International Agreement Likely to Phase-out Ozone-Destroying Chemicals

Washington, D.C. (September 21, 2007) – Environmental and government officials from developed and developing countries worked together this week in Montreal to agree to a legally binding schedule for a quicker phase-out of ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), 20 years after the signing of the landmark Montreal Protocol.
“This week’s deal will sharply cut global emissions, especially by reducing large HCFC increases expected in the next decade from China and India. The Bush administration deserves credit for working with other countries to push for faster cuts in HCFCs. The quicker phase-out will help heal the ozone layer and reduce skin cancer. Reducing HCFCs also helps cut global warming pollution,” said David Doniger, policy director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). 
Looking ahead to the meeting of the world’s largest global warming polluters in Washington next week, Doniger added, “We could not have protected the ozone layer with voluntary pledges and non-binding goals. That won’t work for global warming either.” 
“The Montreal ozone treaty is a model for progress on global warming,” said Doniger. “It shows that a binding treaty – with industrial countries taking the lead and with real pollution limits for both developed and developing nations – can successfully cut global pollution and trigger a clean technology revolution.” 
The United States will receive permission to keep making and using methyl bromide, a cancer-causing and ozone-destroying pesticide, in 2009 – four years after a complete ban was supposed to take effect. The United States is the only country that still uses massive amounts of methyl bromide – responsible for more than 80 percent of world exemptions. “At this rate, the United States will keep asking for exemptions for another five to ten years.”
“This is the black mark on U.S. leadership in protecting the ozone layer,” Doniger said. “In every other developed country, farmers have drastically cut or eliminated their use of methyl bromide by adopting safer alternatives. But here, a handful of chemical producers and suppliers are making millions of dollars peddling this cancer-causing and ozone-destroying chemical to America’s fruit and vegetable growers.” 
Doniger’s latest blog entry on the Montreal Protocol can be found at: