The latest 'Still Only One Earth' policy brief reviews the steps taken to heal the ozone layer through two intergovernmental agreements - the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer - and what else must be done.
It also highlights lessons for addressing climate change.
The policy briefs are being published by IISD in the lead-up to Stockholm+50.
The latest ‘Still Only One Earth’ policy brief from IISD looks back at when “the world was struck with fear” in 1985 after scientists discovered a massive hole in the ozone that forms a protective layer over the Earth. The brief reviews the steps taken to heal the ozone layer through two intergovernmental agreements – the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer – and what else must be done. It also highlights lessons for addressing climate change.
Author Kate Helfenstein reports that the adoption of the Convention and Protocol helped to avoid two million cases of skin cancer per year, and delayed the increase in climate forcing—the change in globally averaged temperature changes due to natural or human-induced activities—by 7-12 years.
the Montreal Protocol shows what is possible when science, diplomacy, and business cooperate to implement international environmental agreements.
The brief explains that the Montreal Protocol shows what is possible when science, diplomacy, and business cooperate to implement international environmental agreements. It makes the story of the ozone layer “one of multilateralism’s great successes.” The Montreal Protocol is crafted so that as scientific evidence shows a need for further action, adjustments and amendments can be made. The most recent of these science-based updates is the Kigali Amendment, which addresses hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). As a result of this Amendment, the world can avoid 0.4°C of global warming by 2100.
The Protocol also established a Multilateral Fund to help provide financial resources ensuring that all countries are able to comply with their obligations to protect the ozone layer. Parties also set differentiated phase-out and phase-down schedules. With these two features the Protocol addresses the differentiated circumstances of all Parties.
The private sector has also been key to ensuring success, particularly the early commitment of DuPont, the leading CFC manufacturer at the time, to completely phase-out of CFCs. More recently, in the run-up to the adoption of the Kigali Amendment, Coca-Cola announced its goal to ensure new coolers and vending machines would be HFC-free by 2015.
Helfenstein writes that the Montreal Protocol provides the hope that other urgent environmental issues can be resolved swiftly and amicably, particularly if all stakeholders work together. In the words of David Doniger, Natural Resources Defense Council, “We saved the ozone layer. We can save the climate.”
The ‘Still Only One Earth’ series is being published by IISD in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm+50). The briefs assess successes and shortcomings of five decades of global environmental policy. [Still Only One Earth policy brief series] [Publication: Healing the Ozone Layer Through Diplomacy]