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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 #d93dec137

Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer held their fifth annual meeting in Bangkok in November. Although no amendments were made to the protocol itself, several countries made side agreements. About 20 countries (excluding the U.S.) agreed to phase out the use of HCFCs by the year 2015, faster than currently required. The move reflects growing support to limit dependence on HCFCs recently introduced as substitutes for CFCs. HCFCs are not completely ozone-safe and have always been viewed as interim substitutes.

Over a dozen countries (including the U.S.) also signed an agreement to reduce consumption of methyl bromide, a widely used fumigant and pesticide, by at least 25 percent by the year 2000. So far the protocol only requires a production freeze at 1991 levels beginning in 1995; no phaseout date has been decided.

Prompted in part by reports that consumption of ozone-depleting substances from developing countries is still increasing, delegates approved a $500 million budget in 1994-1996 for the multilateral fund, through which industrialized countries will assist developing countries to adopt ozone-safe technology. This roughly doubles the amount provided in the first three-year interval of the fund (1991-1993).

For accounts of the meeting see Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 881 and 885-886, Dec. 1 1993; New Scientist, p. 10, Nov. 27 1993; Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 3-4, Dec. 10 1993.

A lengthy feature article in Chem. Eng. News (pp. 12-18, Nov. 15, 1993) discusses how the manufacturers and users of ozone-depleting substances are making the transition to the first generation substitutes, while work is underway on a second generation of compounds and technologies. It also describes a campaign by the environmental group Greenpeace to introduce promising refrigeration technology it claims is being ignored by the U.S. EPA and industry.

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