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Montreal Protocol closes annual meeting with new mandates

City of Quito

Quito, 12 November 2018 – Delegates representing nearly 150 parties to the Montreal Protocol concluded their 30th Meeting of the Parties here with the unanimous adoption of a sweeping decision intended to strengthen enforcement mechanisms of this accord in response to an unexpected rise in global emissions of the banned chemical trichlorofluoromethane or CFC-11. The decision:

Ordered a conclusive scientific investigation from two assessment panels of the Protocol with the mandate to provide:

  • Additional information regarding atmospheric monitoring and modelling, including underlying assumptions, with respect to such emissions
  • Information on potential sources of emissions of CFC-11 and related controlled substances from potential production and uses, as well as from banks, that may have resulted in emissions of CFC-11 in unexpected quantities in the relevant regions

Mandated all the 197 parties to the Protocol to provide the latest information on CFC-11 emissions and potential sources, including:

  • Regional atmospheric measurements as feasible and available
  • Cooperation with the investigating panels as reasonable and as requested by the panels
  • Participation from relevant scientific and atmospheric organizations and institutions to further study and elaborate the current findings related to CFC-11

Mandated a global review of enforcement measures under the Protocol beginning with:

  • A review of measures taken at the national level to ensure phase-out of CFC-11 is effectively sustained and enforced in accordance with obligations under the Protocol;
  • A requirement to inform the Ozone Secretariat about any potential deviations from compliance that could contribute to the unexpected increase in CFC-11 emissions.

The decision calls on the panels to provide a preliminary summary report to the Open-ended Working Group at its forty-first meeting to be held in Bangkok in July 2019, and further updates at subsequent meetings. A workshop to further examine the CFC-11 emissions is scheduled for March 2019. 

The agreement is the result of careful negotiations among parties to the Montreal Protocol who met here in Quito, Ecuador, from 5 to 9 November for deliberations on a range of ozone and climate related issues.

Delegates also negotiated practical arrangements for the implementation of the Kigali Amendment, approving technologies for the destruction of substances controlled under the Protocol and adopting new data reporting requirements.

The Kigali Amendment is set to enter into force on 1 January 2019 and is expected to avoid 0.5°C of global warming by the end of the century by requiring countries to cut projected production and consumption of climate change-inducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in refrigerators, air conditioners and related products by more than 80 percent over the next 30 years. It has so far been ratified by 60 parties.

Additionally, in a bid to increase access to efficient technologies in order to maximize the climate benefits of the Kigali Amendment, the delegates asked the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol to consider how financial support for enabling activities might be granted to developing countries.

Addressing the representatives ahead of final deliberations, Tina Birmpili, Executive Secretary of UN Environment’s Ozone Secretariat, spurred delegates towards ratification of a decisive course.

“The expected benefits of the Kigali Amendment, and the gains already achieved under the Montreal Protocol, show how powerful we can be when we work together,” said Birmpili. “But there is no room for complacency. Safeguarding our hard-fought gains means tackling illegal use of ozone depleting substances whenever and wherever we find it. More importantly, it means stopping such actions from ever happening again by strengthening enforcement at the global level.”

Hosted by the Government of Ecuador, the parties gathered here also reviewed the latest Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion which revealed a healing ozone layer, global warming reduction potential, and options for more ambitious climate action.

At the opening of the high-level segment of the meeting, President Lenín Moreno of Ecuador underscored the importance of seeking inclusive sustainable development to “protect the house in which our children and grandchildren must live.”

He urged all countries to swiftly ratify the Kigali Amendment and called for continued financial assistance to support developing countries in implementing the Montreal Protocol and its amendments.

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the Montreal Protocol
The Montreal Protocol is a global agreement to protect the Earth’s ozone layer by phasing out the chemicals that deplete it. The landmark agreement entered into force in 1989 and it is one of the most successful global environmental agreements. Thanks to the collaborative effort of nations around the world, the ozone layer is on its way to recovery and many environmental and economic benefits have been achieved.

About UN Environment:
UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.

For media inquiries, please contact: 
Keith Weller, Head of News and Media, UN Environment.

Assessment reveals healing ozone, untapped potential for climate action

Assessment reveals healing ozone

Update, 1 Februrary 2019 - The full report of the 2018 Quadrennial Assessment of Ozone Depletion has been released and is available here.

Quito, 5 November 2018 –The latest Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion reveals a healing ozone layer, global warming reduction potential, and options for more ambitious climate action.

The quadrennial review from the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol will be presented here at the 30th Meeting of the Parties to this historic accord. Its findings confirm first and foremost that actions taken under the Montreal Protocol have led to long-term decreases in the atmospheric abundance of controlled ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) and the ongoing recovery of stratospheric ozone.        

Evidence presented by the authors shows that the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3% per decade since 2000. At projected rates, Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is scheduled to heal completely by the 2030s followed by the Southern Hemisphere in the 2050s and polar regions by 2060.  The ozone layer protects life on Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet rays from the sun.

It is further evidence of the inspiring success of this environmental treaty now entering its fourth decade. The report also offers a view of the role the Protocol must have in decades to come.

“The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history for a reason,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. “The careful mix of authoritative science and collaborative action that has defined the Protocol for more than 30 years and was set to heal our ozone layer is precisely why the Kigali Amendment holds such promise for climate action in future.”

Set to enter in to force on 1 January 2019, the Kigali Amendment calls for slashing the future use of powerful climate-warming gases in refrigerators, air conditioners and related products. Nations that ratify the Kigali Amendment are committing to cutting the projected production and consumption of these gases, known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), by more than 80 percent. So far, 58 parties have done so.

Authors of the Assessment found the world can avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming this century through implementation of the Kigali Amendment, affirming its critical role in keeping global temperature rise below the 2°C mark.

“These new assessment results highlight the importance of continued long-term monitoring of HFCs in the atmosphere as the Kigali Amendment begins to take hold,” said David Fahey, Co-Chair of the Montreal Protocol Scientific Assessment Panel and scientist at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory in the US.

Full compliance would reduce future global warming due to HFCs by about 50% between now and 2050 compared to a scenario without any HFC controls.

The findings come at a time when the world is still grappling with a sobering message from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which found just 12 years remain to limit global warming to 1.5°C, beyond which, the impacts of a further rise in global temperatures will begin to have an increasingly extreme impact on human society and ecosystems. The IPCC report offered the clearest evidence to date of the drastic difference between the 1.5°C and 2°C scenarios.

“Carbon dioxide emissions remain by far the most important greenhouse gases which are driving global warming. But we can also help tackle climate change by reducing our commitment to other gases including HFCs. Every bit of warming matters,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

The Assessment, which is intended to add to the scientific basis for decisions made by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, also presents updated scenarios for hastening ozone recovery through:

  • Complete elimination of controlled and uncontrolled emissions of substances such as carbon tetrachloride and dichloromethane
  • Bank recapture and destruction of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
  • Elimination of HCFC and methyl bromide production
  • Mitigation of nitrous oxide emissions

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion

The 2018 Assessment is the latest in a series of assessments prepared by the world’s leading experts in the atmospheric sciences and under the auspices of the Montreal Protocol in coordination with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment). The 2018 Assessment is the ninth in the series of major assessments that have been prepared by the Scientific Assessment Panel as direct input to the Montreal Protocol process.

Download the full Assessment Report

Download the Executive Summary

About UN Environment:

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.

About World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

WMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) with 191 Member States and Territories. It is the UN system's authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the land and oceans, the weather and climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Shari Nijman, Communications Officer, UN Environment News and Media Unit, nijman@un.org   
Clare Nullis, Media Officer, World Meteorological Organization, cnullis@wmo.int

Increased research and observation crucial to efforts to continue to protect the ozone layer and climate

Photo credit: Angelina Fetisova

Top ozone experts from around the world highlighted the need for increased research and observations to inform policy on ozone and climate at a meeting sponsored by UN Environment and the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, 28 – 30 March.

The 10th Ozone Research Managers (ORM) meeting concluded that integrated earth science observation systems are essential to ensure that action to protect the ozone layer also benefits the climate, given the complex and evolving interaction between the ozone layer and the climate system.

This key ozone/climate coupling has been captured in the overarching finding of the Ozone Research Managers that states: Understanding the complex coupling of ozone, atmospheric chemistry, transport and climate changes remains a high priority and the need for further research and systematic monitoring in this area has been heightened since the past ORM recommendations.

