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1987: Ozone agreement reached in Montreal

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 Twenty-four countries just made an unprecedented commitment to the environment by signing the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The countries have agreed to start phasing out ozone-harming chemicals.
Reached after a late-night breakthrough, this is the world's first cooperative attempt to control a global pollutant. Ozone-harming air conditioners and Styrofoam products will be on the hit list of everyday products to be banned for contributing to the hole in our protective layer

Though skeptics were quick to ask how tangible the results will be, environmentalists agree that it's an important step in the right direction. More countries are expected to sign the agreement and ratify the protocol.
As Canadian Environment Minister Tom McMillan puts it, "the Montreal Protocol improves the odds in the risky game the world has been playing with its own future."

• The ozone layer acts as a protective barrier against UV rays, which are damaging to humans, plants and animals. With the depletion of the ozone layer, more UV rays reach the earth's surface, causing higher instances of skin cancer in humans and hurting other life on the planet.
• The hole in the ozone layer, over Antarctica, has continued to increase in size, but not as rapidly as in the 80s, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

• In 1985, 49 countries met in Vienna to first discuss the protection of the ozone layer
• With the signing of the Montreal Protocol, two years later, 24 of these countries agreed to reduce the production and consumption of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by 50 per cent by 1999.
• The Protocol came into force on January 1st, 1989, when 29 countries and the European Economic Community (EEC), representing approximately 82 per cent of world consumption, had ratified it.

• Canada banned or agreed to phase out CFCs, HCFCs, halons, bromochloromethane, and other discovered ozone depleting substances when they ratified the Montreal Protocol, in 1988, and the four amendments that followed (1990, 1994, 1998, 2001).
• The phase-out process is slow. After production and importation stops it takes years until existing products die out. There may still be many air conditioners and refrigerators that contain CFCs, even though production has long been banned.

• While the reduction in CFC production does help its recovery, scientists believe greenhouse gas emissions are working against these efforts, accelerating the growth of the hole.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Sept. 16, 1987
Guest(s): Vic Burton, Tom McMillan
Host: Knowlton Nash
Reporter: Eve Savory
Duration: 2:18

Last updated: February 6, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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