The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer


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Background

The Montreal Protocol, finalized in 1987, is a global agreement to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). The stratospheric ozone layer filters out harmful ultraviolet radiation, which is associated with an increased prevalence of skin cancer and cataracts, reduced agricultural productivity, and disruption of marine ecosystems. The United States ratified the Montreal Protocol in 1988 and has joined four subsequent amendments. The United States has been a leader within the Protocol throughout its existence, and has taken strong domestic action to phase out the production and consumption of ODS such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons.

The Montreal Protocol has proven to be innovative and successful, and is the first treaty to achieve universal ratification by all countries in the world. Leveraging worldwide participation, the Montreal Protocol has sent clear signals to the global market and placed the ozone layer, which was in peril, on a path to repair. Full implementation of the Montreal Protocol is expected to result in avoidance of more than 280 million cases of skin cancer, approximately 1.6 million skin cancer deaths, and more than 45 million cases of cataracts in the United States alone by the end of the century, with even greater benefits worldwide. The Montreal Protocol’s Scientific Assessment Panel estimates that with implementation of the Montreal Protocol we can expect near complete recovery of the ozone layer by the middle of the 21st century. Further information on the science of the Stratospheric Ozone Layer can be found on the NASA and NOAA websites, and information on the U.S. domestic implementation of the Montreal Protocol can be found on the EPA website.

The full text of the Protocol, information on its institutions and past actions, and related publications are available through the UNEP Ozone Secretariat.

Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

On October 15, 2016, Parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali amendment to phase down production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) worldwide. HFCs are widely used alternatives to ozone depleting substances such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), already controlled under the Protocol.

This amendment creates market certainty and opens international markets to new technology that is better for the environment, without compromising performance. It calls on all countries to gradually phase down their production and consumption of HFCs in the coming decades using the flexible, innovative, and effective approaches the Montreal Protocol has used for three decades. Global stakeholders endorsed adoption of the Kigali amendment, including most of the major U.S. companies working in related sectors.

Additional Resources