Read the full press release at UN Environment

UN Environment Statement on CFC Emissions

swampy
  • Report by Nature finds that the rate of decline of trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) in atmosphere has slowed by approximately 50 per cent since 2012.
  • If emissions continue unabated, they have potential to slow down the recovery of the ozone layer.
  • The Montreal Protocol has reduced the abundance of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere and as a result, the ozone layer is healing.

16 May 2018 – New findings from a study released this week in Nature report that emissions of CFC-11, the second most abundant ozone-depleting gas controlled by the Montreal Protocol, have unexpectedly increased in recent years, despite a global ban on production since 2010.

These emissions partially offset gains made by the Montreal Protocol, by slowing the decline of ozone-depleting chlorine concentration in the atmosphere. The increased emissions may stem from new, unreported production of CFC-11.

In response, UN Environment issued the following statement:

While current scientific models show that the ozone layer remains on track to recovery by mid-century, continued increase in global CFC-11 emissions will put that progress at risk. The Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol, which includes the authors of the report, will finalize its quadrennial assessment by the end of the year and we expect these findings to be presented to the parties to the Montreal Protocol, who will carefully review and address them.

It is important to note that these findings also highlight the efficacy of the Montreal Protocol, its institutions and mechanisms, with science at their core. So long as scientists remain vigilant, new production or emission of ozone depleting chemicals will not go unnoticed.

 If these emissions continue unabated, they have the potential to slow down the recovery of the ozone layer, it is therefore, critical that we take stock of this science, identify the causes of these emissions and take necessary action.

NOTES TO EDITORS

About UN Environment Ozone Secretariat:

The Ozone Secretariat is the Secretariat for the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and for the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Based at the UN Environment offices in Nairobi, Kenya, the Secretariat functions in accordance with Article 7 of the Vienna Convention and Article 12 of the Montreal Protocol.

About UN Environment:

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organisations across the world.

For more information, please contact:

Keith Weller, Head of News and Media Unit, UN Environment, keith.weller[at]un.org  

Countries begin preparing for implementation of the Kigali Amendment

Photo credit: Khurshidakhon Shamsieva

At their 39th meeting in Bangkok from 11 to 14 July, the Open-Ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer commenced working on various elements for the implementation of the Kigali Amendment upon its entry into force.
 
They laid the foundation for addressing various issues related to the amendment, under which countries will gradually phase down the production and consumption of climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by the late 2040s, thus creating the potential to avoid up to 0.5°C of climate warming by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.  

In her opening statement to the meeting, Ozone Secretariat Executive Secretary Tina Birmpili said: “2017 marks 30 years of the Montreal Protocol’s life and 2016 saw the adoption of an important amendment together with its accompanying decision on solutions to challenges of HFC phase-down that will form a new narrative for international environmental governance for the years to come.”

Safety standards
The parties discussed safety standards relevant to the safe use of flammable low-global warming potential (GWP) alternatives to HFCs. A workshop on the issue was held prior to the meeting, on 10 July, to provide an overview of the relevant international safety standards and the process for developing and revising them.

The workshop attended by the parties, international standards organizations and various experts from refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pumps sectors discussed the background to safety standards in those sectors, flammability classification of refrigerants, and the guiding principle for safety standard revisions. 

The parties also discussed technical issues, the timing of making revisions to standards, current revision initiatives, technician training, the participation of developing countries in standards technical committees and stakeholder awareness. In addition, they discussed the increased risk of using flammable refrigerants in hot climatic conditions and other liability-related issues. 

Energy efficiency
The parties also deliberated on energy efficiency, as the phase-down of HFCs under the Kigali Amendment could present additional opportunities to catalyse and secure improvements in energy efficiency of appliances and equipment in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sectors. 

The parties agreed to further discuss energy efficiency during their 29th Meeting of the Parties (MOP29) in November in Montreal, including a possibility to hold a workshop in the future to deepen their understanding on the issue.

Replenishment of the Multilateral Fund
The parties also reviewed a report by the Protocol's Technology and Economic Assessment Panel on the level of funding that will be appropriate for the 2018–2020 replenishment of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol and provided the panel with guidance on additional issues to consider in its supplementary report that will be considered by the parties at MOP29.

The Multilateral Fund provides financial and technical support for developing countries to comply with their Montreal Protocol obligations. To date, the Fund has been replenished nine times, and the total contributions have reached over US$3.6 billion. The parties will decide the next replenishment of the Fund during MOP29 in Montreal.

