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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d90aug58

Meeting in London in late June 1990, parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to phase out CFCs by the year 2000, added new restrictions on carbon tetrachloride and methyl chloroform, and worked out a plan for financial and technical assistance to developing countries. Carbon tetrachloride production will be phased out by 2000, and methyl chloroform by 2005. Halons, used in fire extinguishers, will be phased out by 2000 with exceptions for use in aircraft and staffed computer rooms. Delegates agreed that HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), CFC substitutes less harmful to the ozone layer, should be covered in a separate agreement, although the conference statement suggests their elimination in the period 2020 to 2040.

Agreement on assistance to developing nations cleared the way for delegates from China and India to recommend that their respective countries join the protocol, an outcome considered essential for effective control of ozone depletion. The United States will contribute 25 percent of the fund, which will provide $240 million over the first three years. The fund, to be controlled by a 14-member committee representing contributing and developing nations, will be administered through the World Bank.

Greenpeace and several other environmental groups maintain that an even stronger protocol is needed, in part to insure the rapid phase-out of HCFC substitutes. The European Community and several other countries favored CFC elimination by 1997, but the United States, Japan and the USSR pushed successfully for 2000. At the conference, a report by Ivar Isaksen of Norway's Institute of Geophysics presented evidence of a 10-percent reduction in lower stratospheric ozone since 1967 over the middle latitudes of Europe and North America. Another meeting to review the protocol is scheduled for 1992. For more details see Intl. Environ. Rptr. (pp. 275-276, June 1990), New Scientist (p. 21, July 7), and:

"Nations Approach Unity on Measure to Protect Ozone," R. Milne, New Scientist, p. 33, June 30.

"Who Holds the Purse Strings," Nature, p. 757, June 28. Discusses the wrangles over funding and other issues prior to the meeting.

"Scientists Report Faster Ozone Loss," P. Shabecoff, New York Times, p. 13, June 24.

"Playing Roulette with the Atmosphere," J. Leggett, New Scientist, p. 16, July 7. A comment by the Greenpeace Director of Science on the eagerness of CFC producers like ICI to seek praise for substitutes that are less damaging to the ozone layer but will contribute to global warming.

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