The ozone layer is mainly found in the lower portion of the stratosphere from approximately 20 to 30 km (12 to 19 miles) above Earth, though the thickness varies seasonally and geographically; it protects living things from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. Concern about radiation from a depleting ozone layer dates back to the 1970s. Scientists then discovered a “hole” in the ozone layer over the Antarctic in the 1980s. Through the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol, the global community is taking action to reduce and eliminate chemicals that harm the ozone layer. Read more+
Without the protection of the ozone layer, millions of people would develop skin cancer. Increased exposure to UV radiation can also weaken the body’s immune system.
Initially, the world’s concern for the ozone focused on chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). In the 1970s, people around the world voluntarily boycotted aerosol sprays with CFCs. Later, halons, carbon tetrachloride (CTC), methyl bromide and hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) were targeted. HCFCs, for example, are used in refrigeration, air conditioning and foam manufacturing.
In 1985, countries adopted the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Two years later, they adopted the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This protocol has its own financial mechanism, the Multilateral Fund, which helps developing countries (Article 5 Parties) to comply with the protocol.
With 197 nations party to the accord, the Montreal Protocol is the only universally ratified treaty in United Nations’ history. To date, it has helped reduce more than 97 percent of all global consumption and production of controlled ozone-depleting substances (ODS). As a result, these substances have begun to decrease from the atmosphere.
The same chemicals that harm the ozone also warm the climate. Between 1989-2013, the Montreal Protocol prevented the emissions of 5.6 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent annually. If Parties agree on the current moves to control HFCs by the Montreal Protocol, this will effectively prevent a .5 °C increase in global temperature.
The battle is not over yet. Some countries, especially those with economies in transition, must still meet their targets set by the Montreal Protocol.
What We Do
The GEF is not formally linked to the Montreal Protocol, but we still actively support its implementation. Under the terms of the protocol, countries with economies in transition were not eligible for multilateral funding. The GEF stepped in to fill the gap. We help the Russian Federation and nations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to phase out their use of ozone-destroying chemicals under the terms of the Montreal Protocol. Read more+
We focus on three activities:
- Phase out use and production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, and carbon tetrachloride (CTC).
- Support a number of these countries to phase out methyl bromide completely.
- Support countries in phasing out HCFCs.
By 2012, the GEF had helped 18 economies in transition to phase out ozone-depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol. We have invested $235 million in 29 projects that leveraged another $247 million from our partners.
Through the Montreal Protocol, total global consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) has dropped by more than 90 percent compared to a business-as-usual approach. The GEF has helped decrease consumption and production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in countries with economies in transition. But more work is needed to address other substances, in particular methyl bromide and hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). Read more+
The GEF in Action: Phasing Out ODS in Belarus
The GEF supported a comprehensive project in Belarus to phase out ODS in the refrigeration industry and the solvent sector with a GEF investment of $7.47 million and $2.23 million in additional leveraged funds. The project supported the conversion of the refrigerator manufacturing industry to non-ODS materials, as well as provided training and equipment to establish 3R (recover, reclaim and recycle) capacity in the industrial, commercial and transportation refrigeration servicing sector. The project targeted solvents used in manufacturing processes through conversion of electronics and consumer product manufacturers to use non-ODS solvent technologies in their production processes. This project also led to the development of mandatory ODS licensing, training and certification of personnel and equipment, and establishment of a permitting process for imports and exports. The project phased out about 523 ozone depleting potential (ODP)-tonnes of CFCs and 24 ODP-tonnes of halons.