Other issues
In addition, the parties discussed matters related to the ongoing phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons and requests for exemptions of small amounts of carbon tetrachloride and methyl bromide for specific uses, including for process agents, agricultural fumigation and laboratory uses. 

The parties will continue their discussions during MOP29 and take decisions on the above-mentioned issues.

NOTE TO EDITORS
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol was adopted in October 2016 to build on efforts to protect the ozone layer and mitigate climate change. The amendment will enter into force on 1 January 2019, provided that it is ratified by at least 20 parties to the Montreal Protocol. 

To date, four parties – Mali, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Rwanda – have ratified the amendment. In addition, a number of Montreal Protocol parties have started national preparations towards ratification of the amendment.

For more information, please contact:
Dan Teng’o, Ozone Secretariat, UN Environment, +254 709 023 532, dan.tengo@unep.org 

Ozone Treaty’s Role in Combating Climate Change Tops Environment Ministers Meeting in Canada

Photo credit: Allan Castaneda

Photo credit: Allan Castaneda

Two Decades of Success and Future Years of Achievement Take Centre Stage at 20th Anniversary Celebrations of Montreal Protocol

Nairobi/Montreal, 14 September 2007--An accelerated freeze and phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), chemicals that were used to replace more ozone- damaging substances known as CFCs, is to be considered by governments at an international meeting in Montreal, Canada.

New science and technical assessments indicate that speeding up a freeze and phase-out of HCFCs and their related by-products could not only assist in the recovery of the ozone layer.

An acceleration could also play an important role in addressing another key environmental challenge—namely climate change.

A record nine countries—developed and developing-- have submitted six different proposals which will be on the table when up to 191 parties or governments meet in the Canadian city between 17 and 21 September. The negotiations will occur during the 20th Anniversary celebration of the world’s ozone treaty, the Montreal Protocol.

The Protocol was negotiated in response to growing international concern over the emergence of a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica from the use of ozone-depleting chemicals in products from hair sprays to fire fighting equipment.

HCFCs, promoted over a decade ago as less damaging replacements for the older CFCs, have now become widespread in products such as refrigeration systems, air conditioning units and foams.

Under the Montreal Protocol, the United Nations ozone layer protection treaty which was adopted in 1987, use of HCFCs is set to cease in developed countries in 2030 and in developing ones in 2040.

However, scientists and many governments are now studying a range of options for a more rapid freeze on consumption and production of these replacements and the bringing forward of the final phase-out by around 10 years.

It follows research indicating that acceleration could, over the coming decades deliver cumulative emission reductions over the equivalent to perhaps 18 to 25 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (18 gigatones-25 gigatonnes) depending on the success of governments in encouraging new ozone and climate-friendly alternatives.

Annually, it could represent a cut equal to over 3.5 per cent of all the world’s current greenhouse emissions. 

In contrast the Kyoto Protocol, the main greenhouse gas emission reduction treaty, was agreed with the aim of reducing developed country emissions by just over five per cent by 2012.

The final benefits of an accelerated freeze and phase-out of HCFCs may prove to be even higher than the 18 to 25 billion metric tonnes, according to a just-released report from the Montreal Protocol’s Technology and Economic Assessment Panel that is designed to inform the negotiations at the international meeting in Canada.

Close to the equivalent of 38 billion tonnes (38 gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide if the acceleration is accompanied by the recovery and destruction of old equipment and insulating foam and improvements in energy efficiency, says the Panel.

For example a faster switch to alternatives to HCFCs may well stimulate technological innovation including a more rapid introduction of energy efficient equipment that in turn will assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions even further.

The ozone layer and human health too will benefit. Under some of the accelerated phase- out scenarios, ozone levels could return to healthy pre-1980 levels a few years earlier than current scientific predictions.

Benefits would include a reduction in skin cancer, cataracts, and harm to the human immune system alongside reduced damage to agricultural and natural ecosystems.

Achim Steiner, UN Undersecretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) which is responsible for the Montreal Protocol, said: “The Montreal Protocol is without doubt one of the most successful multilateral treaties ever and I look forward to celebrating, in mid-September, two decades of achievement in the Canadian city where it was born”.

“The phase out of CFCs has not only put the ozone layer on the road to recovery. New research, published in March this year by Dutch and American scientists, also shows that the CFC phase-out has assisted in combating climate change. But the treaty’s success story is far from over with new and wide ranging chapters still to be written. Indeed if governments adopt accelerated action on HCFCs, we can look forward to not only a faster recovery of the ozone layer, but a further important contribution to the climate change challenge,” he said.

