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The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer

The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is a landmark international agreement designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. The treaty was originally signed in 1987 and substantially amended in 1990 and 1992. The Montreal Protocol stipulates that the production and consumption of compounds that deplete ozone in the stratosphere--chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform--are to be phased out by 2000 (2005 for methyl chloroform). Scientific theory and evidence suggest that, once emitted to the atmosphere, these compounds could significantly deplete the stratospheric ozone layer that shields the planet from damaging UV-B radiation. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has prepared a Montreal Protocol Handbook that provides additional detail and explanation of the provisions. (CIESIN's Thematic Guide on Ozone Depletion and Global Environmental Change presents an-in-depth look at causes, human and environmental effects, and policy responses to stratospheric ozone depletion.)

The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (1985), which outlines states' responsibilities for protecting human health and the environment against the adverse effects of ozone depletion, established the framework under which the Montreal Protocol was negotiated.

Numerous reports, articles, and books have been written about the Montreal Protocol, including the following three frequently cited sources. Morrisette (1989) provides a historical analysis of the science and policy evolution that led to the Montreal Protocol in "The Evolution of Policy Responses to Stratospheric Ozone Depletion." Haas (1991) focuses on the politics behind the Montreal Protocol in "Policy Responses to Stratospheric Ozone Depletion." Benedick (1991), who led the U.S. delegation, offers perhaps the most detailed account of the Montreal Protocol negotiations in Ozone Diplomacy. The preface, introduction, conclusion, and chronology of policy from the book are available here.

In addition, in "The Fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol" Rowlands (1993) offers a good historical overview and an update through 1992.