Join us in an international campaign to protect the Earth’s climate and ozone layer using the world’s most effective environmental agreement, the Montreal Protocol. The benefits are potentially massive – if we act now!
The challenge of climate change
“Warming of the climate system is now unequivocal” according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate change, according to the UN Secretary General, has become “the defining issue of our era”.
Success of the Montreal Protocol
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is the world’s most effective multilateral environmental agreement, successfully phasing out 95% of production of ozone-depleting substances since its adoption 20 years ago in 1987, placing the ozone layer on a path to recovery later this century.
Climate Benefits of Ozone Protection
The Montreal Protocol’s phase-out of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) is reducing emissions by 135 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2-eq.) from 1990 to 2010 and delaying climate change by up to 12 years. Strengthening the Montreal Protocol will result in additional emissions reductions and further delay climate change.
The climate risks of HCFCs
Many ozone-depleting substances also are potent greenhouse gases, thousands and, in some cases, tens of thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide in warming the planet. HCFCs are a group of chemicals intended as temporary substitutes for the more damaging CFCs they replaced. But HCFC use is increasing rapidly and without immediate action will threaten the recovery of the ozone layer and undermine future efforts to mitigate climate change.
The benefits of an accelerated HCFCs phase-out
Accelerating the phase-out of HCFCs could reduce emissions by 17.5 to 25.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (GtCO2-eq.) by 2050, provided that additional measures are taken to ensure that HCFCs are replaced by substitutes and alternatives that have low Global Warming Potentials and used in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment with improved energy efficiency. This is one of the single largest opportunities to reduce emissions that can take effect almost immediately – and the first opportunity to do so through an international agreement with binding commitments for both developed and developing countries.
Building consensus in the Montreal Protocol
With leadership, we can realize these benefits. A record nine Parties proposed accelerating the HCFC phase-out in March of this year. The proposing Parties were: Argentina-Brazil, Micronesia, Mauritius, Mauritiania, Iceland-Norway-Switzerland, and the United States, indicating broad support among both developed and developing countries. The G8 expressed its support for the proposed adjustment in this year’s G8 Summit Declaration, commitng the G8 to accelerating the HCFC phase-out “in a way that supports energy efficiency and climate change objectives.
The proposals were discussed at the 27th Open-Ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, in Nairobi, in June 2007, where the Parties recognized a “clear need to accelerate the timetable for the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances, in particular HCFCs.”
The Parties will begin formal negotiations at the Meeting of the Parties, in Montreal, Canada, scheduled for 17-21 September 2007 and celebrating the Montreal Protocol’s 20th Anniversary.Substitutes to HCFCs exist for nearly all applications, and the Montreal Protocol has a history of promoting technological innovation. The cost of phasing out is affordable, especially considering the dual ozone and climate benefits, and the greater value of early action to mitigate climate change. And Parties to the Montreal Protocol have the power to agree the phase out. Exercising this power promises major benefits to the climate and ozone layer – and to people everywhere.