At the 11th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, held recently in Beijing, China, two proposals by the European contingent failed to reduce the cap or speed up the phaseout of HCFCs, stated Jim Wolf, vice president of government affairs for American Standard, Tyler, TX, parent of The Trane Co.

However, officials did agree on a multi-billion-dollar funding package to enable developing countries to maintain their efforts in phasing out CFCs.

“The phaseout schedule for HCFCs stayed the same,” said Wolf. “The phaseout date for developed countries of 2030 stayed the same. That was as expected.”

In fact, he remarked, “I don’t see the U.S. buckling on this in the future.”

The only change that Wolf noted was that the Canadian group introduced a proposal, which was agreed upon, “that there be a production freeze on HCFCs so that there would be a limit to exports.” The proposal provided a “very generous level,” he said, of the cap level plus 15%.

The funding for developing countries pledged at the meeting includes $440 million in new contributions plus $35.7 million carried over from the previous period, for a total budget of $475.7 million for the three-year period from 2000-2002.

This is the fourth replenishment of the Protocol’s Multilateral Fund, and is in addition to approximately $1 billion already spent since 1991 on reducing the production and use of CFCs and other harmful substances in over 110 developing countries.

The funds are used to support the adoption of more ozone-friendly technologies for air conditioners, refrigerators, and other products and processes.

“Phasing out CFCs in developing countries is by far the most important next step in protecting the ozone layer,” said K. Madhava Sarma, executive secretary of the ozone treaties. “We need to maintain this momentum and build on it if we are to ensure the eventual recovery of the stratospheric ozone layer.”

Several minor adjustments to the production controls for CFCs, halons, and methyl bromide were adopted, as were technical decisions regarding international customs codes, data reporting, restrictions on the use of ozone-depleting substances for laboratory use, and others.

The 11th Meeting of the Parties was attended by almost 700 participants from governments and observer organizations. The 12th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol will be held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in October 2000, preceded by a preparatory meeting of the Working Group in Geneva, July 10-14.