The Montreal Protocol is widely considered one of the world’s most successful multilateral environmental agreements, having phased out 97 percent of almost 100 ozone-depleting substances (“ODSs”) — placing the ozone layer on a path to recovery later this century.
Because many ODSs are also potent greenhouse gases ("GHGs"), their phase-out under the Montreal Protocol has provided an often overlooked bonus for climate mitigation: by the end of the decade, the Montreal Protocol will have done more to mitigate climate change than the initial Kyoto Protocol reduction target, reducing emissions in terms of carbon dioxide (“CO2”)-equivalent by 135 billion tonnes between 1990 and 2010 and delayed climate impacts — including abrupt and irreversible impacts — by about up to 12 years.
By the U.S. EPA’s estimates, the September 2007 Montreal Protocol agreement to accelerate the phase-out of HCFCs could reduce emissions by up to 16 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent through 2040. This is equal to the greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity use of more than 70 million U.S. households over the next 30 years. The Parties’ recent commitment this past November to recover and destroy ozone-depleting chemicals in old equipment which are also potent greenhouse gases, will avoid up to 6 billion tons of CO2-eq. and speed the recovery of the ozone layer by up to 2 years.
Additional measures under the Protocol, such as phasing down the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) - "super" greenhouse gases used in air conditioning, refrigeration, and foam-blowing - could avoid at least 100 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent by 2050.
Please see the other documents on this page for additional information on the link between the Montreal Protocol and climate change.