Nations seek closer ties between UN efforts to save ozone layer and fight climate change

24 November 2008

The United Nations should twin its efforts to combat ozone depletion and climate change to reap the greatest economic and environmental benefits, governments concluded at a recent global gathering.

The call for greater cooperation between UN treaties on ozone and global warming was issued last week at the end of a meeting in Doha, Qatar, of the 150 governments which are party to the Montreal Protocol and the Vienna Convention, both of which seek to protect the ozone layer.

Participants asked the Executive Secretary of the Montreal Protocol to pursue closer ties with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and explore how best to slash the release of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), one of the six greenhouse gases controlled under UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol.

They also suggested that phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) – which are highly damaging to the ozone layer – will be mutually beneficial in addressing both the ozone layer and climate change.

HCFCs were originally introduced to replace more ozone-damaging substances in products such as refrigerators and air-conditioners, but they themselves are now scheduled to be replaced by new chemicals which governments have said they hope are both ozone and climate-friendly.

“In a world of scarce financial resources, maximizing the impacts of the various multilateral environmental agreements is paramount,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

At the Doha gathering, attendees also discussed the best means to destroy harmful substances stored in old equipment, as well as funding to help developing countries to eliminate ozone-damaging chemicals.


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