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U.S. Department of State
96/01/25 Testimony: Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental & Scientific Affairs 
 

                       STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY 
                            RAFE POMERANCE
         DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ENVORNMENT AND DEVELOPMENT
BUREAU OF OCEANS AND INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENTIFIC AFFAIRS 
                         DEPARTMENT OF STATE 

                       HOUSE COMMERCE COMMITTEE 
                SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT 
                           JANUARY 25, 1996 
 
 
Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to 
testify before your Subcommittee on the recently concluded meeting of 
the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the 
Ozone Layer.   
 
Early last month, more than 100 Parties to the Montreal Protocol 
gathered for the seventh time in Vienna, Austria, the city which gave 
birth to the Protocol's parent agreement, the Vienna Convention for the 
Protection of the Ozone Layer.   
 
The scientific backdrop for this meeting was the "Scientific Assessment 
of Ozone Depletion: 1994".  In this their most recent report, the 
world's leading atmospheric scientists observed substantial decreases of 
ozone during the course of all seasons at midlatitudes (i.e., 30 -60 ) 
in both the southern and northern hemispheres.  For example, in the 
midlatitudes of the northern hemisphere the decline averaged some 6 
percent between 1979 and 1994.  In addition, the scientists reported 
that the levels of ultraviolet radiation, a source of skin cancer, were 
elevated in the northern hemisphere at these latitudes in both 1992 and 
1993.  Moreover, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
reported recently that ozone levels for the mid and high latitudes in 
the northern hemisphere were down 10-20 percent last winter over what 
was noted during the same months in 1979 and in the early 1980s.  Last 
September, the World Meteorological Organization reported that the ozone 
hole over Antarctica covered some 3.9 million square miles or 
approximately the size of all of Europe.   
 
Despite this message of concern, the data also supports the view that 
the 1987 Montreal Protocol and its subsequent London and Copenhagen 
Amendments of 1990 and 1992, respectively, are on the right track in 
addressing the matter of ozone depletion, a problem which transcends 
national frontiers.  In their 1994 study, the scientists asserted that 
actions such as the 1994 phase out of halons and the measures leading to 
the January 1, 1996 phaseout of CFCs, have stemmed the atmospheric 
growth rates of these substances.   In a finding which further bolsters 
the Protocol's effectiveness, the experts have also identified an 
increase in the atmosphere of HCFCs, a substitute for CFCs, just as 
consumption and production of the latter has waned.  In fact, last 
summer scientists reported the first actual decrease in the atmosphere 
of an ozone depleting substance.  At that time, they noted a decline in 
the concentration of methyl chloroform, a solvent and cleaning agent, 
the production and consumption of which was also completely phased out 
under the Protocol at the start of this year following a 50 percent 
reduction in such production and consumption levels in 1994.   
 
Given the effectiveness of the Protocol in stemming the tide of ozone 
layer degradation by both reducing and phasing out the consumption and 
production of ozone depleting substances, we view with dismay the 
introduction of H.R. 475 to repeal Title VI of the Clean Air Act.  
Enactment of such legislation would unravel the Montreal Protocol 
process, as well as call into question the ability of the United States 
to fulfill its international environmental obligations.  The 
implications for the ozone layer would be ominous were this legislation 
to become law.  As Secretary Christopher stated last week in his address 
to the John F. Kennedy School of Government:  "Protecting our fragile 
environment also has profound long-range importance for our country, and 
in 1996 we will strive to fully integrate our environmental goals into 
our diplomacy...."   
 
Very much aware of the latest scientific findings, the Parties went to 
Vienna knowing that the struggle to restore the integrity of the ozone 
layer had yet to be concluded.  In Vienna, they were faced with several 
crucial decisions aimed at strengthening the ozone layer.  With the 
United States playing a pivotal leadership role, the Parties in Vienna 
adopted a series of measures which, if implemented, should lead to the 
restoration of the ozone layer by the middle of the next century.   
 
The most pressing issue to be addressed at the Meeting of the Parties 
was the matter of additional controls on the agricultural fumigant 
methyl bromide.  As the Committee may well know, the Scientific 
Assessment stated that "methyl bromide continues to be viewed as a 
signficant ozone-depleting compound."   
 
Prior to Vienna, only developed countries were subject to any strictures 
with respect to methyl bromide.  In Copenhagen, the Parties agreed to a 
1995 developed country freeze in their production and consumption of 
methyl bromide at 1991 levels.  Developing country Parties were not 
subsumed within the purview of this freeze.   
 
Our delegation at both the Meeting of the Parties, as well at the 
antecedent Preparatory Meetings, pressed for a universal phaseout in the 
production and consumption of methyl bromide by the year 2001.   
 
