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Montreal Protocol operations carbon neutral for third year running

Courtesy US National Parks

The Ozone Secretariat, which manages the international agreement that is healing the planet’s ozone layer and contributing to the fight against climate change, has made its operations carbon neutral for the third year in a row.

The Secretariat measured the carbon footprint of all meetings held and operations conducted under the Montreal Protocol in 2016 and offset the greenhouse gas emissions created.

“By reducing and offsetting our own emissions, we are showing our commitment to a better future for our planet and we practice what we preach,” said Tina Birmpili, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat.

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which will enter into force on 1 January 2019, targets a reduction in the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These chemical compounds became widely used substitutes for ozone-depleting substances phased out under the Montreal Protocol, but are climate-warming gases.

The Ozone Secretariat worked with UN Climate Change – the secretariat that runs the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), under which the Paris Agreement sits – to determine its carbon footprint and purchase Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from the Adaptation Fund.

The Adaptation Fund finances projects to help developing countries adapt to the negative effects of climate change. CERs, which are issued by the Clean Development Mechanism, provide funding to projects that have proven climate mitigation benefits and back sustainable development in developing countries.

UN Climate Change issued a certificate confirming the voluntary cancellation of 2,215 Adaptation Fund CERs to compensate for unavoidable emissions from the offices and travel operations of the Ozone Secretariat in 2016. Cancelling CERs puts them out of circulation and prevents re-use.

As well as its normal travel and operations, the certificates compensate for all travel emissions related to the thirty-ninth Open-ended Working Group of the parties to the Montreal Protocol, the joint Eleventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention and the Twenty-Ninth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, and all meetings of the Assessment Panels of the Montreal Protocol.

The Secretariat used a web-based carbon calculator created by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to calculate its emissions.

Offsets Certificate Ozone Secertariat 2016

 

European Commission funds Ozone Secretariat activities related to HFCs

European Commission funds Ozone Secretariat activities related to HFCs

Ozone Secretariat Executive Secretary Tina Birmpili (right) and the EU's Head of Delegation Philip Owen sign the agreement. Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth

The funding will allow:

  • The preparation of briefing papers to enable Parties to hold informed discussions on any decisions they make on HFCs. 
  • Developing country (Article 5) Parties' participation in Montreal Protocol meetings. 
  • 2017 communication campaign to raise awareness on HFC issues as well as for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol.

From the start, the European Union has promoted an HFC amendment of the Montreal Protocol. With this funding the European Commission continues its support towards efforts to phase down HFCs, which will contribute to mitigating climate change.

Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat, Tina Birmpili, stated that "this contribution to the Secretariat facilitates important work on HFCs. It also demonstrates a sincere commitment by the European Commission to ensure a transparent and inclusive process."

2017 Ozone Awards: Call for Entries

2017 Ozone Awards: Call for Entries

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Montreal Protocol, the Ozone Secretariat, in cooperation with the Government of Canada, will host the Ozone Awards at the Twenty-Ninth Meeting of the Parties, to be held in Montreal, Canada, from 20 to 24 November 2017. 

The Ozone Awards will recognize the achievements of individuals, groups, and organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary commitment and contribution to the progress and achievements of the Montreal Protocol in the past 10 years. These individuals, groups and organizations also exemplify the power of cooperation on large and small scales to accomplish goals and produce tangible change. 

The Ozone Secretariat is calling for nominations for the Ozone Awards from individuals, governments and implementing partners including the United Nations and international bodies, non-governmental organizations and industry and their associations.

The Ozone Awards were introduced in 1995 on the occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Awards were also given out in 1997 on the occasion of the Tenth Anniversary celebrations of the signing of the Montreal Protocol, in 2005 on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and on the occasion of the Joint 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention and the 17th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol.

TIME Magazine Names Montreal Protocol Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Guus Velders Among Most Influential People of 2017

TIME Magazine Names

Washington DC– TIME Magazine has named Dutch scientist Dr. Guus Velders one of the 100 most influential people for 2017 for research that helped smooth the way to amend the 1987 Montreal Protocol to strengthen its role fighting global warming by eliminating warming from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), one of the most potent of the six main greenhouse gases, over the next several decades. (Leonardo DiCaprio wrote TIME’s entry on Velders.)

