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Montréal Protocol

Montréal Protocol


Following the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole in late 1985, various governments recognized the need for stronger measures to reduce the production and consumption of a number of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). CFCs, which are human-made chemicals widely used in manufacturing, have been found to deplete the ozone layer that shields the surface of Earth from harmful forms of solar radiation. During the mid-1980s negotiations began on the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layera framework treaty focused on cooperation in research, information exchange, and scientific assessment of the atmospheric ozone (O3) problemgovernment representatives discussed drafting a protocol controlling the use of CFCs, human-made chemicals widely used in manufacturing that deplete the ozone layer. However, no consensus could be reached. The Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) established a working group to begin drafting such a protocol. The final agreement, which was concluded on September 16, 1987, reflects the contentious nature of the negotiations. For example, by Article V, developing countries with low consumption rates (e.g., Brazil, India, and Vietnam) that feared the protocol would hinder their economic development are allowed a ten-year delay in required compliance with targets and timetables for reducing ozone emissions.

However, countries have generally been aggressive and effective in implementing the protocol. By the time it came into effect on January 1, 1989, countries were already contemplating the protocol's modification and strengthening. Amendments and adjustments were agreed to in London (1990), Copenhagen (1992), Vienna (1995), Montréal (1997), and Beijing (1999). These modifications shortened the timetables for phasing out consumption of listed chemicals, added and funded the Montréal Protocol Fund, established the Implementation Committee, developed noncompliance procedures, and expanded the Technology and Economic Assessment Panels. These panels have addressed new issues as they have arisen, such as recycling and international smuggling of CFCs.

see also CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons); Ozone; Treaties and Conferences.

Bibliography

Benedick, Richard Elliott. (1998). Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Weiss, Edith Brown. (2000). "The Five International Treaties: A Living History." In Engaging Countries: Strengthening Compliance with International Environmental Accords, edited by Edith Brown Weiss and Harold K. Jacobson. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.


internet resource

Ozone Secretariat of the United Nations Environment Programme. "The Montréal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer." Available from http://www.unep.ch/ozone.

Michael G. Schechter

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Montreal Protocol

Montreal Protocol, officially the Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, treaty signed on Sept. 16, 1987, at Montreal by 25 nations; 168 nations are now parties to the accord. The protocol set limits on the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, and related substances that release chlorine or bromine to the ozone layer of the atmosphere. On the basis of increasing scientific knowledge about the effects of CFCs and halons on the ozone layer, the original protocol has been amended several times. At meetings in London (1990), Copenhagen (1992), Vienna (1995), and Montreal (1997) amendments were adopted that were designed to speed up the phasing out of ozone-depleting substances; not all parties to the main protocol are parties to these amendments. The production and consumption of halons was phased out by Jan. 1, 1994, and of CFCs, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, and hydrobromofluorocarbons by Jan. 1, 1996, subject to an exception for agreed essential users. Methyl bromide was to be phased out by 2005 but a number of users of the chemical have won temporary exceptions from the ban, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons are to be phased out by 2020. (Phaseout dates are later for developing countries.)

Under the protocol, the ozone-depleting potential, or ODP, of any substance is measured with respect to an equal mass of CCl3F, or CFC-11, which is assigned a value of 1.0. Most other CFCs have ODPs that range from about 0.5 to about 1.3. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons, which are being used as transitional replacements (until 2020) for CFCs in refrigeration, have ODPs that are generally less than 0.5. Hydrofluorocarbons, which are also replacing CFCs as refrigerants, have ODPs of zero. Ozone-depleting potentials are based on existing scientific knowledge and are to be reviewed and revised periodically.

See D. E. Newton, The Ozone Dilemma(1995).

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