Stratospheric ozone depletion
Damage to the ozone layer was the first truly global atmospheric pollution issue to face countries around the world. The issue had major economic ramifications for Japan, Germany, and especially the US, for they were among the largest producers and consumers of ozone depleting chemicals in the world. The process leading up to the formation of the Montreal Protocol and its subsequent amendments took years. The US, Japan, and Germany differed in their level of interest in, and willingness to act in relation to, stratospheric ozone depletion. These differences stemmed in no small part from the differences in the strength of their environmental policy communities and the core environmental paradigm operating in each.
The formation of the Montreal Protocol was a major success. Subsequent amendments to the Montreal Protocol have essentially called for a complete phase out of ozone depleting chemicals, including five haloginated CFCs that were commercially available (CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113, CFC-114, and CFC-115), halons, and methyl bromide. In Japan, CFCs are often referred to as Freon (Flon), a trademark for CFC-12 which is used as a refrigerant. A partially haloginated CFC that has replaced the use of CFCs in some commercial products is hydrochlorfluorocarbon (HCFC)-22. It has a lower ozone depleting potential than the fully haloginated CFCs, but has a high global warming potential.1
The formulation of the Montreal Protocol was a remarkable achievement on a number of grounds. CFCs represented a huge industry; they were used in aerosol sprays, as refrigerants, in air conditioning, as solvents for cleaning circuit boards, in styrofoam packaging, and in many other materials and processes. There was tremendous industrial opposition to the establishment of an international regulatory agreement. Finally, there were considerable differences among states in their interpretations of how much of a threat ozone depletion was.____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Environmental Politics in Japan, Germany, and the United States. Contributors: Miranda A. Schreurs - Author. Publisher: Cambridge University Press. Place of publication: Cambridge, England. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 116.
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