Working with a small, international group of scientists, Velders calculated that up to 0.5° Celsius of warming could be avoided by reducing HFCs, powerful short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) used primarily as refrigerants for air conditioners and other cooling equipment. This and similar analysis provided the scientific foundation for the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol agreed on 15 October 2016 in Rwanda to phase out HFCs with high global warming potential.

Read the full article at IGSD

The Climate’s Low-Hanging Fruit

The Climate’s Low-Hanging Fruit

Next month, signatories to the 1989 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will convene in Kigali, Rwanda, to consider an amendment to the treaty that would gradually reduce, and eventually eliminate, the use of hydrofluorocarbons. HFCs, which are one of the six main greenhouse gases, are commonly used in air conditioners and refrigeration systems worldwide.

The amendment would be a boon for sustainable development, and could prevent the release of as much as 100-200 billion tons of climate-changing emissions by 2050. That would be enough to take the world a quarter of the way toward achieving the 2º Celsius global-warming target set by the December 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The Montreal Protocol was established to repair the ozone layer, which protects all life on the planet from deadly levels of ultraviolet rays. So far, it has been a remarkable success, with nearly 100 ozone-destroying chemicals phased out over the past three decades. The ozone layer is healing and, according to the latest estimates, it could recover by 2065, saving trillions of dollars in global health-care and agriculture costs.

Read the full article at Project Syndicate

NASA provides first direct evidence of ozone hole recovery

news_NASA-provides-first-direct-evidence-of-ozone-hole-recovery

Satellite observations have, for the first time, provided direct evidence that international efforts under the Montreal Protocol to end the use of ozone-depleting substances are healing the ozone layer and so protecting human health, economies and the environment.

NASA measured levels of stratospheric chlorine to determine whether the international ban on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the main culprit for the hole in the barrier that protects our planet from harmful ultraviolet radiation, had borne fruit.

“We see very clearly that chlorine primarily from CFCs is going down in the ozone hole, and that less ozone depletion is occurring because of it,” said lead author of the research, Susan Strahan, an atmospheric scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

CFCs are long-lived chemical compounds – once widely used in aerosols, refrigeration systems and many other items. Their use was essentially punching a hole in the ozone layer, allowing in ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts, suppress immune systems and damage plant life.

In 1987, nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to slash the production and use of CFCs, and other ozone-depleting substances. Over three decades, the universally-agreed treaty has essentially eliminated CFC emissions.

The measurements, published in Geophysical Research Letters, showed that the related fall in stratospheric chlorine levels has resulted in about 20 per cent less ozone depletion during the Antarctic winter than in 2005 – when NASA’s Aura satellite first took measurements of chlorine and ozone during the Antarctic winter.

Past studies relied on statistical analyses of the ozone hole’s size to track progress. This study is the first to measure the chlorine chemical composition inside the ozone hole to confirm ozone depletion is decreasing as a direct result of the decline in CFCs.

The research found that the ozone hole should continue to recover gradually as atmospheric levels of CFCs continue to decline - as expected if there is full compliance with the Protocol.

“CFCs have lifetimes from 50 to 100 years, so they linger in the atmosphere for a very long time,” said Anne Douglass, a fellow atmospheric scientist at Goddard and the study’s co-author. “As far as the ozone hole being gone, we’re looking at 2060 to 2080.”

As a result of the ozone layer recovery, up to 2 million cases of skin cancer may be prevented each year by 2030.

In addition to protecting the ozone layer, the Montreal Protocol has made a significant contribution to tackling climate change because CFCs are also powerful greenhouse gases.

Moreover, the Protocol’s Kigali Amendment, which will enter into force on 1 January 2019, targets a reduction in the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which became widely used substitutes for ozone-depleting substances. HFCs are climate-warming gases with significant global-warming potential.

Phasing down HFCs under the Protocol can avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming by the end of the century.

