Policy ForumClimate Change

Bridging the Montreal-Kyoto Gap

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Science  13 Nov 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5955, pp. 940-941
DOI: 10.1126/science.1176958

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Because of the growing need for near-term, feasible, greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement options (1), there is increasing interest in the scale and cost-effectiveness of potential emission reductions from destruction of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) (2). Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ODSs not only damage stratospheric ozone, but also are powerful GHGs, with global warming potentials (GWPs) up to 11,000 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2) (3). The Montreal Protocol eliminates production of these chemicals but does not control their emissions or require destruction of ODSs produced before phaseout deadlines. The Kyoto Protocol targets emissions of CO2 and other non-ODS GHGs. Because of these regulatory gaps, large quantities of ODSs remain in legal use or storage in older refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, building and appliance insulation, fire suppression systems, and government and industrial stockpiles (4). Without requirements or incentives for destruction, these ODSs will ultimately be released to the atmosphere and contribute to anthropogenic climate change.