September 24, 2007

Montreal Protocol marks 20th anniversary with call to speed HCFC phase-out

MONTREAL, QUE-At an international meeting of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), hosted by Canada, federal Environment Minister John Baird challenged the international community to speed up the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). In celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Canada joined other countries in calling for more aggressive timelines to eliminate hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). Used in refrigeration, air conditioning and foam blowing, the compound is also a greenhouse gas. Baird said accelerating the phase-out would address both preservation of the earth's ozone layer and climate change. Currently under the Montreal Protocol, use of HCFCs is set to cease in developed countries in 2030 and in developing countries in 2040. The original Protocol was signed in 1987 by 24 countries, including Canada. It now includes more than 190 countries and has led to more than a 95% worldwide reduction in production and consumption of ODS. The Montreal meeting gathered representatives from signatory nations together to chart the future of the Protocol to ensure that the world remains on track to phase out the remaining uses of ODS. At the same meeting, UNEP presented the Canadian government an award in recognition of Canada's contribution to making the Montreal Protocol a success.

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