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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 #d96jan87

New restrictions on ozone depleting chemicals emerged from the Seventh Conference of the Parties to the protocol held in Vienna in early December. For the first time, developing countries agreed to restrict the use of methyl bromide and HCFCs.

Developed countries will phase out production of methyl bromide by the year 2010, while production in developing countries will be frozen in 2002 at a quantity based on average production from 1995 to 1998. These restrictions will be reviewed in 1997, based on a report from the Technology and Economics Advisory Panel (TEAP). The U.S. had favored a 2001 phaseout, consistent with its Clean Air Act, and was criticized by environmental groups for not pushing harder (Science News, p. 405, Dec. 16).

Developing countries agreed to freeze HCFCs in 2016 at the levels they are use in 2015, then ban them by 2040. This provision will also be reviewed by the TEAP by the year 2000.

A number of delegates were concerned that the provisions for developing countries will encourage greater production of methyl bromide and HCFCs in the near future. Moreover, several developing countries, including India and China, made their adherence contingent on additional funding from developed countries. The next conference of the parties, to be held in Costa Rica, will consider replenishing the Multilateral Fund in 1996, but some developed countries (including the U.S.) are already behind on their current commitments. A focus article in New Scientist (pp. 14-15, Dec. 16, 1995) analyzes the crucial importance of funding to the future involvement of developing countries in ozone protection, going so far as to question the very success of the Montreal Protocol because of this problem.

Other matters discussed in Vienna include the impending failure of Russia and some other Eastern European countries to meet the 1996 CFC phaseout deadline, and how to treat "process agents," ozone-depleting substances used in chemical production that are not entirely transformed to safer compounds.

For reports on the conference see (all 1995) Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 935-936, Dec. 13; New Scientist, p. 7 and p. 3 (editorial), Dec. 16; Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 3-4, Dec. 22.

The following were written before the conference, but discuss in detail the issues at stake: Chem. Eng. News, pp. 26-27, Dec. 4 (particularly process agents); Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 903-904, Nov. 29 (a Greenpeace report); ibid., pp. 820-821 (process agents); Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-3, Dec. 8 (emphasizes Russian CFC phaseout).

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