Montreal Protocol? The
Parties to the Montreal Protocol as well as the Parties to the Climate
Change Convention now have the reports of their scientific and technical
panels on how to minimise the emissions of HFCs. Implementation of the
panels' recommendations by governments is important.

Figure 8 - Worldwide Production of CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs
9. Lessons of the Montreal Protocol
The Montreal Protocol offers many lessons that could be applied to solving
other global environmental issues:
· Adhere to the "precautionary principle" because waiting for complete
scientific proof can delay action to the point where the damage will become
irreversible.
· Send consistent and credible signals to industry (e.g. by adopting
legally binding phase-out schedules) so that they have an incentive to
develop new and cost-effective alternative technologies.
· Ensure that improved scientific understanding can be incorporated quickly
into decisions about the provisions of a treaty.
· Promote universal participation by recognizing the "common but
differentiated responsibility" of developing and developed countries and
ensuring the necessary financial and technological support to developing
countries.
· Control measures should be based on an integrated assessment of science,
economics, and technology.
10. Note to Journalists
This backgrounder was updated on 5 October, 2001. Official documents and
other information is available via the Internet at
http://www.unep.org/ozone or at http://www.unep.ch/ozone. The Ozone
Secretariat is based in Nairobi. For interviews or additional information,
contact:
Ø Nick Nuttall in Nairobi at tel. (+254-2) 623084, fax. (+254-2) 623381,
e-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org; or
Ø Michael Williams in Geneva at tel. (+41-22) 917 8242, fax (+41-22) 797
3464,
e-mail: mwilliams@unep.ch; or
Ø Jim Sniffen in New York at (+1-212) 963 8098, fax (+1-212) 963 8193,
e-mail: sniffenj@un.org.

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2011 (29)
2010 (34)
2009 (54)
2008 (48)
2007 (31)
2006 (31)
2005 (38)
2004 (44)
2003 (85)
2002 (104)
2001 (114)
October (11)
August (2)
July (7)
June (11)
May (13)
April (7)
March (11)
2000 (71)
1999 (143)
1998 (119)
1997 (76)
1996 (7)
RSS