Production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-3-en
Also known as: CLIM 049
Created 10 Dec 2018 Last modified 29 May 2019
19 min read

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A significant reduction in the consumption of ozone-depleting substances has been achieved by the 28 EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey (EEA-33) since 1986. This reduction has been largely driven by the 1987 United Nations Environment Programme Montreal Protocol. Upon the entry into force of the Montreal Protocol, EEA-33 consumption was approximately 420 000 ozone-depleting potential tonnes. Consumption values of around zero were reached in 2002 and have remained at this level ever since. S ince the early 1990s, th e EU has taken additional measures, in the shape of  EU law,  to reduce the consumption of ozone-depleting substances. In many aspects, the current EU regulation on substances that deplete the ozone layer (1005/2009/EC) goes further than the Montreal Protocol and has also brought forward the phasing out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons  in the EU.

Key messages

A significant reduction in the consumption of ozone-depleting substances has been achieved by the 28 EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey (EEA-33) since 1986. This reduction has been largely driven by the 1987 United Nations Environment Programme Montreal Protocol.

Upon the entry into force of the Montreal Protocol, EEA-33 consumption was approximately 420 000 ozone-depleting potential tonnes. Consumption values of around zero were reached in 2002 and have remained at this level ever since. Since the early 1990s, the EU has taken additional measures, in the shape of EU law, to reduce the consumption of ozone-depleting substances. In many aspects, the current EU regulation on substances that deplete the ozone layer (1005/2009/EC) goes further than the Montreal Protocol and has also brought forward the phasing out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons in the EU.

Are ozone-depleting substances being phased out in accordance with the agreed schedule?

Consumption of controlled ozone-depleting substances (ODSs)

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The 1987 Montreal Protocol is recognised globally as one of the most successful multilateral environmental agreements to date. Its implementation has led to a decrease in the atmospheric burden of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) in the lower atmosphere and in the stratosphere. The schedule for the limitation and phase-out of the consumption of ODSs, as defined in the Montreal Protocol, is summarised in the accompanying indicator specification.

The EU regulation on substances that deplete the ozone layer (the ODS Regulation, 1005/2009/EC), which in many aspects goes further than the Montreal Protocol, has also accelerated the phasing out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) from 2020 (as required under the Montreal Protocol) to 2015, and introduces an HCFC new-fill ban and servicing ban. These bans are related to the placing on the market and use of non-virgin HCFCs that are prohibited in the EU for the maintenance or servicing of existing refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment. Moreover, with only a few exemptions, the prohibition of imports and exports of products and equipment containing or relying on ODSs, including HCFCs, has been brought forward. The ODS Regulation also includes a total ban on the use of methyl bromide (MB), including for quarantine and pre-shipment applications.

The consumption of ODSs has decreased significantly in the 28 EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey (EEA-33), particularly in the first half of the 1990s. Fig. 1 shows that the EEA-33 phased out ODS use at a faster rate than the world average. Today, ODS use is practically zero.

ODS consumption in the EEA-33 fell from approximately 420 000 ozone-depleting potential (ODP) tonnes in 1986 to a negative value in 2002. Since 2002, values have been negative, except for the years 2003, 2006 and 2012, when they were slightly positive. The value in 2017 was -3 257.81 ODP tonnes.

Consumption is a parameter that gives an indication of the presence of ODSs on the market and tracks progress in phasing out these chemicals. It is calculated for each calendar year and is mainly defined as 'production plus imports minus exports' (quantities destroyed or used in certain applications, such as in feedstock or quarantine and pre-shipment services, are subtracted where relevant). Therefore, this formula can yield a negative number when substances are produced and imported in lower quantities than the amounts exported or destroyed. This usually happens when export or destruction takes place for ODSs that were previously on the market in the EEA-33 (stocks). In addition, different substances have different ODP values. If consumption is calculated in ODP tonnes, a negative value is also obtained when production or imports take place for substances with low ODP values and export or destruction takes place for substances with high ODP values. The latter is the current situation, since certain substances with high ODP values are produced in the EU as by-products which, in general, are stocked before being destroyed.

A closer look at individual ODS groups reveals that the phase-out of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, 1,1,1 trichloroethane (TCA), hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs), bromochloromethane (BCM) and carbon tetrachloride (CTC) was implemented by the EU in accordance with the agreed schedule under the Montreal Protocol. However, the phase-out of MB took an additional 3 years to complete (because of remaining critical uses approved by the parties to the protocol). The effects of the HCFC freeze under the Montreal Protocol and the HCFC new-fill ban under the ODS Regulation can also be clearly observed.

