International Environmental Regimes

Protecting the Ozone Layer
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion
Ground-level (tropospheric) ozone:
harmful pollutant
Stratospheric ozone: shields the Earth
surface from UV rays.
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion
F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario J Molina (1974)
CFCs break down in the upper atmosphere
Release chlorine
Chlorine reacts with ozone,
Ozone layer depletion
Paul Crutzen (1970)
– Nitrogen oxides –may deplete the ozone layer
More UV radiation
– skin cancer, cataracts, damage to other organisms, materials,
Global Commons Problem
Non-excludable: free access
Subtractable: more CFCs less ozone layer
Private costs of limiting CFC production
and consumption exceed private benefits
reducing ozone depletion;
No central governing authority
Scientific uncertainty
International cooperation required
But No Tragedy of the Commons?
Drama of the Commons
The Ozone Layer Regime
Act I
Unilateral Action
U.S. Regulations
– In 1978 US unilaterally banned the use of
CFC propellants in spray cans
Canada, Norway, Sweden
– Also restricted the use of CFC aerosols
Act II
1977-1985: complete deadlock , some
symbolic actions
Opponents to further regulation in US
EC not interested to limit use in aerosols,
suspects US of using science to advance
commercial interests.
The Breakthrough
The Vienna Convention on the Protection of the
Ozone Layer (1985)
-Encouraged research, cooperation among countries
and exchange of information.
-For the first time nations agreed in principle to tackle a
global environmental problem before its effects were
felt, or even scientifically proven.
The Montreal Protocol (1987)
– Production and consumption of 5 CFCs to 50% of
1986 levels by June 30; 1998. Freeze 3 Halons.
Act IV
Broaden Participation
The 1990 London amendments
– Complete ban on 15 CFCs, 3 halons, carbon tetrachloride by 2000, and
methyl chloroform by 2005
– Multilateral Fund:
funds the incremental costs incurred by developing countrie in ODS phasing
$240 million initial endowment fund to be spent over three years
By 2001, 1.2bn contributed to the fund; 3500 projects in 124 countries.
No ODS trade with countries, which are not parties to the treaty
Developing countries: 10 year grace period for compliance.
China, India and Brazil joined
Act IV
Tight International Regulations
Amendments adopted at Copenhagen (1992),
Vienna (1995), Montreal (1997) and Beijing
Ninety-six (96) chemicals are presently
controlled by the Montreal Protocol, including:
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Halons.
Carbon tetrachloride
Methyl chloroform
Methyl bromide
Act V
Tragedy of the Commons Averted?
Effect of Ozone Regime?
1988 ozone hole
2000 ozone hole
Tragedy of the Commons Reversed
Imperfect compliance in Eastern Europe
Illegal trade in CFCs
– Supply: production still legal in some parts of
the world; imperfect compliance by some
former communist countries
– Demand: older equipment (car AC, etc.).
What explains the success of the
Montreal Protocol?
The Role of Science
Placed the issue on policy agenda
Consensual science – necessary for
– WMO/NASA Assessment (1986)-authoritative, peer
reviewed assessment on stratospheric ozone: large
losses if CFCs grow by about 3%
– Ozone Trends Panel (1988): ozone hole; CFCs the
main culprits
– Depends on participation, sponsorship, procedures,
Institutions should allow adaptation of rules
-Even weak treaties can ratchet up
Early targets important for innovation irrespective of
Feedback b/w regulation, technology, innovation, and
domestic politics
Repeated negotiations help ratcheting up
Authoritative, consensual science essential
Institutions can alter the cost and benefit structure of
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