February 28, 2007
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Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 6, NUMBER 1, JANUARY 1993
PROTOCOL on ozone protection, last modified by the 1990
London amendments, was formally strengthened by over 80
participating nations at a November meeting in Copenhagen.
Termination of production of CFCs and carbon tetrachloride has
been moved up four years to Jan. 1, 1996, that of halons advanced
six years to 1994, and that of methyl chloroform moved to 1996.
Two issues debated at the last working group meeting (GCCD,
p. 155, Sep.) were addressed. Production of HCFCs, the interim
CFC substitutes coming into use, will be limited to 800,000 tons
per year, to be gradually phased out over the period 2004 to
2020. There was less agreement on the future use of methyl
bromide, a widely used pesticide. The U.S. pushed for an outright
ban by the year 2000, but was opposed by the European Community
and developing countries. Instead, a production freeze at 1991
levels will begin in 1995, by which time a scientific assessment
of the need for further restrictions is to be finished.
A permanent Multilateral Fund was established to continue the
assistance to developing countries already underway through an
interim fund. Contribution commitments were increased to
$340-$500 million for 1994-1995, even though a large fraction of
the 1991-92 commitments have not yet been paid. (See New
Scientist, p. 8, Nov. 21 1992, and comments by U.S. EPA
Administrator William Reilly in the first citation below.) As in
previous meetings, controversy again erupted over a proposal by
some industrial countries including the U.K. to merge this fund
with the Global Environment Facility run by the World Bank. The
move was successfully blocked by several other industrial
countries including the U.S. and developing countries.
According to the following accounts, representatives of
industry were pleased with the HCFC agreement, while it did not
go far enough for many environmentalists. Environmentalists were
also disappointed by the weak agreement on bromide, as was
executive director of UNEP, Mostafa Tolba, and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency.
Lengthy analyses appear in Intl. Environ. Rptr. (pp.
769-772, Dec. 2) and Global Environ. Change Rep. (pp. 1-3,
Dec. 4). Shorter accounts are in Chem. Eng. News (p. 5,
Dec. 7), Science News (p. 415, Dec. 12), and New
Scientist (p. 10, Dec. 5). Methyl bromide is the focus of an
article in ibid. (p. 5, Nov. 28) as well a report released
before the meeting by U.S. environmental groups.
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