by Stephanie Chuffart, Visiting Scholar
Today, November 12 2012, the 24th Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Montreal Protocol opens in Geneva. 2012 marks a special anniversary for the Protocol, as it will celebrate a quarter-century in existence. The Montreal Protocol is one of the greatest success stories of international environmental law and has achieved unique results in phasing out substances that deplete the ozone layer. In 2009, the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol became the first treaties in the history of the United Nations to achieve universal ratification. The 24th MOP will hence be a great occasion to celebrate the Protocol’s accomplishments in protecting the atmosphere for the generations to come.
An equally important feature of the 24th MOP is that the parties will decide whether to adopt the North-American proposal to amend the Protocol to phase out the use of hydrofluocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are not harmful to the ozone layer, but they do have a significant impact on global warming. As the listing of HFCs under the Kyoto Protocol has not succeeded in reducing their use, a listing under the Montreal Protocol would be one of the greatest achievements to date.