Ozone protection

Shortage of funds may prevent developing countries from phasing out CFCs

Published: Wednesday 15 September 1999

WHILE the deadline for developing countries to freeze the production of chlorofluorocarbons (cfcs) and halons ended, negotiations on the Montreal Protocol, which was signed in 1987, are expected to hot up once again at a meeting to be held in Beijing in November this year.

Developing countries were to freeze production and consumption levels of cfcs to the average level of 1995-97 by July 1, 1999. The deadline for freezing halons is 2002. But many countries are yet to reach the target. The Protocol established a multilateral fund in 1990 to assist developing countries meet their commitments. The fund has been replenished three times so far, and a total of us $876 million has been disbursed to 110 developing countries. The fourth replenishment, covering the 2000-2002 period, will be decided at the year-end meeting of parties (mop-11).

But India, the second largest producer of cfcs, is unhappy with the amount it has been allocated. A study by the environment management division of the Confederation of Indian Industry (cii) in 1997 said that the money for the phase-out of ozone depleting substances from the multilateral fund to developing countries is very low.

In 1997, India produced 24,000 tonnes of cfcs primarily for export, with only 7,000 tonnes consumed domestically. A World Bank team in February 1999, recommended a compensation of about us $250 million to Indian industries to phase-out cfcs. The Indian industry puts the figure at us $450 million. The donors, meanwhile, are willing to pay only us $40 million.

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