EU wins stronger global ozone layer action

Montreal protocol parties agree new controls on HCFCs, CFCs, methyl bromide

Parties to the UN Montreal protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer have agreed new controls on the ozone-depleting chemicals HCFCs, following a week of talks in Beijing that ended on Friday. The EU, which was the prime mover behind this and other initiatives at the conference, has claimed that the deal marks a "significant step forward" for protection of the ozone layer (ENDS Daily 30 November). Governments decided to ban trade in HCFCs with countries that have not yet signed the 1992 agreement to phase out their use. When in force, the Beijing amendment will also require industrialised countries to freeze HCFC production at 1989 levels in 2004 and developing countries to do so in 2016 on a baseline of 2015. Related decisions, all of them proposed by the EU, include a move to begin phasing out the right of developed countries to continue exporting CFCs - the original targets of the Montreal Protocol - to developing countries. Another element is a commitment to completely phase out production of bromochloromethane, a recently developed ozone-depleting chemical. Other decisions taken by parties include a move to speed up the process for including new substances under the protocol's controls in future and adjustments to production controls on the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide.

Follow Up:
UNEP ozone secretariat, tel: +254 2 62 38 50. References: The ozone secretariat web pages include extensive information on the Beijing meeting.

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