Issue Date: May 28, 2007
Montreal protocol easing climate change
On May 23, the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform heard how the Montreal protocol can be used to tackle global warming. Witnesses testified that the protocol, which controls substances that deplete the ozone layer, could help eliminate the equivalent of 1 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions (out of a total of about 27 billion tons) at virtually no cost. The protocol has already helped to reduce global warming, Guus Velders of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency told the committee. Without the protocol, the amount of heat trapped by ozone-depleting substances would be twice what it is today, he said, and strengthening it could result in additional benefits. For example, an accelerated phaseout of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are also greenhouse gases, could reduce emissions by the equivalent of 0.34 billion tons of CO2 per year by 2015, he said. China is now producing a glut of HCFC-22 that is ending up in air conditioners for export, said Mack McFarland, global environmental manager for DuPont Fluoroproducts, at the hearing. Europe has moved to ban these air conditioners, and McFarland called for a ban on importing them into the U.S. The nations that are parties to the protocol will consider these issues at their September meeting.
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