EP calls for continued efforts to restore and protect the ozone layer 

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  • Further reduce emissions of ozone-depleting substances 
  • Align EU rules with the European Green Deal and international agreements 
  • Improve enforcement and tackle illegal activities  

Parliament agreed today on its position for negotiations with EU governments regarding measures to cut down emissions of substances that damage the ozone layer.

MEPs adopted their report on the revision of the regulation addressing ozone-depleting substances (ODS) with 553 votes in favour, 10 against and 20 abstentions.

Even if the EU has already achieved its phase-out goals under the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer under existing legislation, ODS emissions need to be cut further to comply with the goals of the European Green Deal, the 2030 and 2050 targets set by the EU Climate Law and the Paris Agreement.

Parliament wants to increase the efficiency of existing measures and tighten the control of exempted ODS uses (the production of other chemicals, in laboratories and for fire protection in special applications such as military equipment and airplanes). MEPs request that the Commission should propose measures to further cap or phase out such uses when alternatives become available.

The report strengthens the powers of customs and market surveillance authorities in preventing illegal trade of ODS and aligns the new rules with those on the protection of the environment through criminal law (currently under revision).

More details on the adopted text are available here.

Quote

Rapporteur Jessica Polfjärd (EPP, SE) said: “The prevention of emissions from ozone-depleting substances is key to preventing adverse health and environmental effects resulting from a damaged ozone layer and to contribute to greenhouse gas savings in line with the Union’s climate target. I am happy that we could agree today, across the political groups, and support an ambitious and balanced proposal to continue making efforts to improve and restore the ozone layer.”

Next steps

MEPs are now ready to start negotiations with EU member states on the final shape of the legislation.

Background

Ozone-depleting substances are human-made chemicals that, once emitted, reach the upper atmosphere and destroy the protective ozone layer. They have significant adverse impacts on human health and the environment and are greenhouse gases with high global warming potential. Such substances include halons (used in fire extinguishers), methyl bromide (to control pests) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (used in fridges and air conditioning systems).