As the Committee is well aware, the success of the Montreal Protocol 
process has, to date, been attributable in no small measure to the fact 
that the Parties have striven to operate on a consensus basis.  Despite 
the fact that the Parties look to us for technical and policy guidance, 
the United States, like any other Party, is unable to impose by fiat its 
position on a given issue.  Going into Vienna, only a few countries, 
like our Canadian neighbors, had accepted the need for a developed 
country methyl bromide phaseout by 2001; however, in Austria we were a 
lone voice positing the importance of a 2001 universal phaseout which 
would embrace both developed and developing country Parties.  We 
supported this position for environmental considerations, as well as to 
help assure a level playing field for American growers.  The European 
Union, for example, had established a community-wide negotiating 
position which was arrived at in October at a meeting of the Union's 
Environment Ministers.  This position, binding on the 15 member nations, 
called for a 25 percent and 50 percent reduction in methyl bromide 
consumption and production by 1998 and 2005, respectively.  With regard 
to a phaseout, the Ministers agreed in principle to such a measure; 
however, they could not reach agreement as to a specific date certain.   
 
In the developing world, there was, prior to the Seventh Meeting of the 
Parties, virtual unanimous opposition to the acceptance of any methyl 
bromide controls.  The lone dissenter was Malawi which had agreed to 
endorse a developing country freeze. 
 
In view of the foregoing, the odds of achieving a universal methyl 
bromide phaseout by 2001 were, despite the merits of our arguments, 
extremely long to say the least.  We, however, working within the 
context of a small contact group consisting of representatives of key 
developed and developing nations were able, by stressing the arguments 
put forth by the Scientific Assessment Panel with regard to the science 
of ozone depletion and the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel 
(TEAP) with respect to the availability of alternatives, to move the 
process significantly forward.  By dint of our perseverance, we 
succeeded in getting our developed country partners to accept a phaseout 
in their production and consumption of methyl bromide by 2010 with 
interim  reductions of 25 and 50 percent, respectively, by 2001 and 
2005.  I would like to note parenthetically that the Parties retained 
the previously accepted preshipment and quarantine exemptions.   
 
The Parties also agreed to couple the 2010 phaseout with a critical 
agricultural use exemption which will permit the production and 
consumption of methyl bromide for those applications for which an 
effective substitute is unavailable.  The Parties directed the TEAP to 
study the parameters and modalities of such an exemption.  This report 
will be presented to the Eighth Meeting of the Parties later this year 
in San Jose, Costa Rica.  At that time, we hope to play an instrumental 
role in the final crafting of the terms of this exemption.  The 
exemption, together with appropriate changes to the Clean Air Act to 
provide for the availability of methyl bromide for those uses for which 
no viable alternative exists, should address the competitiveness 
concerns of American agriculture.     
 
An equally significant development was our ability to persuade our 
extremely reluctant developing country colleagues to sign on to methyl 
bromide control measures.  They agreed to accept a freeze in 2002 at the 
average of their production and consumption levels for the 1995-1998 
period.  While these countries account for less than 20 percent of the 
methyl bromide consumed worldwide, their consumption levels, however, 
are growing.   
 
I would like to underscore that the Parties will continue to review the 
matter of methyl bromide.  The Parties in Vienna took a decision to 
examine the issue again in two years following the completion of a TEAP 
study on the availability of viable methyl bromide alternatives.   
 
The Meeting of the Parties also addressed the question of amending the 
control measures adopted in Copenhagen with respect to HCFCs, the 
transitional compound used as a CFC replacement.  In Copenhagen, the 
Parties agreed to establish cap which would serve as the baseline from 
which incremental periodic reductions leading to a 2030 phaseout would 
be predicated.  At that time, the Parties set the cap at 3.1 percent of 
1989 CFC consumption and 1989 HCFC consumption.  In Vienna, the Parties 
decided upon a slight modification of this cap.  As a result, the new 
formula will be 2.8 percent (vice 3.1 percent) of 1989 CFC consumption 
and 1989 HCFC consumption.  In addition to this small lowering of the 
cap, the Parties agreed to limit the 0.5 percent level of baseline 
consumption from 2020-2030 to existing air conditioning and 
refrigeration equipment.  While this small "servicing tail" was 
originally intended to ensure this use, prior to this, there were no 
specific restrictions.   
 
In weighing these changes, it is important to note that the European 
Union's Environment Ministers, at the October ministerial meeting cited 
earlier in my statement, had reached a meeting of the minds with respect 
to the lowering of the cap to 2.0 percent and the acceleration of the 
phaseout by 15 years to 2015.  The United States, in turn, posited the 
view that the high economic costs and minimal environmental benefits 
attendant to the European Union position only served to bolster the case 
for maintaining the status quo.  In looking at what evolved out of the 
Vienna negotiation, it is fair to say that, save for some minor changes 
on the margins, the U.S. position with respect to HCFCs was sustained. 
 
