A new report has found that the EU has been successful in reducing its use of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), in line with its commitments under the Montreal Protocol.
The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) annual report on ODS in the EU was published on 16 September, International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer; and showed that the EU’s consumption of ozone-depleting substances in 2018 remained at a net negative, meaning that more ODS have been exported or destroyed than imported or produced. The report noted that the EU’s regulation on substances which harm the ozone is in effect more restrictive than the targets laid out in the Montreal Protocol, leading to high rates of ODS destruction and low rates of production.
The 1989 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer governs the production and consumption of more than 200 ozone-depleting substances, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs); and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which were belatedly added to the protocol in 2016. Signatories to the protocol, which was implemented with the overarching goal of preventing the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer, are subject to a series of mandatory commitments to phase out their ODS use within the next 30 years.
The EEA’s report says: ‘[T]he EU has already achieved its goals on the phase-out of such substances under the Montreal Protocol. In particular, the report shows that in 2018, the consumption of ODS (an aggregated parameter that integrates imports, exports, production and destruction of ODS, except those for feedstock use) in the EU was negative (-1 505 metric tonnes), which means that more ODS were destroyed or exported than produced or imported. This [has been] the case since 2010 with the exception of 2012. These negative values are the result of the phase-out according to Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009, which, in many aspects, goes further than the Montreal Protocol, in combination with rather high destruction rates and decreasing stocks. Companies in the EU have been consuming relatively small amounts of ODS under the Montreal Protocol.’