What are the remaining uses of ozone-depleting substances?

Estimated sales of ozone-depleting substances, taking into account both the scope of the Montreal Protocol and the additional substances covered by the ODS Regulation

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Estimated sales of ozone-depleting substances that are controlled under the Montreal Protocol, broken down by use, reported emissions and calculated emission factors

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Globally, the consumption of ODSs controlled under the Montreal Protocol declined by some 98.41 % worldwide between 1986 and 2017.

However, much remains to be done to ensure that the damage to the ozone layer is reverted. Initiatives to further reduce releases of ODSs could involve the following:

  • addressing the strong growth in the production and consumption of HCFCs in developing countries;
  • collecting and safely disposing of the large quantities of ODSs contained in old equipment and buildings (the so-called ODS 'banks');
  • ensuring that restrictions on ODSs continue to be properly implemented and that the remaining worldwide use of ODSs declines further;
  • preventing the illegal trade in ODSs;
  • strengthening the international and European frameworks on ODSs (e.g. the inclusion of other known ODSs, restricting exemptions).

In the EEA-33, exemptions to the overall phase-down mean that ODSs are still used to the extent allowed by the Montreal Protocol and the ODS Regulation (applying to the EU-28). The exempted uses concern 'critical uses', 'feedstock uses', 'process agent uses' and 'laboratory and analytical uses'.

The table in Fig. 2 shows an estimate of the quantities of substances covered by the Montreal Protocol that are used within the EU for the abovementioned uses as reported to the EEA (reporting year 2017; coverage EU-28).

For 'feedstock' and 'process agent use', known to have very low emission factors (0.05 % and 1.28 %, respectively), actual emissions are also to be reported by the companies concerned. The fact that these emission factors are so low is one of the reasons why these two uses are permitted with less stringent rules under the Montreal Protocol and EU legislation on ODSs. However, given that the Montreal Protocol targets have generally been achieved for the EEA-33 and worldwide, the importance of these emissions has subsequently become more apparent. Therefore, any changes to the rules affecting such uses could potentially result in additional environmental benefits.

The current ODS reporting framework in the EU does not include reporting on emissions for laboratory uses or critical uses. It is also not possible to reliably estimate these emissions because of the multitude of technologies and industry sites involved. Instead, these figures are meant to show which ODS uses are still relevant in the EU today and could become a target of additional operational rules.

The EU has already gone beyond the Montreal Protocol to tackle some of the remaining challenges. Among these actions, as previously mentioned, the ODS Regulation introduced a new-fill ban and a servicing ban affecting HCFCs. The ODS Regulation also covers new substances in addition to those controlled under the Montreal Protocol.

The table in Fig. 3 shows the combined ODP of the substances covered by both the Montreal Protocol and the ODS Regulation. It is apparent that the additional substances covered by only the ODS Regulation ('new substances') are especially relevant as feedstock and industrial solvents (many 'new substances' are used for this latter purpose). The substitution of traditional ODSs with these newer ones is a relatively recent trend and is being closely monitored by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Only recently, since 2012, unexpectedly high concentrations of the ODS trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) have been detected in the atmosphere. This suggests that the production of CFC-11 has illegally been resumed in recent years, which could delay the recovery of the ozone layer significantly. 

There is also scientific evidence that chemicals other than those covered by the Montreal Protocol and the ODS Regulation play a role in the depletion of the ozone layer. In particular, very short-lived substances, such as dichloromethane, could have a negative impact. Given the uncontrolled increase in the levels of such substances, of around 60 % over the last decade, they might delay ozone layer recovery by 30 years. Adequately managing the use and release of other known ODSs is a challenge that needs to be addressed by the international community and the EU.

What is the current state of the ozone layer?

Maximum ozone hole area over the southern hemisphere, historically (9 September 2000) and currently (20 September 2018)

Note: False-colour view of total ozone over the North (Arctic) and South (Antarctic) poles. The purple and blue colours indicate the lowest ozone presence, while yellow and red indicate higher ozone presence. Ozone concentration is commonly measured in Dobson Units. One Dobson Unit is the number of molecules of ozone that would be required to create a layer of pure ozone 0.01 millimetres thick at a temperature of 0 degrees Celsius and a pressure of 1 atmosphere.