Scientific Assessment Panel of Montreal Protocol Gets New Co-Chairs

Scientific Assessment Panel of Montreal Protocol Gets New Co-Chairs

Parties to the Montreal Protocol have selected David Fahey of the United States and Bonfils Safari of Rwanda to serve as co-chairs of the Protocol’s Scientific Assessment Panel (SAP).

Fahey and Safari were endorsed to serve on the panel by the parties during their 27th Meeting of the Parties (MOP27) held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 1 to 5 November. They will co-chair the SAP with two other internationally renowned atmospheric scientists – Paul Newman and John Pyle.

Fahey is the director of the Chemical Sciences Division of the Earth System Research Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). An internationally recognized scientist with 35 years of experience at the NOAA lab, he has contributed significantly to research related to climate, the stratosphere, and atmospheric composition, as well as to international assessment activities on those topics. He pioneered the Twenty Questions and Answers About the Ozone Layer booklet, which addresses some of the most commonly asked questions about the often-complex science of ozone depletion in an easy-to-understand way. He holds a PhD degree in physics from the University of Missouri, Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) in the United States.

Safari is a professor and the head of the Physics Department in the College of Science and Technology, University of Rwanda. He has taught physics at the university for over 20 years and significantly contributed to research on atmospheric dynamics, solar radiation, climate variability and renewable energy over the years. He serves as an expert in the Inter-Institutional Committee on Climate Change and Climate Science Research and participates in various international forums on climate. He holds a PhD degree in physics from the Catholic University of Louvain-La-Neuve in Belgium.

Fahey and Safari succeed A.R. Ravishankara of the United States and Ayite-Lo Ajavon of Togo, who have retired from the panel after many years of exemplary service. At MOP27, parties honoured Ajavon and Ravishankara for their dedication, commitment, performance and invaluable contributions towards the protection of the ozone layer as SAP co-chairs.

The SAP assesses the status of the depletion and the recovery of the ozone layer and relevant atmospheric science issues. The SAP’s next quadrennial assessment expected in 2018 will review estimates of the levels of ozone layer depletion attributed to the remaining potential emissions of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) and assess the level of global emissions of ODSs below which the depletion of the ozone layer could be comparable to various factors, such as the natural variability of global ozone, its secular trend over a decadal timescale and the 1980 benchmark level, as requested by the parties at MOP27.

The three Assessment Panels of the Montreal Protocol – the SAP, the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel and the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel – comprise a large number of researchers, leading scientists and experts worldwide. They assess and provide up-to-date, independent and authoritative information that enables the parties to make informed decisions for the protection of the ozone layer.

Carbon footprint of Montreal Protocol meetings and operations in 2015 offset

Carbon footprint

The Ozone Secretariat continues to work towards climate neutrality and has, for the second year running, measured the carbon footprint of all meetings held and operations conducted under the Montreal Protocol in 2015 and offset the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions created.

The Secretariat has purchased an equivalent of 1,772 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the GHG emissions associated with travels to the meetings and related operations in 2015, determined in accordance with the principles of the UN Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

The Secretariat worked in collaboration with the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat to determine the carbon footprint and purchase Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from the Adaptation Fund, which finances projects and programmes to help developing countries adapt to the negative effects of climate change.

UNFCCC issued a certificate confirming the voluntary cancellation of 1,772 Adaptation Fund CERs from the Clean Development Mechanism for the purpose of compensating the unavoidable GHG emissions from the facility and travel operations of the Ozone Secretariat in 2015, while supporting mitigation and adaptation projects.

Most of the offset travel emissions were from meeting participants – Secretariat-funded and self-paying. The Secretariat offset the entire flight footprint to make the meetings climate-neutral. Secretariat staff travel accounted for about 5 per cent of total air travel emissions.

“The Montreal Protocol has significantly contributed to the mitigation of climate change by averting the emission of more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere. Offsetting the carbon footprint of our meetings and operations complements this important contribution to the global fight against climate change,” said Tina Birmpili, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat.

The offset carbon footprint included emissions created by travels associated with meetings of the Open-Ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, all meetings of the Assessment Panels of the Protocol and the Secretariat’s facility and travel operations in 2015.

The emissions were measured using a web-based carbon calculator created by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).