This year, 27 years after the Montreal Protocol for the protection of the ozone layer was adopted, scientists are seeing positive results. The ozone layer is recovering after decades of damage caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). UN scientists expect that by the middle of this century the ozone layer should return to its pre-industrial condition at the first half of the 19th century. Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks considers this a good example of a successful environmental policy resulting from international agreements under the United Nations. In 1994 the UN General Assembly proclaimed 16 September the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer commemorating the date of the signing,16 September 1987.
Minister Hendricks commented: "The Montreal Protocol proves that the international community is able to jointly take on the challenges of our globally changing environment and find solutions. We must also continue to support developing countries in fulfilling their emission reduction commitments."
In the Montreal Protocol, a set of measures were agreed on for the phased discontinuation of substances that deplete the ozone layer. The Protocol has since been signed by all UN states. As a result, the release of ozone layer damaging substances, such as CFCs, into the environment has been drastically reduced, thus putting a stop to the damage caused to the ozone layer by mankind. The Montreal Protocol has also made an important contribution to climate policy as substances that are damaging to the ozone layer are also climate-damaging.
With the upcoming changeover to alternatives, we are in need of solutions that will minimise impact on the climate. This is why all EU member states are working together with the US, Canada, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia and many other states towards limiting the use of climate-damaging substitute substances. At the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in mid-November in Paris, decisions will be taken regarding the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, which was established to support developing countries.
Once again, there are two proposals on the agenda for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which have been used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances, to be included in the Montreal Protocol. An unregulated increased global use of climate-damaging HFCs could undo any positive contributions to climate action by the Montreal Protocol.