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Adjustments to the Montreal Protocol Would Speed Elimination of Ozone-depleting Substances

March 16, 2007 NOAA— On March 14, 2007, the United States submitted a proposal to adjust the Montreal Protocol to accelerate the phase-out of ozone-damaging chemicals. The U.S. proposal includes four elements that can be considered individually or as a package:

1. Accelerating the phase-out date of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 10 years; 2. Adding interim reduction steps; 3. Setting an earlier baseline; 4. Phasing out the most damaging HCFCs to the ozone layer as the first priority.

These proposals further U.S. efforts to address ozone layer protection, cleaner air and climate change by calling on the global community to act more quickly in phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons.

Today, More Than 190 Countries Participate In The Montreal Protocol To Phase Out Ozone-Depleting Substances. With leadership from the United States, the Montreal Protocol was ratified in 1987 by 27 nations. Twenty years later, we have the opportunity to assess the progress that has been made under the Protocol as well as what remains to be done. Under The Montreal Protocol's First Stage, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) Were Phased Out In Developed Countries By 1996 And Replaced By Less Harmful HCFCs. We are now entering the Montreal Protocol's second stage, which aims to phase out HCFCs by 2030 for developed countries and 2040 for developing countries. The Proposal Would Speed Up The Phase-Out Of HCFCs Under The Montreal Protocol's Second Stage. While the Montreal Protocol already has made tremendous strides to heal the ozone shield, the United States believes more steps can be taken to reduce HCFC consumption further and achieve a total phaseout sooner than the scheduled dates. Based on analysis, experience and more rapid technology development, the U.S. technical team believes we can move faster by as much as ten years. The U.S. Continues Its Strong Leadership In Ozone Layer Protection. Since the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987, the U.S. has achieved a 90 percent reduction in the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances—ending the production and import of more than 1.7 billion pounds per year of these chemicals. Faster healing of the ozone layer will help prevent human health damages caused by excess UV radiation, including skin cancer.

U.S. Actions Under The Current Montreal Protocol And Clean Air Act Requirements Have Also Helped Protect Against Climate Change. Ozone-depleting substances—particularly chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)—are damaging to the Earth's climate system. In 2005, the U.S. reduced annual emissions of ozone-depleting substances by 1,500 million CO2-equivalent metric tons per year. U.S. actions achieved a cumulative emissions reduction of about 13,000 million CO2-equivalent metric tons from 1987-2005 (not accounting for some offset from the influence of ozone depletion on the climate).

Worldwide, the Montreal Protocol has cut in half the amount of global warming caused by ozone-destroying chemicals that would have occurred by 2010 had these chemicals not been controlled.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.