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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 22, 2007

Statement by the Press Secretary

      In Focus: Environment

Under President Bush's continued leadership in ozone layer protection, the Montreal Protocol Parties have agreed to the United States' proposal to accelerate by ten years the remaining phase out of certain ozone depleting substances. This action will not only speed up recovery of the ozone layer, but also represents one of the most significant new global actions to confront climate change by reducing the greenhouse gas profile of the phased-out substances.

Under this historic agreement, developed countries will phase out the production of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 2020, and developing nations will phase out the production of HCFCs by 2030. This will reduce the potential emissions of remaining harmful ozone chemicals by about half.

While the Montreal Protocol has already made great strides to heal the ozone, our investments in advanced technology have paid off and a quicker phase out is possible.

Faster healing of the ozone layer will help prevent human health damages cause by excess UV radiation, including skin cancer.

And, this agreement will have substantial climate change benefits because it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the phased out substances and spur development of new alternatives to these ozone depleting substances that have low or no greenhouse gas emissions. The accelerated phaseout's potential benefits could equal or exceed what the current Kyoto Protocol commitment might achieve.

Since the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987, the US has achieved a 90% reduction in the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances. Worldwide, the Montreal Protocol has cut in half the amount of global warming caused by ozone-destroying chemicals that would have occurred by 2010.

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