Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer
Decision 88/540/EEC on the conclusion of the Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer and the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer
The Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer lays down the principles to protect the ozone layer*, following scientific warnings that its depletion was a danger to human health and the environment.
It is a framework convention that mainly aims to promote international cooperation through exchange of information on the impact of human activity on the ozone layer. It does not require parties* to take specific measures. These would come later in the form of the Montreal Protocol to the Vienna Convention.
The Vienna Convention was the first convention of any kind to be signed by every country involved, taking effect in 1988 and reaching universal ratification in 2009.
Decision 88/540/EEC gives the EU’s legal approval for the Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer and the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.
As a general obligation, parties must take appropriate measures to protect human health and the environment against adverse effects resulting or likely to result from human activities which modify or are likely to modify the ozone layer. In particular, on the basis of relevant scientific and technical considerations, parties must:
adopt appropriate legislative or administrative measures;
on systematic observations, research and information exchange to better understand the issues involved
in formulating measures, procedures, standards and harmonising appropriate policies
with competent international bodies to effectively implement the Convention and its Protocols.
Ozone layer research and scientific assessments involving the parties, either directly or within international bodies, focus on:
physical and chemical processes;
human health and other biological effects, particularly changes in ultraviolet solar radiation;
substances, practices, processes and activities, and their cumulative impact;
effects deriving from any modifications of the ozone layer;
alternative substances and technologies;
related socio-economic issues;
more detailed factors, such as the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere and specific chemical substances, are set out in the Annexes.
In addition, parties must:
facilitate and encourage the exchange of scientific, technical, socio-economic, commercial and legal information relevant to the convention (Annex II spells this out in greater detail);
cooperate, taking account of developing countries’ needs, in promoting the development and transfer of technology by
helping partners to acquire alternative technologies
providing the necessary information, such as manuals and guides
supplying research equipment and facilities
training scientific and technical personnel;
inform the decision-making body (the Conference of the Parties) of the measures they have taken to implement the convention.
The Conference of the Parties (on which all signatory countries are represented and have a vote):
monitors implementation of the convention;
reviews scientific information;
promotes appropriate harmonised policies, strategies and measures;
adopts programmes on research, scientific and technological cooperation, exchange of information and transfer of technology and knowledge;
considers and adopts amendments to the convention and possible additional protocols;
when appropriate, calls on the expertise of bodies such as the World Meteorological Organization and the World Health Organization;
tries to settle any disputes on interpretation or application of the convention by negotiation or third party mediation. If these fail, the issue may be referred to a conciliation commission or the International Court of Justice;
is supported by a secretariat.
After the convention has been in force for 4 years, a party may announce its intention to leave. This takes effect 1 year later.
Application & Background
The convention entered into force on 22 September 1988.
The decision has applied since 25 October 1988.
The Vienna Convention was adopted on 22 March 1985 and entered into force on 22 September 1988, Since its entry into force, international action has reduced global consumption of ozone-depleting substances by 98%; but the ozone layer is not expected to fully recover before the second half of this century.
The EU implements the convention and its Montreal Protocol through its own legislation on ozone-depleting substances and flourinated greenhouse gases — among the strictest and most advanced in the world.
The EU Ozone Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer), goes beyond the requirements of the Montreal Protocol in several cases; for instance:
it has more ambitious reduction timeframes;
it covers more substances; and
it also regulates their presence in products and equipment (not only in bulk as in the Montreal Protocol).
The EU F-Gas Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases) envisages a more ambitious EU reduction for greenhouse gases already applicable from 2015, and covers greenhouse gases in products and equipment (not only in bulk as in the Montreal Protocol).
For more information, see:
Protection of the ozone layer (European Commission).
Ozone layer: layer of atmospheric ozone above the planetary boundary.
Parties: a country which has ratified the convention.
Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer (OJ L 297, 31.10.1988, pp. 10-20)
Council Decision 88/540/EEC of 14 October 1988 concerning the conclusion of the Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer and the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer (OJ L 297, 31.10.1988, pp. 8-9)
Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer (OJ L 286, 31.10.2009, pp. 1-30)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer — Declaration by the European Economic Community (OJ L 297, 31.10.1988, pp. 21-28)
Council Decision 82/795/EEC of 15 November 1982 on the consolidation of precautionary measures concerning chlorofluorocarbons in the environment (OJ L 329, 25.11.1982, pp. 29-30)
Council Decision 80/372/EEC of 26 March 1980 concerning chlorofluorocarbons in the environment (OJ L 90, 3.4.1980, p. 45)
Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases and repealing Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 (OJ L 150, 20.5.2014, pp. 195-230)
The Kyoto Protocol to which the EU and its member states are parties, requires that states tackle emissions of six specified greenhouse gas. There are biding quantified objectives for limiting and reducing the greenhouse gases. The gases are
- Carbon dioxide
- Nitrous Oxide
- Sulfur hexafluoride
The industrialized countries party to the agreement undertake to reduce collectively greenhouse gas emissions so as to reduce the total emissions of developed countries by at least five percent below the 1990 level. The 15 members of the EU as of 2004 were obliged to reduce their emissions by 8 percent by 2012. The targets are slightly different for the 10 member states who joined in 2004.
The Kyoto Protocol contemplates various measures for obtaining the objectives. This includes
- greater energy efficiency,
- promotion of sustainable agriculture,
- development of renewable energy sources,
- cooperation with other states in terms of coordination of policies.
The EU adopted the Kyoto Protocol which commits the community and its member states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent in relation to the 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. The provisions which provide a market in greenhouse emission allowances help the EU and member states comply with the Kyoto commitment.
The European Council has approved a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent, by 2020 relative to 1990 levels on condition that other developed countries undertake comparable reduction targets.
The United States and Australia have refused to ratify the Protocol.
A package of measures adopted in 2007 focus on sustainable energy.
Decision (EU) 2015/1339 on the conclusion, on behalf of the EU of the
Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol
to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
It gives the EU’s formal approval to the agreement reached at the Doha conference in December 2012 to establish a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. The second commitment period runs from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020.
38 parties, including the EU, are involved in the second phase, and committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 18 % below 1990 levels in the period from 2013 to 2020.
The EU, the EU countries and Iceland, have committed to jointly achieve a 20 % reduction in their combined greenhouse gas emissions for the period 2013-2020 compared to the level in 1990 or their chosen base year. The target reflects the total greenhouse gas emissions allowed during the period 2013-2020 under the climate and energy package.
The 20 % joint commitment is shared between the EU, the EU countries and Iceland.
The measures needed for the EU and EU countries to deliver on the reduction commitment have already been put in place through the 2020 climate and energy package.
Application & Background
The decision entered into force on 7 August 2015. The Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol has not entered into force yet.
The Kyoto Protocol was, until the Paris climate conference in December 2015, the world’s only legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Adopted in December 1997, it contains pledges by participating industrialised nations to reduce their total emissions of 6 greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride) by an average of 5 % over the first commitment period (2008-2012) compared to 1990 levels.
At the Doha Climate Change Conference in December 2012, Parties to the Kyoto Protocol adopted the Doha Amendment, establishing a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2013-2020). The second phase of the Kyoto Protocol serves as a bridge towards a post-2020 global climate change agreement.
Since Iceland is not an EU country, the terms of joint fulfilment concerning its participation had to be laid down in a separate international agreement (Council Decision (EU) 2015/1340).
Kyoto 2nd commitment period (2013-2020) on the European Commission’s website.
Council Decision (EU) 2015/1339 of 13 July 2015 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the joint fulfilment of commitments thereunder (OJ L 207, 4.8.2015, pp. 1–5)
Council Decision 2002/358/EC of 25 April 2002 concerning the approval, on behalf of the European Community, of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the joint fulfilment of commitments thereunder (OJ L 130 of 15.5.2002, pp. 1–3)
Council Decision (EU) 2015/1340 of 13 July 2015 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Iceland, of the other part, concerning Iceland’s participation in the joint fulfilment of commitments of the European Union, its Member States and Iceland for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (OJ L 207, 4.8.2015, pp. 15–16)
The Road from Paris:
assessing the implications of the Paris Agreement on fighting climate change
European Commission communication (COM(2016) 110 final) — the implications of the Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Convention on Climate Change
It sets out the key features of the Paris Agreement and how the European Union (EU) is implementing them.
Leading by example, it aims to encourage its international partners in their efforts in making the switchover to a low carbon economy.
