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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 #d92jun101

Prompted by further evidence of widespread ozone depletion gathered over the past year, a working group of parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed in April to advance the phase-out of CFCs world-wide to January 1, 1996. The decision will be reviewed at another working group meeting in July before being presented in November to a ministerial meeting of parties to the protocol. Prior to the agreement, the U.S., Canada, the European Community and Japan had all announced intentions to meet this date. Environmental organizations criticized the agreement because it does not cover all ozone depleting chemicals; allows certain exemptions for essential uses and for servicing existing equipment; does not encourage alternative technologies; and provides insufficient funds for developing countries to make the required transition. (See Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 219-220, Apr. 22, 1992.)

HCFC-22 (or R-22) is one of the chemicals not covered under the proposed agreement, although many think it should be. Faster elimination of this CFC substitute, now widely used in refrigeration equipment, and of other substitutes was discussed by the working group, although no binding agreement on them was sought. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing the current phase-out date of 2020 mandated in the Clean Air Act, and may move it up in rules to be proposed by this summer (ibid., p. 196, Apr. 8). A feature report on HCFC-22 appears in Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-3, Apr. 24.

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