Upgrading Ozone Layer Treaty to Assist in Combating Climate Change Key Issue at International Meeting in Egypt
21st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Nairobi/Port Ghalib, 2 November 2009 - Accelerating the contribution of a treaty to protect the ozone layer towards meeting the climate change challenge will take place at the 21st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in the Red Sea resort of Port Ghalib, Egypt, from 4-8 November.
Representatives from over 190 countries attending the international conference will assess whether a group of synthetic gases known as hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) might be better controlled under the Montreal Protocol rather than the Kyoto Protocol, the climate change treaty.
The Montreal Protocol is the treaty established to phase-out chemicals that damage the stratospheric ozone layer, the protective shield that filters out harmful levels of the sun's ultra violet rays.
Scientists estimate that if HFCs become the replacement chemicals of choice for another group of ozone-depleting substances, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), in refrigeration, mobile air conditioning units and foams over the coming decades, their contribution to global warming could rise sharply. Indeed, under one scenario, HFCs could by 2050 be contributing the equivalent of 45 percent of C02 emissions.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said: "The Montreal Protocol is without doubt one of the most successful multilateral environmental agreements. That success is underlined by the fact that for the first time in history, all countries in the world will be represented in Egypt as a result of the Montreal Protocol achieving universal ratification in 2009."
"This universal support reflects not only the Montreal Protocol's success in phasing out over 97 percent of the controlled substances that damage the ozone layer, but an understanding that this phase-out has also contributed in sparing the planet a significant level of global warming," he added.