The Montreal Protocol has resulted in a 99% phase-out of CFCs, harmful ozone-depleting substances.
The 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Protocol could contribute to avoiding 0.5ºC of global warming through reducing HFCs that are powerful GHGs.
UN Environment has launched ‘Ozone Heroes’ campaign to inspire a new generation of actors and increase public awareness of the success of the Protocol.
16 September 2017: Three decades after its conception, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer celebrated its 30th anniversary, on 16 September 2017. Calling it a “milestone for all people and our planet,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the positive impacts of the Protocol on human health, poverty eradication, climate change and protecting the food chain.
Originally conceived in response to growing concerns of harmful ultraviolet rays penetrating through a thinning ozone layer, the Montreal Protocol is often viewed as one of the most successful international environmental treaties and an example of multilateralism at its most productive.
Achieving universal ratification, the Protocol has been extremely successful in this original aim of cutting the production and use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances, with nearly 99% of ozone-depleting substances phased-out to date. Studies forecast that the ozone layer will return to similar levels to those found in the 1980s, prior to significant depletion, by the mid-century. As a result, it is expected that an estimated two million cases of skin cancer per year will be avoided by 2030.
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol establishes three different timetables for all developed and developing countries to freeze and then reduce their production and use of HFCs, with the first cuts expected from developed countries by 2019.
The Montreal Protocol has also evolved over time to adjust to a changing environment. As a result of CFCs phase-out, recent years have seen a growth of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in air conditioning and refrigeration systems. While HFCs do not deplete the ozone layer, they are powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to climate change. Following seven years of negotiations, Parties to the Montreal Protocol came together, on 15 October 2016, in Kigali, Rwanda, to agree a new amendment to the Protocol to reduce these “super GHGs” by more than 80% in the next 30 years. Known as the Kigali Amendment, the new agreement establishes three different timetables for all developed and developing countries to freeze and then reduce their production and use of HFCs, with the first cuts expected from developed countries by 2019.
If fully implemented, some studies estimate that the Kigali Amendment can prevent emissions of 80 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2eq) by 2050, equating to a reduction in global warming of up to 0.5ºC by the end of the century compared to business as usual.
To mark the anniversary, UN Environment (UNEP) has launched its ‘Ozone Heroes’ campaign, which aims to increase public awareness of the importance of the Protocol and foster greater support for the aims of the Kigali Amendment to phase down HFCs. [UNEP Stories] [UN Press Release] [UNEP Press Release] [WMO Press Release]