The Montreal Protocol signed in the 1987 is one of the most successful international treaties addressing the problems created by chlorofluorocarbons to the stratospheric ozone layer of the earth [Energyprobe, Website]. The ozone layer is the layer in the atmosphere that absorbs the harmful radiations from the sun and protects the living creatures on earth. However in the past fifty years environmental pollution and the excess emission of gases called Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) have resulted in the depletion of this ozone layer.
Ozone is nothing but atmospheric oxygen present in the layer called stratosphere of the atmosphere. Ozone plays a vital role in environment. It acts as a shield to protect us from the hazardous ultra violet rays emitted by the sun. .However due to extreme pollution the ozone is now found to be destroying slowly thereby creating a hole in the atmosphere called ozone hole. This process is called ozone depletion and if a hole is created in ozone then obviously the ultra violet rays will penetrate through the hole and will create harms to the organisms living on the earth.
Ozone depletion is considered to be a global environmental issue. Research and studies resulted in the findings that this ozone depletion is caused by the chlorine atoms that are generated by chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons [ShabeCoff P, 1988]. These chlorofluorocarbons originating in the earth are gases that are very stable and do not destroy easily. The chlorine atoms from chlorofluorocarbons react with the ultra violet radiations of the sun generating atoms that destroy the oxygen molecules of the ozone layer faster than at the rate of their production. In due course of time they escape from the troposphere and settle in the stratosphere
Ozone depletion also called the ozone hole is nothing but the destruction of ozone by the molecules of atomic chlorine released as a result of reaction of chlorofluorocarbon with ultra violet radiation. . It can be understood that preventing emission of CFCs will protect Ozone. The importance of protecting ozone layer which came under study by researchers in 1970’s was emphasized throughout the globe in 1987 through a protocol called Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the ozone layer. The ultimate objective of the Montreal Protocol is to control the emission of chlorofluorocarbon. In 1988, The International Ozone Trends Panel generated the world’s first assessment document to portray the effects of significant ozone loss. This report is called the Ozone Trends Panel Report [Rowland S, 2007].
The role of Montreal protocol
The Montreal Protocol and Ozone Trends Panel Report however brought a drastic change in the market structure of CFC. The government started levying excess taxes to the companies that generated Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) such as CFCs. On the other hand gave incentives to the companies that made research on finding an alternative of CFC and methods of eliminating CFC. A system was created to trade ODS internationally and distributing CFC production rights internationally as a result of Montreal Protocol [Yosemite, Website].
The Montreal Protocol has thus paved way to new international and political regimes in terms of eliminating Ozone Depleting Substances. It made the government understand the scientific importance of protecting the stratosphere. It gave a new light and confidence to the global producers of CFC that an alternative to CFC could definitely be found in the near future. Last but not the least the multilateral fund for the implementation of Montreal Protocol contributed by the developed countries, created a reserve for the developing countries to make use of in finding an alternative to chlorofluorocarbon.
- EnegyProbe, Available at http://energy.probeinternational.org/climate-change/the-deniers-and-promoters/dupont-case-study-3d-corporate-strategy, Accessed on July 4, 2011
- Rowland S, Stratospheric Ozone Depletion by Chlorofluorocarbons, 2007
- Yosemite, Available at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/ee/epa/incsave.nsf/2dc aad1f2bc15e8852567840015b4f6/511d430d23ed4d8585256636004f926c! opendocument, Accessed on July 4, 2011
- ShabeCoff P, Race for Substitutes to Help Save Ozone, 1988