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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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