Connie Hedegaard on the Montreal Protocol
"The Montreal Protocol is an international climate action success story which has put the ozone layer on the road to recovery. However, some alternatives to ozone-depleting substances are themselves very powerful greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. International action is needed to limit these, as the EU has already done through specific legislation. The Montreal Protocol is the appropriate forum for international action, and will complement the efforts undertaken through the UN climate convention. The EU will continue to work towards this goal and to exploit synergies between the two treaties."
A new EU Regulation on substances that deplete the ozone layer, which implements the Montreal Protocol and in some aspects goes beyond it, was adopted exactly a year ago, on 16 September 2009. It will further contribute to securing the recovery of the ozone layer and also to combating climate change.
Industrial gases called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which are powerful greenhouse gases are used as alternatives to certain ozone-depleting substances. This creates the risk that the potential benefit to climate from the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances could be cancelled out or reversed. The EU therefore wants international action taken to control HFCs, which are covered by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The EU believes that, whilst HFCs should not be excluded from the scope of the UNFCCC, the Montreal Protocol, with its relevant expertise and infrastructure, is the appropriate forum for this international action.
The EU has addressed the threat from HFCs through domestic legislation on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases (the 'F-gas Regulation') which focuses on specific measures for individual end-uses and on containing emissions. The Commission is currently looking at options for improving the legislation based on experience to date.
For further information on the International day for the preservation of the ozone layer and on the Montreal Protocol (including a specific press package), see: http://ozone.unep.org/Events/ozone_day_2010/index.shtml
For further information on the EU's action on preserving the ozone layer, see http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ozone/index.htm