Mr Steiner added: "In doing so the treaty will also underline the often overlooked fact that multilateral environment agreements like the Montreal Protocol and the Kyoto Protocol have far wider environmental, social and economic benefits than perhaps are fully recognized when they are initially agreed. In short, treaties working together can do far more, more rapidly and at a lower cost”.

The Honourable John Baird, Canada’s Environment Minister, said "The original Montreal Protocol stands as a model of the tremendous results that can be achieved when the international community works together to tackle environmental problems. As the proud host country of this meeting, Canada believes that more can be done, and so we support an accelerated phase out of HCFCs. We will work with the countries who have signed the

protocol to help make this happen, and we will be pushing the international community to build on the success story that began here 20 years ago."

The meeting comes in advance of a Heads of State event on climate change being hosted by the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon.

This event, scheduled to take place at UN Headquarters in New York on 24 September, is aimed at building consensus at the highest level on the need for climate action and a global emission reduction agreement to come into force when the Kyoto Protocol expires in five years time.

An accelerated freeze and phase out of HCFCs might offer governments ‘quick wins’ in addressing climate change and build confidence that a new international regime on greenhouse gas emissions can be agreed before the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, UNEP suggests.

Notes to Editors
Meeting of the Parties

The main meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substance that Deplete the Ozone Layer will run from 17 September to 21 September at the Palais de Congres de Montreal, 5th Floor, 159 Rue Saint-Antoine Ouest.

The programme and other related information including press and public information materials can be accessed at http://ozone.unep.org/Meeting_Documents/mop/19mop/19mop-info.shtml

A press conference is scheduled for 11.15 until 12.00 noon that day (timing and venue will be confirmed nearer the day).

A closing press conference is planned for 21 September. (time to be confirmed).

20th Anniversary Celebrations

UNEP and the Government of Canada are using the occasion to celebrate the treaty’s 20th anniversary which falls on 16 September—also the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer and the date when, in 1987, the treaty was adopted by governments.

A special seminar, covering the history and evolution of the Montreal Protocol, will take place on the day. The seminar will also host awards honouring key individuals from around the world whose commitment to the success of the Montreal Protocol will be recognized.

Prizes will also be given for Public Awareness, Best Poster, Best Paper and Best Article in respect to the ozone and the Montreal Protocol.

Meanwhile, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy will host another awards ceremony to present the 2007 Best-of-the- Best Stratospheric Ozone Protection Awards.

This will take place on the evening of 19 September at the Hotel Delta Centre-Ville, Montreal. www.epa.gov/ozone/awards/index.html

On 16 September, life-size Ozzy and Zoe Ozone mascots will be present at the Biosphere in Montreal, and afterwards at the Palais de Congres de Montreal. These two cartoon stars are the public face of UNEP’s global campaign under the Multilateral Fund to raise and sustain awareness about ozone layer depletion and the Montreal Protocol.

On the same day and at the same venue, UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics OzonAction Branch and Environment Canada will launch an Ozzy Ozone board game. This game in a form of “snakes and ladders” will be printed on large-size canvas at the Biosphere. As much informative as fun, this colorful board game introduces children to ozone depletion, safe sun practices and related issues through an engaging The game is downloadable from http://www.unep.fr/ozonaction/information/mmcfiles/4867-e- ozonegame.pdf

UNEP has a wide range of ozone publications that are available on-line, many of which will also be available in the press centre during the Montreal Protocol meeting.

These include an online video library at www.unep.fr/ozonaction/information/video/index.htm and Ozzy Ozone school site www.ozzyozone.org

A collection of Vital Ozone Graphics, produced by UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics and UNEP GRID-Arendal, is also being launched during the week. This booklet and the associated website is designed to inform and inspire journalists to tell the ozone story by providing overview of key issues and ready-to-use graphics that can be incorporated directly into articles (www. unep.fr/ozonaction).

Press and media are invited to attend the various seminars, award events and celebrations and the opening of the 19th Meeting of the Parties on the morning of 17 September.

A press conference is scheduled for lunch time on 17 September and experts will be available throughout the celebrations and the main meeting for interviews.