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Maximum ozone hole area

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The depletion of stratospheric ozone occurs over both hemispheres of the Earth. However, this phenomenon is significantly less severe in the northern hemisphere (Arctic) than in the southern hemisphere (Antarctica). This is the case because year-to-year meteorological variability is larger over the Arctic than over the Antarctic. Furthermore, temperatures in the stratosphere do not remain low for a long time in the Arctic as is the case in the Antarctic.

Generally, concentration levels of 200 Dobson units (DU) or less (represented in blue/violet in the images in Fig. 4) are considered technically to represent severe ozone depletion and constitute the so-called ozone hole. This is only apparent in the southern hemisphere. Here, the largest ozone hole was observed on 9 September 2000, with an area of 29.9 million km² (Figs 4 and 5). This area is equivalent to almost seven times the territory of the EU.

Overall, the area of the ozone hole has been showing signs of decreasing since 2000, which is mainly attributable to the phasing out of ODSs under the Montreal Protocol. However, the extent of the ozone hole is also periodically influenced by volcanic eruptions, increasing the stratospheric particle load and thereby depleting ozone. This mostly explains occasional years with a comparatively large ozone hole, such as 2015 (28.2 million km²).

The extent of the ozone hole seems to be stagnating, even showing slightly positive prospects. Recently, the maximum area of the ozone hole over the southern hemisphere, of 24.8 million km², was observed on 20 September 2018 (Figs 4 and 5). During the past 5 years (2014-2018), the average ozone hole area was 23.9 million km², while over the past 10 years (2008-2018) it reached an average value of 24.1 million km². Minimum daily ozone concentrations have also shown strong fluctuations over the years, but have generally been increasing since the lowest concentration was observed in 1994 (73 DU), reaching 102 DU in 2018.

However, the mitigation of ozone depletion is still very fragile and scientific evidence suggests that more action is required to remove the pressure on the ozone layer caused by ODSs.

Indicator specification and metadata

Indicator definition

ODSs are long-lived chemicals that contain chlorine and/or bromine and can deplete the stratospheric ozone layer. This indicator quantifies the current state of the ozone layer, the progress being made towards meeting the EU’s Montreal Protocol commitments and trends in the remaining uses of ODSs within the EU.

Context: the ozone layer refers to a region of the Earth’s atmosphere (the stratosphere) in which ozone (O3
) is present in concentrations high enough to absorb most of the 
sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This natural phenomenon is essential for life on Earth because UV radiation damages living tissue. Ozone depletion refers to the steady decline in the concentration of ozone in the stratosphere and the decrease in stratospheric ozone in the polar regions during the spring season. This has become widely known as the 'ozone hole'. This phenomenon was first observed during the 1970s, when it was shown that the ozone hole was caused by complex chemical reactions in the atmosphere involving so-called ODSs, which are almost exclusively a result of human industrial activity.

Units

Depending on the metric involved, this indicator uses the annual maximum Antarctic ozone hole area in square kilometres (km2) and ODS consumption weighted by the ODP of the substances in ODP tonnes.


Policy context and targets

Context description

The 1987 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Montreal Protocol is widely recognised as one of the most successful multilateral environmental agreements to date. Its implementation has led to a global decrease in the impact of ODSs on the atmosphere. The agreement covers the phase-out of over 200 ODSs including CFCs, halons, CTC, TCA, HCFCs, HBFCs, BCM and MB. The Montreal Protocol controls the consumption and production of these substances, not their emissions.

Following the signing of the Montreal Protocol and its subsequent amendments and adjustments, policy measures have been taken to limit or phase out the production and consumption of ODSs to protect the stratospheric ozone layer against depletion. This indicator tracks the progress of EU Member States towards this limiting or phasing out ODS consumption.

For the EU, the ratification dates were the following:

Treaty

Date of ratification

Vienna Convention

 17 October 1988

Montreal Protocol

 16 December 1988

London Amendment

 20 December 1991

Copenhagen Amendment

 20 November 1995

Montreal Amendment

 17 November 2000

Beijing Amendment

 25 March 2002

EEA member countries have made tremendous progress in reducing the consumption and production of ODSs since the signing of the Montreal Protocol. In that time, ODS production has fallen from over half a million ODP tonnes to practically zero, not including production for exempted uses. Since 2009, EEA member countries have also been subject to the more stringent EU ODS Regulation (1005/2009/EC as amended by 744/2010/EU), which applies to additional substances and accelerates the phase-out of remaining ODSs in the EU.

Targets

The international target under the ozone conventions and protocols is the complete phase-out of ODSs, according to the schedule below.

