THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release Thursday, September 16, 1999
President Clinton and Vice President Gore
Protecting Our Ozone Layer
Today, on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, President Clinton transmitted to the Senate an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty that has dramatically reduced the production and use of the ozone-depleting chemicals. The amendment strengthens international efforts to restore the Earth's protective ozone layer, which scientists say is now on its way to recovery. The President also called on Congress to approve funding for the Montreal Protocol Fund, a multilateral fund that helps developing countries reduce their reliance on ozone-depleting chemicals.
Strong Leadership at Home and Abroad. The Clinton-Gore Administration is working aggressively to implement the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.Domestically, the Administration:
- Successfully phased out CFCs (chloroflourocarbons) by 1996 and other major ozone-depleting substances by 1994.
- Approved the introduction of more than 300 alternatives to ozone-depleting substances.
- Invested more than $300 million a year in research on atmospheric chemistry and stratospheric ozone depletion.On the international front, the Administration:
- Led successful negotiations to reduce Chinese production of halons and CFCs faster than required by the Protocol;
- Led efforts to bring Russia into compliance with the Protocol by securing financial assistance for the closure of CFC production facilities.
- Helped secure an accelerated international schedule for the phase-out of methyl bromide, a leading ozone depleter.
Making a Good Treaty Better. The Montreal Protocol is widely regarded as one of the most successful environmental treaties ever negotiated. The original accord has been strengthened with a series of amendments. Today, the President transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent the latest amendment to the Protocol. The proposed amendment bars parties from engaging in trade of methyl bromide with countries that are not party to the Protocol; and requires parties to institute licenses for the import and export of ozone-depleting chemicals. The Administration already has instituted a licensing system, and its aggressive enforcement of anti-smuggling laws has resulted in 87 convictions and 662 seizures of illegally imported ozone-depleting substances.
Supporting Efforts by Developing Countries. The international Montreal Protocol Fund has supported efforts to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals through 2,500 projects in more than 120 developing countries. As a result, many developing countries are years ahead of the reduction requirements under the Protocol. To build on these success, the President has proposed $55.5 million in fiscal year 2000 for the Fund. So far, however, Congress has appropriated less than half the President's request. The President today called on Congress to approve the funds needed to sustain strong international efforts to protect the ozone layer.