Ozone Blog

A blog written by Rajendra Shende, Former Head of the OzonAction Branch, in his personal capacity. This blog does not reflect the policy or position of UNEP or the DTIE OzonAction Branch.
Author: ozonAction Created: 1/3/2011
Ozone Blog
By ozonAction on 6/27/2011

Aboard a flight from Seychelles to Dubai, I looked down as the plane was descending. The hills of Seychelles’ thick, tall and diverse trees had been replaced by the expanse of the desert. In just four hours of time, I felt that I was celebrating both the green festival of the forest, followed by the deadly dance of the desert!


But both places had one thing in common that was lacking. They badly needed air conditioning for human beings as part of their modern life. Those who do not have air conditioning eagerly aspired for one. In Seychelles, where I was just 24 hours back, it is humid even at the highest point, i.e. 905 meters above the sea level. In Dubai, where I am now, the desert is hot and dry even near the sea.   

By ozonAction on 6/1/2011
Success can create dangerous traps for near term failure - an overly pessimistic or even slightly sadistic view? Well, I would venture that the success to date of the Montreal Protocol may be leading into such a trap.

When I cracked what many consider to be the world’s toughest competitive entrance examination to enter the Indian Institute of Technology, I lost a sense of urgency. During the graduation course that followed I basked in the past glory of my success in the competitive examination and entered a passive state that lacked the element of urgency and  “making it happen’.

The Montreal Protocol community (also fondly called the ‘Ozone Community’) is almost addicted to euphoric statements that the Montreal Protocol is the most successful multilateral environmental agreement in the history. They are right.  The United Nations General Assembly, United Nations Secretary Generals, reports...
By ozonAction on 3/29/2011
I was talking with the vice principal of the school, Mr Sambhu Bastola, who has taught  in Khumjung Secondary School for about 18 years, around the same time I have been working in UNEP on the Montreal Protocol. From the place where we were chatting, I could see a panorama of the Himalayas, part of Sagarmatha National Park in the district of Solukhumbu bordering Nepal and China. We could see Mount Everest standing majestically in front of us with its brother Lhotse.
By ozonAction on 2/18/2011
The unparalleled success of the Montreal Protocol shows that action on climate change is within our grasp” That’s the title of one of the sections in 2010 report of the Millennium Development Goals ( MDG) of the United Nations released in mid 2010. I consider that it is a powerful statement with a high-voltage message which was sent through the network and transmission lines of scores of policy makers from Governments and Industry. It also comes at the time when Climate Change negotiators are waking up from the hibernation after having run yet another marathon, this time on the beach of Cancun.

By ozonAction on 9/16/2010
The more I reflect on the 23 impressive years of the Montreal Protocol, the more I realize what far-reaching lessons it holds for the global environment agreements of today. The crises facing us at the end of the first decade of the 21st century require action on an even greater scale than the world's commendable response to the ozone-depletion emergency. The Montreal Protocol transformed a potential catastrophe into a golden economic opportunity. Having listened to the sound and fury of the international climate talks, the ozone messages are worth noting. The intense reverberations: The Montreal Protocol is not simply a multilateral global accord designed to get rid of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). To define it like that would be to describe the telescope simply as a tube with a lens on each end. As Nobel Laureate, Mario Molina has said, "The Montreal Protocol is widely considered the most successful environmental treaty, phasing out almost 100 ozone-depleting chemicals by 97 per cent and placing the ozone layer on the path to recovery by mid-century. It also is the most successful climate treaty to date, because chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and most other ozone depleting substances (ODS) that it has phased out are powerful GHGs." ...
By ozonAction on 7/1/2010
There are many reasons why UN workshops do not start on time. In Seoul, Republic of Korea, the workshop organized for accelerated phase-out of HCFC started late, because that day was "Children's day" and it was raining. But then quickly the house was full with participants. In the opening statement to the full house I said: "The late starting of this workshop, has not affected the attendance. With the full attendance, Korea has demonstrated short-term and long-term commitment to the environment. Short term, because Koreans want to assign dedicated priority to the 'domestic environment' by taking their responsibility as parents and make their children happy by engaging themselves at home. And long term because, they are committed to saving the planet so that their children and children's children will be safe by repairing the ozone hole, and hence they did not want to miss this workshop...
By ozonAction on 6/29/2010
When the plane prepares to leave the arena of the blue sky and approaches the tiny lagoons and atolls of the Maldives emerge from nowhere in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean, the stark vulnerable beauty of the Earth becomes nakedly evident. The island city Male from the height looks quite similar to the barricaded and fortified village of ancient Gaul, made famous in the comic book-series called Asterix. The only difference is that the unnamed village was surrounded by the forest and Male is surrounded by the vastness of ocean. The city is so crowded that only open and green spaces that one can see from the plane are of a football pitch and national stadium. The people of Male zealously guard their land, just like the Gaulois of the first century BC.There,...
By ozonAction on 4/17/2010
"It is a city of blue, red and green. Above you have deep blue sky, around you there are omnipresent red burnt brick houses and at distance on the horizon you see green forest", explained the Minister of Environment of Colombia while describing Bogota. I was there in April 2010 for the regional workshop which was opened by the Minister. Mr Carlos Costa Posada is an unusual Minister of Environment in more than one sense. Firstly, he came 45 minutes before the scheduled time! This is because he was keenly interested in discussing with me on the 'Climate benefit of Ozone Layer protection activities'. Secondly, he gave an extempore address although he had prepared a speech. Thirdly, he was the Minister with engineering background topped by education in UK. He sent a message to me through his office early in the morning at 7 am suggesting a time for a bilateral meeting. That itself was very...
By ozonAction on 4/1/2010
In the evening of 14th April 2010, I felt as if coming out of clouds and finally getting clear vision. The meeting of the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund for the protection of the Ozone Layer that I was attending in Montreal, had just approved the guidelines for financing the projects for HCFC phase out in the developing countries. I considered that as major step forward to open the door to pluck low hanging fruits for the climate benefit. Clearly that presented the unparallel possibility of mitigating nearly 40 Giga T of CO2 equivalent globally. Compare that with the mitigation of just 1.5 Giga t of CO2 equivalent due to all the CDM projects approved till now. Great work indeed. Then same evening, a bit later, I read on the internet the word which was spelled as Eyjafjallajokull , and pronounced , later I was told, as "AY-yah-fyah-lah-YOH-kuul." It sounded like a word that...
By ozonAction on 3/26/2010
'Diplomats & Businessmen' that is the signboard at Jeddah Airport in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia directing the arriving Diplomats and Businessmen through a special and privileged lane for passport control and immigration clearance. I had seen such special lanes only for the diplomats in a number of countries. However I had never seen a single special lane for both diplomats and businessmen. Jeddah must be the only airport in the world that equals diplomats with businessmen, when it comes to passport control. After all, why not? Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of United Nations in 1999 at the World Economic Forum said: "..... I told you about hopes for creative partnership between the United Nations and the private sector. …..that the everyday work of the United Nations -- whether in peacekeeping, setting technical standards, protecting intellectual property or providing much-needed...
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