For More Information Please Contact Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson. Before the Montreal meeting Tel: +254 20 7623084, Mobile: +254 733 632755, E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org . In Montreal, please telephone Mobile: +41 79 596 5737, E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org or rochdale58@yahoo.com

Environment Canada Media Relations Tel: (819) 934-8008 or 1-888-908-8008

UNEP News Release 2007/27

New ‘Ozone Heroes’ campaign celebrates efforts to protect all life on Earth

Ironman

In honour of the 30th anniversary of the landmark Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Ozone Secretariat at UN Environment and the global community are launching a public engagement campaign to celebrate the international agreement’s success in protecting Earth against ozone depletion and mitigating climate change.

The Ozone Heroes campaign seeks to inspire the same collaborative energy that propelled the Montreal Protocol’s mission and led to its continued success in protecting all life on Earth.

The campaign created by the Ozone Secretariat in partnership with Marvel, the company behind some of the world’s most beloved superheroes, will commence on 15 September, on the eve of World Ozone Day in Montreal, Canada, where world leaders first gathered 30 years ago to take action to stop the thinning of the earth’s ozone layer. 

"Thirty years ago the world proved it can come together and tackle a global problem with global resolve. The result is that the shocking damage to the ozone layer was halted, and today there are signs it is recovering," said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.

"But this planet-saving work does not stop here, and now is not the time to rest on our laurels. The Montreal Protocol is as necessary today as it was in the 1980s, not just for the ozone layer but also as part of global efforts to halt climate change. Our continued success depends on the emergence of a new generation of heroes."

"The ozone story continues to inspire. It shows what can be achieved if we listen to the science, put aside our differences and act on behalf of our planet," said Tina Birmpili, head of the Ozone Secretariat. "Life on earth as we know it today is because 30 years ago, nations across the globe came together and showed that everything is possible. Our message today is that this must not just be a one-off."

Campaign launch event

The Ozone Secretariat /UN Environment and the Government of Canada will co-host the 30th anniversary celebration and Ozone Heroes campaign global launch event on 15 September at Montreal’s Centre for Sustainable Development from 1:30pm to 2:30pm EST. The celebration is open to the public and is free to attend. 

Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna and the European Union Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete will preside over the event to be attended by UN representatives, scientists, policymakers, environmentalists and special guests.

“The Montreal Protocol is a global success story of people coming together to overcome one of the greatest environmental threats in recent history. Now, 30 years later, we see the world coming together under the Paris Agreement, to take strong, decisive action on climate change. As we face the greatest threat of our generation, I am proud that Canada is once again taking a leadership role at home and abroad to address climate change and support clean economic growth,” said McKenna.

Commissioner Arias Cañete said: "The European Union continues to be a strong supporter of the Montreal Protocol which has effectively eliminated the use of ozone depleting chemicals in Europe. It has also mitigated many billions of tonnes of CO2 and last year's Kigali Amendment shows that the global community continues to work together to tackle climate change and implement the Paris Agreement."

Join the Ozone Heroes campaign

The Ozone Heroes  campaign comes at a time when international collaboration is required in order to address pressing global issues and hopes to illuminate the ways in which human partnership can solve these issues as it did for the depletion of the ozone layer.

The campaign journey follows the Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man as they discover humans are the heroes who solved the global crisis of ozone depletion. The campaign serves to emphasize that our human qualities are what equip us to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Everyone is invited to join the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol by participating in the campaign by visiting www.ozoneheroes.org where one can discover his or her own ozone superpower.

Montreal Protocol success

The Montreal Protocol has led to the phase-out of more than 99 per cent of nearly 100 ozone-depleting chemicals and significantly contributed to climate change mitigation. It has also garnered support from 197 parties, making it the first and only environmental treaty in the history of the United Nations to achieve universal ratification. As of today, the ozone layer is showing signs of healing and is set to recover by the middle of the century.

In addition, the Protocol has contributed significantly to the mitigation of climate change by averting more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (as some ozone-depleting substances are also powerful greenhouse gases) in the atmosphere from 1990 to 2010.

Building on this success, parties to the Protocol agreed last year under the Kigali Amendment to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a group of chemicals that do not deplete the ozone layer but are powerful greenhouse gases and, thus, catalysts of climate change. Phasing down HFCs under the Protocol is expected to avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.

Fulfilling the objectives of the Protocol called for unprecedented global collaboration and collective action.

