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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

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

FROM VOLUME 3, NUMBER 9, SEPTEMBER 1990

NEWS...
PROTOCOL REVISION AND HCFCs


Item #d90sep88

Modifications to the Montreal Protocol were developed at a London meeting in late June. (See Global Climate Change Digest, NEWS, Aug. 1990.) The following articles discuss their implications.

"CFCs: The Case for Alternatives," B. Joyner, Chem. & Industry, p. 468, July 16, 1990. An industrial manager reflects on the protocol meeting, noting that while proposed substitutes are not entirely benign, they are the best industry has to offer at this time.

"Warming to Global Agreement," P. Aldous, Nature, p. 6, July 5, 1990. Summarizes the meeting agreements and presents two analyses of their effects. The U.K. Department of the Environment projects chlorine loading in the troposphere by the year 2050 to be 2.9 parts per billion by volume, half that predicted for the original protocol. An analysis carried out for Nature by scientists at the University of East Anglia estimates that the amended protocol will reduce the global mean temperature increase between today and 2100 by only about 0.3 degrees Centigrade.

"Carbon Dioxide Will Be Harder," J. Maddox, ibid., p. 11. An editorial arguing that the protocol review should have emphasized verification and compliance, as they will be even more important for any general climate agreement.

"Ozone Depletion Accord: Plan Will Aid Developing Nations," D. O'Sullivan, Chem. Eng. News, pp. 6-7, July 9, 1990; "Ozone-Safe Technology Fund Likely Vital to Montreal Treaty Compliance," P.S. Zurer, ibid., pp. 19-20, Aug. 6. As a result of the London meeting, an International Multilateral Fund is being set up to help developing countries adopt technologies less damaging to the ozone layer. The fund should reach $240 million after India and China join the protocol as expected, and is being viewed (except by the U.S. Administration) as a precedent for future environmental aid projects. The second article describes several case studies, carried out by Egypt, Mexico and Brazil with assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on the amount of financial aid needed.

"Fate of CFC Alternatives Remains up in the Air," P. Zurer, ibid., pp. 5-6, July 16, 1990. Discusses testimony before the U.S. Congress by federal agencies and Friends of the Earth concerning HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), which are under development as temporary alternatives to CFCs but have significant ozone-depletion potential. The London meeting failed to adopt mandatory limits on HCFCs. Du Pont, the largest U.S. manufacturer of CFCs, in June suspended plans to significantly expand HCFC production capacity, pending resolution of ozone depletion provisions of the U.S. Clean Air Act (see below).

"Cheaper Alternatives for CFCs," D. MacKenzie, New Scientist, pp. 39-40, June 30, 1990. Discusses in detail the problem of determining the cost of helping the Third World introduce ozone-safe technologies, which depends largely on alternative approaches to refrigeration. The costs may not be as large as some are claiming.

"CFC Replacements: The Race Is On," Chem. in Britain, May 1990. The compounds to replace CFCs have been determined; chemical industries now race to find the cheapest way to make them.

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