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Administrator Johnson, 19th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Montreal, Canada

09/17/2007
Thank you, Mr. President.

On behalf of the United States of America, I wish to express our sincerest appreciation to the government and people of Canada for hosting the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer on this occasion of the 19th Meeting of the Parties.

I appreciate Canada's ongoing commitment to our common effort to protect the Earth’s ozone layer.

Twenty years ago, the community of nations came together to adopt a strategy for the global challenge of ozone depletion. Today, the United States of America joins our international partners in celebrating the anniversary of the Montreal Protocol – a shining example of how human ingenuity, leadership and determination can create a healthier, better world.

As Administrator of the U.S. EPA, it is a personal privilege to be here to join in this commemoration. Not only am I proud to follow in the footsteps of the visionary leaders responsible for our successes – including several of my predecessors – I am proud to represent the hundreds of dedicated members of the EPA team, who were influential in fostering this international agreement.

However, this international effort is far from over.

While yesterday’s presentations highlighted the Montreal Protocol’s progress in addressing the global threat, they also underscored how far we still need to go to see a complete recovery of our Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer.

To this end, the U.S. has submitted a package of proposed adjustments to the Montreal Protocol to be considered at this Meeting of the Parties, which calls on the global community to act more quickly in completing the HCFC phase-out. In doing so, we are fulfilling our commitment from last June’s G8 Summit Declaration to accelerate the phase out of HCFCs in a way that supports energy efficiency and climate change objectives.

The U.S. believes the Parties have an important opportunity this week to agree on adjustments that will advance ozone recovery several years and also produce climate change benefits that are potentially greater than the reductions experienced under Kyoto (depending on the transition and development of new technologies and substitutes).

In moving faster to heal the ozone layer, we can write the next chapter in the Montreal Protocol’s success story by helping prevent skin cancer caused by excess UV radiation exposure. As supporters of this effort, the U.S. encourages all delegates to strive to reach an agreement at this meeting that will accelerate HCFC control measures, demonstrating our continued commitment to finding cost-effective ways to promote a more rapid recovery for the ozone layer.

In addition, we challenge all delegations to consider ways of destroying the banks of ozone-depleting substances currently installed in equipment. These large sources of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances represent a ripe opportunity to both further protect the ozone layer and to reduce emissions that contribute to global climate change.

And finally, as the work changes, we hope delegations continue to pursue pragmatic approaches to help the institutions of the Montreal Protocol evolve.

As always, at the heart of solving any global environmental challenge is a commitment to sound science. And of course, this was the case with addressing the challenge of ozone depletion. As a career scientist at the U.S. EPA, I sometimes wonder where we would be without the discoveries by Molina and Rowland, whose efforts – and the efforts of many other scientists – have helped pave the way in saving the lives of millions of people throughout our world.

I appreciate the investments of institutions such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, whose influential contributions provided the science necessary for the world’s policymakers to take action. Altogether, we estimate the U.S. contribution to scientific monitoring, modeling and analysis activities has been in excess of $50 million since 1980. In addition to the financial investments, we owe a debt of gratitude to the committed scientists and professionals at NASA and NOAA – and other scientific institutions around the world – who have helped us meet this global challenge.

Once again, it is an honor to represent the United States during this historic anniversary. Working together with the leaders of the international community, we are continuing to create a better tomorrow by protecting the Earth's atmosphere today.

Thank you.