News Analysis

Faster CFC Phase-out

On November 25th, international delegates in Copenhagen, Denmark, completed negotiations on a second major revision to the Montreal Protocol for the phaseout of ozone-depleting substances. Under the Copenhagen Amendments, the schedule for eliminating CFCs is moved up to January 1, 1996, four years ahead of the schedule mandated in the 1990 London Amendments (the original 1987 Montreal Protocol only called for a 50 percent reduction by the year 1998). In addition to their total elimination by 1996, the new agreement calls for a 75 percent reduction in CFC use by January 1, 1994. Halons must be totally phased out by January 1, 1994, and both methyl chloroform and carbon tetrachloride must be eliminated by January 1, 1996.

Of particular interest to the building industry, the Copenhagen Amendments defines a specific timeline for phaseout of HCFC consumption. HCFCs, or hydrochlorofluorocarbons, are considered the primary near-term substitute for CFCs in many rigid foam insulation materials (including extruded polystyrene and polyiso­cyanurate), and they are widely used in heat pumps, air conditioners, chillers, and refrigerators. Though much less damaging to the ozone layer than CFCs, HCFCs are still of significant concern with both ozone depletion and global warming (see EBN

Published January 1, 1993

(1993, January 1). Faster CFC Phase-out. Retrieved from