The Vienna Convention & The Montreal Protocol

In 1985, the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was established to provide global monitoring and reporting on the depletion of the earth's ozone layer. It also created a framework for the development of protocols for taking more binding action.

The 1987, Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was established. This protocol facilitates global co-operation in reversing the rapid decline in atmospheric concentrations of ozone, a gas that protects life on Earth from the sun's harmful radiation. Under the protocol, countries agreed to phase out the production and consumption of certain chemicals that deplete ozone.

Both the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol are the first and only global environmental treaties to achieve universal ratification, with 197 parties.

New Zealand's obligations under The Montreal Protocol

Under the Ozone Layer Act 1996 and the Ozone Layer Protection Regulations 1996, New Zealand has phased out the import of all required ozone depleting substances in accordance with the Montreal Protocol.

The import of halons was phased out by 1994 and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), other fully halogenated CFCs, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform and hydrobromofluorocarbons were phased out by 1996. The import of methyl bromide for non-quarantine and pre-shipment purposes ended in 2007. Imports of HCFCs ended in 2015.

Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

In October 2016, New Zealand joined 196 other countries to adopt the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

HFCs, whilst not ozone depleting, are potent greenhouse gases commonly used in air conditioning and refrigeration.

If successfully implemented, the Kigali Amendment is anticipated to avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by 2100, a significant contribution towards the Paris Agreement's objective of keeping the global temperature rise "well below" 2 degrees Celsius.

The Kigali Amendment requires Montreal Protocol Parties to gradually phase down HFC production and use. New Zealand ratified the Amendment on 3 October 2019 and on 1 January 2020 we commenced the phase-down the use of HFC refrigerants by 85% by 2036.

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