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Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol 1989

Vienna Convention

The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was adopted in 1985 and entered into force on 22 Sep 1988. In 2009, the Vienna Convention became the first Convention of any kind to achieve universal ratification.

The objectives of the Convention were for Parties to promote cooperation by means of systematic observations, research and information exchange on the effects of human activities on the ozone layer and to adopt legislative or administrative measures against activities likely to have adverse effects on the ozone layer.

The Vienna Convention did not require countries to take concrete actions to control ozone-depleting substances. Instead, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, the countries of the world agreed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer under the Convention to advance that goal. The Parties to the Vienna Convention meet once every three years, back to back with the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, in order to take decisions designed to administer the Convention.

Montreal Protocol 1989

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was designed to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone Layer. The original Montreal Protocol was agreed on 16 September 1987 and entered into force on 1 January 1989.

The Montreal Protocol includes a unique adjustment provision that enables the Parties to the Protocol to respond quickly to new scientific information and agree to accelerate the reductions required on chemicals already covered by the Protocol. These adjustments are then automatically applicable to all countries that ratified the Protocol.

Since its initial adoption, the Montreal Protocol has been adjusted six times. Specifically, the Second, Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, Eleventh and Nineteenth Meetings of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted, in accordance with the procedure laid down in paragraph 9 of Article 2 of the Montreal Protocol, certain adjustments and reductions of production and consumption of the controlled substances listed in the Annexes of the Protocol. These adjustments entered into force, for all the Parties, on 7 March 1991, 23 September 1993, 5 August 1996, 4 June 1998, 28 July 2000 and 14 May 2008, respectively.

The Parties to the Montreal Protocol have amended the Protocol to enable, among other things, the control of new chemicals and the creation of a financial mechanism to enable developing countries to comply. Specifically, the Second, Fourth, Ninth and Eleventh Meetings of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted, in accordance with the procedure laid down in paragraph 4 of Article 9 of the Vienna Convention, four Amendments to the Protocol – the London Amendment (1990), the Copenhagen Amendment (1992), the Montreal Amendment (1997) and the Beijing Amendment(1999).

Unlike adjustments to the Protocol, amendments must be ratified by countries before their requirements are applicable to those countries. The London, Copenhagen, Montreal and Beijing Amendments entered into force on 10 August 1992, 14 June 1994 10 November 1999 and 25 February 2002 respectively, only for those Parties which ratified the particular amendments.

In addition to adjustments and amendments to the Montreal Protocol, the Parties to the Protocol meet annually and take a variety of decisions aimed at enabling effective implementation of this important legal instrument. Through the 22nd Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, the Parties have taken over 720 decisions. The decisions adopted by the Parties are included in the reports of the Meetings of the Parties and, along with other documents considered during the meetings, can be accessed under the meetings’ links

HCFC versus HFC

HCFC refrigerants

These are substances containing HYDROGEN, CARBON, FLORINE and CHLORINE chemicals. The HCFC gases are to be banned from virgin use from Jan 2010. The general phase out shall be complete by 2015 unless the dates are brought forward. The HCFC refrigerants such as the popular R22 has a potential to damage ozone (rating 0.05) and is also a green house gas.There are still many systems utilising these refrigerants.

HFC refrigerants

These are substances containing HYDROGEN, FLORINE and CARBON chemicals. The HFC gases are used extensively in every day RAC systems. There is no current ban upon these gases but responsible use and equipment inspections is mandatory under the “F gas” regulations. The HFC refrigerants have no ozone depletion potential, but do act as a green house gas.

India and Montreal Protocol

India became a party to the Montreal Protocol in 1992.

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