Archive for Montreal Protocol
UNITED NATIONS, March 27, 2012, 2012 (IPS) – World leaders may face an unexpected challenge come June, when a major global summit on sustainable development will be held in Brazil. Unlike during previous summits, these leaders might have trouble making promises they are unable to keep.
“We are really tired of declarations,” Antonio Herman Benjamin, judge of the Supreme Court of Brazil, told an international gathering of legal experts here Monday. Despite some progress made since the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, most governments have failed to fulfil their obligations.
As a result, the court has launched a new initiative to promote role of law in advancing sustainable development. It is known as the World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Stability.
The Congress’s scores of members from around the world include senior judges, prosecutors, legal scholars, auditors and development experts. They plan to focus on the problems and obstacles that hinder the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.
Organisers said the World Congress intends to lead to the formulation and presentation of key guiding principles for strengthening the role of environmental law in achieving sustainability through the outcomes of this year’s United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, commonly referred to as Rio+20, and beyond.
Among the measures that are likely to be discussed are the roles of courts and evolving environmental jurisprudence.
Reflecting on the slow progress on meeting sustainable development goals, Benjamin explained that in many cases, environmental policies are formulated in a way that lacks requirements for guidance on implementation.
“Laws do not mean anything when they are not effectively implemented,” he said. “We need to close the gap between legal scholarship, parliaments and judges, because what is written can be ignored.”
Despite the numerous agreements that have been negotiated since the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the human environment and the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, experts noted that “only limited” progress has made towards achieving sustainable development goals.
Only a few multilateral agreements, such as the Montreal Protocol on the Protection of the Ozone Layer, which has precipitated a 98 percent drop in the consumption of ozone depleting substances, have produced meaningful results.
“The Montreal Protocol is a prime example of what can be achieved when countries work together effectively on agreed legal frameworks,” said Amina Mohamed, deputy executive director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The Congress, according to Mohamed, would focus on the actions needed from legal practitioners to overcome challenges and promote the transition to a low-carbon, efficient and socially inclusive green economy founded on the rule of law.
In recent days, discussions at the United Nations about what needs to be done at the Rio Conference have indicated that many civil society groups and development activists remain as frustrated and disappointed with governments’ roles as they were before.
An ever-worsening crisis
“I think the Rio+20 process risks being undermined by vested interests and powerful governments,” said Michael Dorsey, professor of global environmental policy at Dartmouth College, who has attended scores of international meetings on development and environment since the 1992 Earth Summit.
The ecological crisis – from resource depletion to pollution, loss of biodiversity and an unfolding climate crisis – has worsened since 1992. Marginalisation and exclusion are on the rise as well, he told IPS, although some countries have made progress in the social dimension.
In major agreements such as the Rio conventions, sustainable development is considered to require fundamental shifts in three areas: climate change, biodiversity and land degradation, he added. “The Rio+20 institutional framework needs to facilitate the interface and integration of the three pillars.”
As the host of Rio+20, the Brazilian government, along with members of the country’s judiciary and auditing community, is supporting the Congress’s initiative.
This year, the Congress will convene from June 1 to June 3, on the eve of Rio+20. The outcome document from the Congress will be presented at the summit.
The event will be co-hosted by the Association of Magistrates of the state of Rio de Janeiro. Its partners include the Organisation of American States, South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Interpol, World Bank, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
LAHORE: Punjab Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has set up an ‘Ozone Gas and Global Warming Cell’ at the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to help save the ozone layer.
EPD Secretary Zafar Iqbal told APP on Wednesday that the cell would consist of three members; a deputy director and two chemical engineers as research officers.
He said that the cell would function under the supervision of the director general of the department and the EPA would play its role in maintaining liaisons with the Environment Protection Ministry (EPM).
He added that they would also create awareness among the people about the impact of using ozone-depleting substances (ODS). He also said that the cell would evaluate and review reports prior to giving recommendations to the EPA for issuing no-objection certificates (NOC) to stakeholders for setting up industries so that there is minimum emission of ODS. He also disclosed that a cell had already been set up at the EPM, under the sponsorship of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Regarding World Ozone Day (WOD), he said that the Montreal Protocol signed by 193 countries was aimed at eliminating the use of ODS by 2010. He claimed that 95 percent use of ODS had already been controlled, while 5 percent use still remains.
He said that the use of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) has depleted the ozone layer over Antarctica and the diameter of the hole was 25 million square kilometres, which is twice as large as the continent of Europe. In an attempt to create awareness among the masses, he urged the people to use gases that were environmentally friendly so that the ozone layer might be protected, which in turn protects mankind from harmful ultraviolent rays.
