Canada saved the ozone layer: it is time to be global leaders again

OTTAWA -- Thirty-two years ago, Canada led the charge in global efforts to forge a treaty to save the ozone layer. Even though forces in the White House attempted to derail the treaty at the last minute, Canada and like-minded countries managed to negotiate a successful agreement in Montreal in September 1987.

“Back in 1987, I was honoured to be part of the Environment Canada team negotiating an agreement to protect life on earth by shutting down the chemicals that threatened the ozone layer, ” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “That treaty, the Montreal Protocol, has been incredibly effective. The ozone layer is now repairing itself. And as many ozone-depleters are also warming gases, the Montreal Protocol has also helped to fight climate change."

The original Montreal Protocol required developed countries to cut chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by 50% , allowing developing countries to increase by 15%. The requirement was backed up with penalties, trade sanctions against any country that violated the agreement.  In 1992, the terms of the Protocol were adjusted to end production of halons by 1994 and CFCs by 1996.  All nations joined in. The goal set was to achieve a 50 per cent reduction relative to 1986 levels by 1998. Although CFCs and halons were the only ozone depleting substances (ODS) targeted at that time, the Montreal Protocol has been repeatedly strengthened by adding more ODS and advancing phase-out dates.

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Rosie Emery
Press Secretary