Countries to Continue Efforts to Control Greenhouse Gases under the Montreal Protocol

Countries to Continue Efforts to Control Greenhouse Gases under the Montreal Protocol

Photo credit: Jovana Rankovic

Who: High-level participants from the 197 Parties to the Montreal Protocol

What: Meetings under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

The 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will meet in Vienna, Austria, from 15 to 23 July 2016 to continue working to an amendment to the Protocol in 2016 to phase down the production and consumption of global-warming-inducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), by first resolving challenges identified under the "Dubai Pathway on HFCs” adopted last year.

HFCs are used in air conditioning, refrigeration, foams and aerosols as replacement for many ozone depleting substances. An agreement to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol would avoid an estimated 105 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050, and up to 0.4°C of global warming by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.

Montreal Protocol parties will hold the Third Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties, to be specifically convened to address the HFC issue, on 22 and 23 July. The Extraordinary Meeting will include a ministerial roundtable discussion on the morning of Friday, 22 July. The discussion will focus on how Montreal Protocol parties can move forward in 2016 to deliver on the mandate of the “Dubai Pathway on HFCs”. The discussants will include ministers and high-level participants from Bahrain, Canada, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, United States of America, United Nations and others.

In addition, the parties will discuss issues related to alternatives to ozone-depleting substances, terms of reference for a study on the funding needed for the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol for the 2018 – 2020 period, among others, during the 38th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (18 – 21 July). They will also continue generating solutions to challenges identified under the “Dubai Pathway” and consider HFC management issues, including the four proposed amendments to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs, during the resumed 37th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (15 – 16 July). This year, Montreal Protocol parties have achieved the final phase-out of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) with the phase-out of CFCs used in metered-dose inhalers, a significant milestone following 30 years of concerted global action to protect the ozone layer.

Senior officials from the European Commission, Environment and Climate Change Canada, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other government representatives will be available for interviews. Journalists wishing to schedule interviews with them are requested to send their requests to: unepnewsdesk@unep.org, dan.tengo@unep.org and mark.grassi@unep.org. Those wishing to cover the meetings and are not accredited to the VIC should write to press@unvienna.org. Only plenary sessions of the meetings will be open to the media.

For more information, please contact: Dan Teng’o, Ozone Secretariat Communications Officer, at dan.tengo@unep.org, +43 699 14 597 026 and Mark Grassi, Information Assistant, UNEP Regional Office for Europe, at mark.grassi@unep.org, +41 788 750 086

Countries Set to Start Working on the Dubai Pathway to Reduce HFCs under the Montreal Protocol

Countries Set to Start Working on the Dubai Pathway to Reduce HFCs under the Montreal Protocol

Who: Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

What: The 37th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group

The 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will work to an amendment to the Protocol in 2016 to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by first resolving challenges, starting at their 37th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG37) in Geneva.

OEWG37 is the first of a series of Montreal Protocol meetings scheduled to take place this year in accordance with the decision on the “Dubai Pathway on HFCs” adopted at the Twenty-Seventh Meeting of the Parties last November.

As specified in the decision, the parties will first resolve challenges of managing HFCs under the Protocol by generating solutions, then continue deliberations on ways of managing HFCs, including discussing the four proposed amendments to the Protocol to phase down HFCs submitted by 41 parties. They will also consider an initial report by the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol on climate-friendly alternatives to ozone-depleting substances.

HFCs are chemicals used in air conditioning, refrigeration, foams and aerosols as replacements for many ozone-depleting substances that are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that contribute to the warming of the climate. HFC emissions are growing rapidly, at a rate of about 7% per year. If the current mix of HFCs is unchanged, increasing demand could result in HFC emissions of up to 8.8 gigatonnes carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2050. This could potentially offset the climate benefits achieved by the Montreal Protocol, which has averted greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

An amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs would avoid estimated emissions of up to 105 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050, and up to 0.4°C of global warming by the end of the century and continue protecting the ozone layer. It would also bring significant energy efficiency benefits that past phase-outs have always catalyzed when refrigerants were changed.

Journalists wishing to cover the meeting are requested to RSVP by sending their details to: unepnewsdesk@unep.org and dan.tengo@unep.org

For more information, please contact: Shereen Zorba, UNEP Head of News and Media at unepnewsdesk@unep.org, +254 788 526 000 or Dan Teng'o, Communications Officer, Ozone Secretariat, +254 709 023 532, dan.tengo@unep.org