Europe continues to phase out ozone layer-damaging chemicals — EEA

Source: Europe continues to phase out ozone layer-damaging chemicals — EEA

Europe continues to make progress in phasing out chemicals which damage the ozone layer according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA). The report considers the use of more than 200 chemicals controlled by the Montreal Protocol and EU legislation.

Image © Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Over the last few decades, chemicals known to harm the ozone layer have been successfully substituted in most parts of the world since 1989 when the Montreal Protocol came into force. Within the EU, ozone depleting substances (ODS) are covered by the ODS Regulation, which is more stringent than the rules of the Protocol and covers additional substances. Companies are obliged to report their use of ODS, including imports, exports, production and destruction.

The EU has implemented the phase-out of ODS use in line with the Montreal Protocol requirements over the period 1987-2010, which is 10 years ahead of the legal provision. The key metric under the Protocol to measure the use is ‘consumption’. It is calculated from the reported data on production, import, export and destruction.

The EEA report ‘Ozone depleting substances 2014‘ shows that consumption in the EU was negative in 2014, as was the general trend over the last years.  These negative values are the result of a phase-out in combination with rather high destruction and low stocks.

Since the potential to harm the ozone layer varies among substances, the data collected on these chemicals are expressed not only in metric tonnes but also in ‘ozone depleting potential’ (ODP) tonnes which show quantities in terms of their environmental effects rather than physical weight.

The report is published to coincide with the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

Ozone depleting substances and climate change

Many ODS are also potent greenhouse gases. Their phase out has therefore had a significant positive impact on climate change prevention. However, some of the ODS substitutes can equally contribute to climate change. The EEA has recently published a web page, which provides more information on the links between ODS substitutes and climate change.

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