February 28, 2007
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Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 10, NUMBER 10, OCTOBER 1997
Ninth Conference of Parties, held Sep 9-17, 1997, in Montreal, fell on the
tenth anniversary of the ozone protection agreement. Speakers at the
meeting called the Protocol a "qualified success," and delegates
agreed to set new limits on methyl bromide and to take steps to control
the growing black market in ozone-depleting substances.
Methyl bromide: Industrial countries will accelerate their phaseout of
methyl bromide to 2005. Although the U.S. and Canada had pushed for 2001,
opposition came from southern European nations. (See New Scientist,
p. 12, Sep. 20, 1997.) Developing countries for the first time agreed to a
20 percent reduction by 2002 and a total phaseout by 2015, and will
receive funding to help meet these deadlines. Prior to the meeting, some
of the scientists on a technical advisory committee accused U.N.
bureaucrats of altering their report to create an overly optimistic
outlook for finding substitutes for methyl bromide, suggesting that
pressure form the U.S. for an early phaseout was involved. The controversy
is discussed in New Scientist (p. 4, Aug. 30); a rebuttal from the
Ozone Secretariat appears on p. 52 of the Sep. 27 issue.
CFC smuggling is a growing problem. (See Nature, p. 219, Sep.
18; New Scientist, pp. 16-17, Aug. 30; REPORTS/MONTREAL PROTOCOL,
this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Oct. 1997.) To help
counteract it, delegates established a licensing system that would allow
customs and police officials to track trade in CFCs and detect unlicensed
trade. In addition, industrial countries are to voluntarily ban the sale
of stockpiles of virgin CFCs for most uses, because much of the black
market trade involves virgin CFCs being sold as recycled material.
HCFCs: The European Union tried to accelerate the phaseout of HCFCs, but
opposition from countries including the U.S. and Australia resulted in no
action. Shortly before the meeting, news broke of an outbreak of liver
disease at a Belgian smelter that resulted from exposure to a mixture of
HCFCs leaking from an air conditioning unit. This report stunned
government and industry officials, but does not jibe with experience in
the U.S., according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (See Chem.
Eng. News, p. 8, Aug. 25, 1997; Chem. & Industry, p. 670,
Sep. 1; Intl. Environ. Rptr., p. 835, Sep. 3.) The original report
appeared in The Lancet, a medical journal (pp. 556-559, Aug. 23,
Concerning the success of the Protocol to date, see REPORTS/MONTREAL
PROTOCOL (this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Oct. 1997); and
Chem. Eng. News (p. 9, Sep. 22). The Sep. 3 issue of Intl.
Environ. Rptr. has a lengthy analysis by its staff writers (pp.
840-852), and an essay by K.M. Sarma, head of UNEP's ozone secretariat
The next scientific assessment of ozone depletion should be completed in
1998; the next Conference of Parties is in 1999. For general accounts of
the latest meeting or background information see Nature (p. 319,
Sep. 25, 1997); Intl. Environ. Rptr. (pp. 903-905, Oct. 1; pp.
861-862, Sep. 17); and Global Environ. Change Rep. (pp. 1-3, Sep.
26; pp. 1-3, Sep. 12). For further information contact the Ozone
Secretariat, UNEP, POB 30552, Nairobi, Kenya (tel: 254 2 623 885; fax: 254
2 521 930; e-mail: email@example.com; WWW:
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