International and EU-level cooperation

The Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol

The international community took its first actions to protect the ozone layer in 1985 with the Vienna Convention, which established a framework for scientific and technological cooperation to monitor the status of the ozone layer. The Vienna Convention led two years later to the signing of the Montreal Protocol, which placed restrictions on the production, use and sales of ozone-depleting substances.

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The Montreal Protocol has proven to be a true success story in international cooperation on environmental protection. It is the only international environmental protection agreement that has been ratified by every country in the world.

Thanks to efficient international cooperation, the global use of substances that deplete the ozone layer has decreased by more than 98 per cent since 1987 and, as a rule, industrialised countries have stopped using the most harmful substances altogether. The world has managed to avoid extensive ozone loss. According to estimates, however, it will take until the end of the century for the ozone layer to recover, as substances that degrade the stratospheric ozone layer have already been released into the atmosphere and will remain there for a long time.

Moving forward, the Montreal Protocol also aims to mitigate climate change. In 2016, the protocol was extended to also apply to hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, which have been used as substitutes for the prohibited ozone-depleting substances. These fluoridated compounds do not harm the ozone layer, but they are strong greenhouse gases.

Prohibited and restricted substances

In 2010, a global ban was issued on the manufacture and use of CFC compounds, halons, carbon tetrachloride and 1,1,1-trichloroethane, except for certain critical and essential uses. A schedule has been agreed for phasing out the manufacture and use of HCFC compounds and methyl bromide. Developing countries generally have a ten-year transitional period compared to the schedule for industrialised countries. There are certain exceptions to the restrictions on the manufacture and use concerning uses that are essential and critical for securing human health and safety.

The manufacture and use of HFCs is being phased out gradually. The actions will be initiated in 2019 in industrialised countries and in 2029 in developing countries. The actions set out in the protocol are estimated to prevent carbon dioxide emissions corresponding to more than 70 gigatonnes by 2050.

European Union legislation

In the European Union, the requirements of the Montreal Protocol are implemented by Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer, also known as the Ozone Regulation. Some of the regulations on ozone-depleting substances in the Ozone Regulation are stricter than those of the Montreal Protocol.

  • The requirements of the Montreal Protocol concerning HFCs are implemented by Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-Gas Regulation).
  • Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on substances that deplete the ozone layer (Ozone Regulation) (EUR-LEX)
  • Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council on fluorinated greenhouse gases and repealing Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 (F-Gas Regulation) (EUR-LEX)

Inquiries

Eeva Nurmi, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 250 209, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

Published 2019-07-03 at 10:40, updated 2019-08-07 at 10:27