In Vienna, developing countries agreed for the first time to accept 
controls on their consumption of HCFCs.  These countries, whose 
consumption of HCFCs is less than ten percent of the world's total, 
accepted a 2040 phaseout which would be prefaced by a freeze in 2016 at 
2015 consumption levels.   
 
The Parties, I note, have traditionally given the developing countries a 
grace period in which to comply with the control measures accepted by 
the developed countries.  Just as the developing countries have acceded 
to a CFC phaseout in 2010 and now a HCFC phaseout in 2040, we can expect 
to witness in the future acceptance of a date certain for a methyl 
bromide phaseout.   
 
The aformentioned control measures with respect to both methyl bromide 
and HCFCs are deemed adjustments and binding upon all the Parties six 
months after their circulation by the Depositary.  In Vienna, the 
Parties did not approve any amendments to the Protocol which would 
require the advice and consent of the Senate.  I have attached for your 
convenience a summary of the current phaseout schedule.   
 
In addition to the adjustments discussed earlier in my statement, I 
would like to take this opportunity to briefly touch upon some 
additional decisions of interest to the United States which were taken 
in Austria.  In a decision aimed at safeguarding the integrity of the 
Protocol, the Parties rejected the request of the Russian Federation, 
Belarus, Bulgaria, Poland and the Ukraine for a five-year grace period 
in which to comply with the CFC production and consumption phaseout for 
developed countries which went into effect on January 1 of this year.  
As a result of the decision taken by the Parties, the Protocol's Ozone 
Secretariat and Implementation Committee will be in a better position to 
monitor closely the progress being made by the Russian Federation to 
achieve full compliance with the CFC phaseout.  
 
Of immediate interest to the United States, the Parties decided to grant 
"essential use" nominations to permit the production of CFCs for metered 
dose inhalers used by asthma sufferers and methyl chloroform for the 
Space Shuttle and Titan Rocket.  The Parties approved all the 
nominations requested by the United States.   
 
I would like to take this opportunity to briefly touch upon the 
Protocol's Multilateral Fund.  The Protocol has gained virtual universal 
acceptance as a result of the creation in London in 1990 of the Montreal 
Protocol Multilateral Fund.  The Fund was established to help countries, 
whose per capita annual consumption of CFCs was relatively low, to meet 
their phase out commitments under the Protocol.  The developed world 
agreed to support the Fund because 1) assistance was limited to the 
incremental or "extra" phaseout costs; 2) aid was to be given only to 
developing countries whose historical consumption of ozone depletors was 
very low; and 3) the amount of the Fund was considered a small price to 
pay to protect the substantial domestic investments that developed 
countries had made to phase out ozone depleting substances.  In effect, 
these countries, most of them very poor, were told that they would not 
be expected to solve a problem which was not of their making.  The more 
than $430 million already allocated by the Fund for over 1,200 
activities in over 80 developing countries is expected in due course to 
result in a one-quarter to one-third reduction of developing countries' 
current use of ozone depleting substances.  Many developing countries 
are even phasing out their reliance on such substances ahead of the 
Protocol schedule.  Thus, a relatively small expenditure of funds has 
the potential of generating a significant environmental dividend for the 
world community, as well as leveraging large sales for those American 
companies which export ozone-friendly equipment and technology.  
Unfortunately, the absence of fully funding EPA and Foreign Operations 
budget requests to Congress has left the United States some $23 million 
behind in its voluntary contribution to the Fund.   
 
In conclusion, I would simply like to say that the meeting in Vienna was 
a negotiation, the outcome of which could not be preordained.  In any 
negotiating process operating on a consensus basis, we cannot expect to 
achieve 100 percent of all of our stated goals.  The measure of success, 
however, of any negotiation is whether at the conclusion of the meeting 
the United States can walk away from the negotiating table and say that 
its interests were advanced.  With that in mind, I can state 
unequivocally that the Seventh Meeting of the Parties was a great 
succcess.  The limits placed on methyl bromide and HCFCs in Vienna, 
along with the other control measures adopted heretofore by the Parties, 
will go a long way to remedying the many serious environmental and 
health dangers posed by a depleted ozone layer.   
 
Thank you Mr. Chairman.   
 
 
Developed Country Phaseout Dates 
 
Substance                              Phaseout Date 
 
Halons                                 1994 
 
CFCs                                   1996 
 
Carbon Tetrachloride                   1996 
 
Methyl Chloroform                      1996 
 
Methyl Bromide                         2010 
 
HCFCs                                  2030 
 
 
 
 
 
Developing Country Phaseout Dates 
 
Substance                              Phaseout Date 

Halons                                 2010 
 
CFCs                                   2010 
 
Carbon Tetrachloride                   2010 
 
Methyl Chloroform                      2015 
 
Methyl Bromide                         ? 
 
HCFCs                                  2040 
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