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(SNO) — Saint Lucia is calling on parties to the Montreal Protocol to act quickly to address chemicals that can lead to global warming.
Last week the Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, Dr. Gale T.C Rigobert, delivered a statement at the High-Level Segment of the 30th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP), held in Quito, Ecuador.
Saint Lucia is a party to the protocol.
She said that parties must work swiftly to address high level of chemicals that deplete the ozone layer or erase 30 years of climate change benefits.
“If we, as Parties, do not act quickly to address these high global warming HFCs, we stand to erase over thirty years of climate benefits achieved through the phasing out of ODSs,” the sustainable development minister said. “This is particularly important as Saint Lucia has also ratified the Paris Agreement to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Efforts under the Montreal Protocol will contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
She said that Saint Lucia, although a small nation, has contributed to these efforts by phasing out a major group of ODSs, the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), in 2008 and is currently towards the phase-out of hydro-chloro-fluoro-carbons (HCFCs) by 2030.
She also highlighted the challenges which lie ahead in finding suitable replacements for the ODSs which are being phased. The current alternatives to ODSs in our markets, including hydro-fluoro-carbons (HFCs), she said, are not sustainable, as they pose a threat to our climate.
The Montreal Protocol is a global agreement among all 197 countries of the world (196 states and the EU) which seeks to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion.
These ozone depleting substances or ODS as we call them, are most commonly used as refrigerants in air-conditioners and refrigerators. Some, such as halons, are used as firefighting foams, and others, such as methy bromide, are used as fumigants against pests in certain crops.
The parties to the MOP meet annually to consider reports from its scientific and technical advisory bodies, decide on critical and use exemptions requested by parties, and debate and decide on any other legal or technical issue affecting the implementation of the Protocol and its amendments and adjustments.
In her statement, the minister highlighted the remarkable successes achieved under the Montreal Protocol over the past three decades.
Through successful and focused implementation of the Montreal Protocol, over 98 per cent of ODSs have been phased out globally, and as a result, the ozone layer is on the path to recovery.