The science

Key documents on ozone-climate linkages

The importance of the Montreal Protocol in protecting climate by Guus J.M. Velders et al published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Velders’ Statement to US Congress

IPCC/TEAP, Special Report: Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System, 2005:
Technical Summary
Summary for Policymakers
Full Report

Changes in HCFC Consumption and Emissions from U.S. Proposed Adjustment, US EPA, 2007

Emissions Reduction Benefits of Earlier HCFC Phase-out, UNEP/TEAP Report, 2007

Implications to the Montreal Protocol of the Inclusion of HFCs and PFCs in the Kyoto Protocol, TEAP, 1999

Key climate documents

IPCC 4TH Assessment Report, Working Group 1, “The Physical Science Basis

IPCC 4TH Assessment Report, Working Group 2, “Impacts Adaptation and Vulnerability

IPCC 4TH Assessment Report, Working Group 3, “Mitigation of Climate Change

The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change

Key ozone documents

UNEP, Open Ended Working Group, Synthesis Report, 2007

Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion, WMO/UNEP Report, 2006

UNEP, Technology and Economic Assessment Panel Report, 1998

Take action

What better way to celebrate the Montreal Protocol’s 20th anniversary than to build on the treaty’s successes, and make a major contribution to protecting the Earth’s climate and ozone layer? Concerted leadership by leaders in all sectors – including government, non-governmental organizations, business and the media – is now required to convert this opportunity into a reality. Contact us to find out how you can help.

The latest scientific and economic analysis demonstrates that an accelerated HCFC phase-out can yield cost-effective, lasting climate and ozone benefits.

Climate change poses a major threat

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that:

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level (IPCC 4th Assessment Report)

The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change states that climate change threatens major disruption and costs:

Climate change will affect the basic elements of life for people around the world – access to water, food production, health, and the environment. Hundreds of millions of people could suffer hunger, water shortages and coastal flooding as the world warms.

Using the results from formal economic models, the Review estimates that if we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP or more.

In contrast, the costs of action – reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – can be limited to around 1% of global GDP each year. (Stern Review, Summary of Conclusions)

An HCFC phase-out offers major climate benefits

According to a UNEP Scientific Assessment, HCFCs “continue to increase in the atmosphere.” Phasing out HCFCs offers major opportunity to reduce greenhouse emissions rapidly and cost-effectively. The four independent calculations of potential climate benefits of an accelerated HCFC phase-out range from 17.5 to 25.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2-eq.) reductions between 2010 and 2050:

  • The Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) calculates a potential climate benefit of greater than 18 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2-eq.) between now and 2050 for an accelerated phase-out of HCFCs, including 3.5 GtCO2-eq. of avoided HFC-23 by-product emissions.
  • The Government of Brazil calculates a potential climate benefit of 22 GtCO2-eq. between 2010 and 2040, without including the additional 3.5 GtCO2-eq. of avoided HFC-23 by-product emissions, which would bring their total up to 25.5 GtCO2-eq.
  • Dr. Guus Velders and colleagues calculate a potential climate benefit of 17.5 GtCO2-eq. between 2010 and 2050, including 3.5 GtCO2-eq. of avoided HFC-23 by-product emissions in their US National Science Academy Proceedings publication.
  • The U.S. EPA’s consultant calculates a potential climate benefit of 17.5 GtCO2-eq. between 2010 and 2030, which does not include the 0.18 GtCO2-eq. it estimates for avoided HFC-23 by-product emissions.  Calculations performed by an EC consultant mirror these numbers.

The benefits are significant compared with the Kyoto Protocol

Action under the Montreal Protocol can compliment efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses under the Kyoto Protocol or any successor agreement. Emission reductions from a phase-out of HCFCs under the Montreal Protocol of between 17.5 and 25. GtCO2-eq. (between 2010 and 2050) are significant when compared with the Kyoto Protocol’s mandated reduction of 5 gigatonnes in its first commitment period (2008-2012). 

Buying “climate insurance” and avoiding a climate “tipping point”

Leading scientists are warning that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are fast approaching the “tipping point” for abrupt and irreversible climate change—a tipping point that could be just 10 years away if emissions are not reduced (more:  Abrupt changes to the climate could trigger rapid rises in sea level, more powerful storms, droughts, and floods, and decreased agriculture production and freshwater supply. Eliminating HCFCs can help buy much needed time to reduce other greenhouse gas emissions even further.  Acting now on HCFCs to secure these benefits is thus a major priority for leading governments and other actors around the world.