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE OZONE LAYER
Press Release No. 829
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Geneva, 16 September 2008 (WMO) – “After decades of chemical attack, it may take another 50 years or so for the ozone layer to recover fully. As the Montreal Protocol has taught us, when we degrade our environment too far, nursing it back to health tends to be a long journey, not a quick fix”, said Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on the occasion of the International Day for the Preservation of Ozone Layer today.
According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the 2008 Antarctic ozone hole will be larger than the one of 2007. The observed changes in the stratosphere could delay the expected recovery of the ozone layer. It is therefore vital that all Member States with stratospheric measurement programmes continue to support and enhance these measurements.
Routine ozone measurements in all parts of the world using surface-based spectrophotometers, balloon-borne sensors, aircraft and satellites have been made by the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of WMO Members and partners worldwide since the 1950s. Thirty years later, comprehensive measurements started under coordination of the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW). These measurements have been critical to the series of Scientific Assessments of Ozone Depletion published since the mid-1980s by WMO and the Ozone Secretariat of the United Nations Environment Programme documenting progress made under the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. The most recent of these assessments came out in the spring of 2007. The work on the next ozone science assessment will begin in the middle of 2009.
In 1985, the Vienna Convention was signed by 22 countries. Two years later, the Montreal Protocol was signed on 16 September, a day which has since been designated by the United Nations as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The theme for 2008 is “Montreal Protocol – Global partnership for global benefits”.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer underpins our efforts to combat depletion of the Earth’s fragile protective shield. It also contributes to combating climate change, since many of the chemicals controlled under the treaty also contribute to global warming. By phasing out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) – once common in products such as refrigerators – and now deciding to accelerate a freeze and phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), the treaty has provided two benefits at once. The UN Secretary-General expressed the hope that “Governments will look at such results and feel empowered to act across a wide range of environmental challenges, and not only in prosperous times.”
At the end of August 2008, WMO released its first of the 2008-series bi-weekly Antarctic Ozone Bulletin on the current state of stratospheric ozone in the Antarctic. These bulletins use provisional data from the WMO/GAW stations operated within or near the Antarctic, where the most regular and dramatic decreases in ozone occur.
According to the latest bulletin, the vortex is presently more circular than at the same time last year. This has led to an onset of ozone depletion that is close to the 1979-2007 average and somewhat later than last year, when the vortex was more elongated and more exposed to sunlight. The meteorological conditions observed so far could indicate that the 2008 ozone hole will be smaller than that of 2006 hole but larger than that of 2007.
Usually, the Antarctic ozone hole reaches its maximum intensity in late September/early October. In 2008, the ozone hole appeared relatively late. However, during the last couple of weeks it has grown rapidly and has now passed the maximum size attained in 2007. Since the ozone hole is still growing, it is too early to determine how large this year’s ozone hole will be. On 13 September 2008 the ozone hole covered an area of 27 million square kilometers. The maximum area reached in 2007 was 25 million square kilometers. WMO and the scientific community will use ozone observations from the ground, from balloons and from satellites together with meteorological data, to keep a close eye on the development during the coming weeks and months.
Scientists are increasingly aware of the possible links between ozone depletion and climate change. Increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) will lead to warmer temperatures in the troposphere and at the Earth’s surface. In the stratosphere, at altitudes where we find the ozone layer, there will be a cooling effect. A cooling of the stratosphere in winter over the last decades has indeed been observed, both in the Arctic and in the Antarctic. Lower temperatures enhance the chemical reactions that destroy ozone. At the same time, the amount of water vapour in the stratosphere has been increasing at the rate of about one per cent per year. A wetter and colder stratosphere means more polar stratospheric clouds, which is likely to lead to more severe ozone loss in both polar regions.
These observed changes in the stratosphere could delay the expected recovery of the ozone layer. It is therefore vital that funding agencies continue to support research on stratospheric ozone and harmful ultra violet radiation and that all nations with stratospheric measurement programmes continue to enhance these measurements.
Together with the International Council for Science (ICSU), WMO is coordinating the International Polar Year 2007-08. Thousands of scientists are collaborating to increase our understanding of processes that take place in polar regions, including those of stratospheric ozone and ultra violet radiation. On 25 February 2009, WMO and ICSU will celebrate the closure of the International Polar year in Geneva, and release WMO’s Status of Polar Research.