All life on Earth is dependent on the ozone layer, a thin stratum of gas in the upper atmosphere which shields the planet’s surface from about 99 per cent of harmful solar ultraviolet radiation.
The Montreal Protocol was created in 1987 to regulate the chemicals responsible for ozone depletion, principally CFCs. Widely hailed as the world’s most successful environmental treaty, the Montreal Protocol has phased out 99 per cent of all Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), setting the ozone layer on the path to recovery. It was also the first UN treaty to achieve universal ratification – truly a global agreement.
Our initial involvement with the Protocol was to expose the scale of illegal trade in CFCs, which represented 20 per cent of global CFC trade by the late 1990s, and to push for improved enforcement and licensing requirements.
While continuing to monitor and expose ODS illegal trade, we have also focused on the climate impact of HFCs, which have been introduced as replacement chemicals for ODS and are the fastest-growing group of greenhouse gases.