Stronger global ozone layer protection urged

EU proposes new controls on CFCs, HCFCs, methyl bromide, at start of international talks in Beijing

The EU yesterday proposed new international controls on ozone-depleting substances as government representatives began five days of talks on protecting the ozone layer in Beijing. Made to the 11th meeting of parties to the Montreal protocol on the protection of the ozone layer, the suggestions include new limits on CFCs, HCFCs and on the pesticide methyl bromide. Current rules allowing industrialised countries to export up to 15% of their 1986 production of CFCs to developing countries to meet their "basic" needs. This could undermine the latter group's efforts to phase out CFCs, the EU said, and a gradual phase-out in industrialised country production was needed. On the CFC substitute substances, HCFCs, the EU called for tighter limits on consumption, a ban on trade in HCFCs with non-Montreal protocol parties and new controls on production in industrialised countries, starting with a freeze in the next few years followed by phase-out by 2025. The EU also called for changes to the protocol so that new types of ozone-depleting chemicals could be controlled without having to go through the long process of ratification by parties. One chemical, bromochloromethane, should be controlled under the protocol immediately, the representative added. Finally, the EU called for new controls on the use of methyl bromide for quarantine and pre-shipment of agricultural produce, which it warned amounted to 22% of all methyl bromide use, but fell outside the scope of the protocol. The talks continue until Friday.

Follow Up:
UNEP 11th Montreal protocol meeting page, including official background documents; Earth Negotiations Bulletin; daily internet coverage of the conference.

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