The Paris Agreement provides a global action plan to tackle climate change. This includes:
limiting global warming to well below 2oC above pre-industrial levels and efforts to keep temperature increase to 1.5oC;
holding a ‘global stocktake’ every 5 years, starting in 2023, to analyse the progress made;
ensuring a legal obligation on signatories to take domestic mitigation* measures;
introducing stronger transparency and accountability measures with, for example, publication of greenhouse gas inventories every 2 years;
providing financial and other support to help less wealthy countries take the necessary adaptation* measures.
The agreement was opened for signature on 22 April 2016 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will report in 2018 on the policy implications of the 1.5oC goal.
To implement the Paris Agreement, the EU will:
implement its ‘Energy union’ project, moving away from a fossil fuel economy;
support research and development for low-carbon innovation;
use EU finance, such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments, and policies, notably the Capital Markets Union, to encourage greater private investment;
use its own experience of carbon emissions pricing to encourage other countries to take similar measures;
encourage civil society at large — the public, industry and trade unions, and companies large and small — to contribute towards the goals;
emphasise the importance of climate action in its wide-ranging policy agenda with international partners, including special help for developing countries;
present various proposals, in areas such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, to meet its own 2030 climate and energy targets. Domestically, the EU aims to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030.
At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the Paris Agreement, the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.
The agreement entered into force after at least 55 countries, accounting for at least 55% of global emissions, ratified the agreement.
For more information, see:
‘Paris Agreement’ on the European Commission’s website
‘Paris Agreement’ on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change website.
* KEY TERMS
Mitigation: action, such as switching to renewable and nuclear energy, to address the root causes of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Adaptation: action, such as defences against rising sea levels, to lower the risks from the consequences of climate change.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council — The Road from Paris: assessing the implications of the Paris Agreement and accompanying the proposal for a Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Paris agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COM(2016) 110 final, 2.3.2016)
last update 21.11.2016
The EU and the 2015 International Climate Change Agreement
Communication (COM(2013) 167 final) —The 2015 International Climate Change Agreement: Shaping international climate policy beyond 2020
It sets out the fundamental issues that the European Commission believes should be addressed in the latest multinational efforts to tackle climate change. These should put the world on track to reduce global emissions by at least 60% below 2010 levels by 2050.
The EU agreed in October 2014 that its contribution will be a binding, economy-wide cut in domestic greenhouse gases (GHG) of at least 40% by 2030.
The communication stresses that the new agreement must reflect how the world has changed since climate negotiations began in 1990 and will continue to evolve as 2030 approaches.
The Commission communication emphasises the importance of the following components:
Ambitious national commitments towards clear and fair targets within a common legal set of rules. These should be achievable and reviewed as global and national economic circumstances evolve.
Developed and developing countries alike should contribute towards the overall goal of limiting global average temperature rise to 2oC.
All countries should be accountable to each other and to the public for meeting their targets.
The United Nations launched negotiations on a new climate agreement at the end of 2011 in Durban. This was with the aim of bringing into one comprehensive system the patchwork of binding and non-binding arrangements put in place since the 1992 Kyoto Protocol.
The international community set itself the target of securing a new climate change agreement in Paris in December 2015. The EU believed it should be as ambitious as possible, involving concrete commitments from all major economies. At the Paris climate conference (COP21), 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016.
For more information, see the European Commission’s web page on the Paris Agreement.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions —The 2015 International Climate Change Agreement: Shaping international climate policy beyond 2020 (COM(2013) 167 final, 26.3.2013)
EU and Climate Change
The European Union has played a central role in tackling climate change. It is recognized that rising temperatures, melting glaciers and increased flooding and drought are evidence that climate change is happening.
The EU has taken action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across each area of competence including using
- less pollutant energy and using it more efficiently.
- providing cleaner transport options,
- making businesses environmentally responsible,
- using environmentally friendly planning and agriculture.
The European program is aimed at preventing temperatures increasing by more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The reduction of greenhouse gases is a central part of the strategy. Each EU state must meet minimum contributions in relation to greenhouse gas emissions reductions for the period 2013 to 2020. The European Union will review the progress achieved. The EU monitors reductions and members must take corrective action if they exceed the limits. This involves a reduction in the emission allocation of the following year, a corrective plan and suspension of eligibility to transfer allocation rights and use credits.
Member states must devise programs and the EU must devise a community program to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that deplete the Ozone layer. Member states must maintain and communicate information in relation to the emissions of the key gases such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
A greenhouse gas emission trading scheme has been provided for.
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