Ozone layer issues: Montreal Protocol

A recent policy article recommends "further adjustments to strengthen the Montreal Protocol and provide further insurance against the threat of abrupt climate change". According to the authors, "the Montreal Protocol's successful work to protect the ozone layer is far from done. The year 2006 experienced the near largest ozone hole ever recorded over Antarctica, and new data indicate that the recovery of the ozone layer above the Antarctic will be delayed by 15 years, with a return to pre-1980 levels not occurring until 2065. This delay can be mitigated through two actions: one is to curb higher than anticipated emissions of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 2015; the other is to limit the adverse impacts from emissions of CFCs currently contained in products and equipment (known as "banks") that will be emitted to the atmosphere once those products and equipment reach the end of their useful lives. Emissions from CFC banks by 2015 could equal approximately 7.4 GtCO2-eq. - more than seven times the size of the emissions reductions initially targeted by the Kyoto Protocol. These actions also will delay the impacts of climate change. They should be undertaken as part of a broader effort to ensure that the Montreal Protocol systematically considers and takes into account the climate impacts of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and their substitutes, and minimizes the impact of its strategies on climate." The authors also highlight the following issues: - "The accelerated phase-out of HCFC-22 in the developed and developing countries will avoid the projected increase of HCFC-22 production and emissions of its "super greenhouse gas" HFC-23 by-product. The combined climate emissions of HCFC-22 and HFC-23 are projected to reach 1 GtCO2-eq. by 2015. HFC-23 destruction projects have dominated the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) market, accounting for 52% of all project-based carbon volumes transacted in 2006 and 64% in 2005." - "Illegal trade currently is estimated to represent about 10-20% of all trade in ODS, which for CFCs alone comprises 7 000-14 000 tons per year, with a value of USD 25-60 million. The Montreal Protocol instituted a licensing system for the transboundary shipments of ODSs to combat illegal trade, but this remains a critical issue." - The concept of Life Cycle Climate Performance (LCCP) should be considered as a rational way of assessing climate impacts of ODS substitutes since it makes it possible to "calculate the "cradle-to-grave" climate impacts of the use of ODS in equipment, measuring the direct GWP of ODS as well as the indirect GWP from GHG emissions from power generation used in operating the equipment, placing a premium on energy efficiency."