Countries falling under Article 5, paragraph 1, of the Montreal Protocol are considered developing countries under the protocol. Phase-out schedules for Article 5(1) countries are delayed by 10-20 years compared with non-Article 5(1) countries.

Montreal ProtocolEEA member country
Article 5(1)  Turkey
Non-Article 5(1) All other EEA member countries

 

A summary of the phase-out schedule for non-Article 5(1) countries, including Beijing adjustments, is shown in the table below.

GroupPhase-out schedule for non-article 5(1) countriesRemark

Annex A, group 1: CFCs (CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113, CFC-114, CFC-115)

Base level: 1986

100 % reduction by 1 January 1996 (with possible essential use exemptions)

Applicable to production and consumption

Annex A, group 2: halons (halon 1211, halon 1301, halon 2402)

Base level: 1986

100 % reduction by 1 January 1994 (with possible essential use exemptions)

Applicable to production and consumption

Annex B, group 1: other fully halogenated CFCs (CFC-13, CFC-111, CFC-112, CFC-211, CFC-212, CFC-213, CFC-214, CFC-215, CFC-216, CFC-217)

Base level: 1989

100 % reduction by 1 January 1996 (with possible essential use exemptions)

Applicable to production and consumption

Annex B, group 2: carbontetrachloride (CCl4)

Base level: 1989

100 % reduction by 1 January 1996 (with possible essential use exemptions)

Applicable to production and consumption

Annex B, group 3: 1,1,1-trichloroethane (CH3CCl3) (= methyl chloroform)

Base level: 1989

100 % reduction by 1 January 1996 (with possible essential use exemptions)

Applicable to production and consumption

Annex C, group 1: HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons)

Base level: 1989 HCFC consumption + 2.8 % of 1989 CFC consumption

Freeze: 1996

35 % reduction by 1 January 2004

65 % reduction by 1 January 2010

90 % reduction by 1 January 2015

99.5 % reduction by 1 January 2020, and thereafter consumption restricted to the servicing of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment existing at that date

100 % reduction by 1 January 2030

Applicable to consumption

 Annex C, group 1: HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons)

Base level: average of 1989 HCFC production + 2.8 % of 1989 CFC production and 1989 HCFC consumption + 2.8 % of 1989 CFC consumption

Freeze: 1 January 2004, at the base level for production

Applicable to production

Annex C, group 2: HBFCs (hydrobromofluorocarbons)

Base level: year not specified

100 % reduction by 1 January 1996 (with possible essential use exemptions)

Applicable to production and consumption

Annex C, group 3: bromochloromethane (CH2BrCl)

Base level: year not specified

100 % reduction by 1 January 2002 (with possible essential use exemptions)

Applicable to production and consumption

Annex E, group 1: methyl bromide (CH3Br)

Base level: 1991

Freeze: 1 January 1995

25 % reduction by 1 January 1999

50 % reduction by 1 January 2001

75 % reduction by 1 January 2003

100 % reduction by 1 January 2005 (with possible essential use exemptions)

Applicable to production and consumption

Related policy documents

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

Maximum ozone hole area

This indicator presents the maximum ozone hole area in km2. The ozone hole area is determined from total ozone satellite measurements. It is defined as the region of ozone with values of below 220 DU located south of 40 °S. The maximum ozone hole area is provided in km2 by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Ozone Hole Watch. It can be accessed online at http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/meteorology/annual_data.html

Consumption of ozone-depleting substances 

The indicator presents ODS consumption in units of tonnes of ODSs, which is the amount of ODSs consumed, multiplied by their respective ODP value. UNEP Ozone Secretariat data are already provided in ODP tonnes. All data can be downloaded from http://ozone.unep.org/Data_Access/

Formulae for calculating consumption are defined by Articles 1 and 3 of the Montreal Protocol and a summary can be accessed here: http://ozone.unep.org/Frequently_Asked_Questions/faqs_compliance.shtml

Simply put, consumption is defined as production plus imports minus exports. Amounts destroyed or used as feedstock are subtracted from production. Amounts of MB used for quarantine and pre-shipment applications are excluded. Exports to non-parties are included, but are not allowed.

Parties report each of the above components annually to the Ozone Secretariat in official data reporting forms. The parties do not, however, make the above subtractions and other calculations themselves. The Ozone Secretariat performs this task itself.

Remaining uses of ozone-depleting substances in EU Member States

This indicator presents reported sales of ODSs on the European market and reported production in ODP tonnes (see above). These data are reported annually to the EEA by companies under the EU ODS Regulation (1005/2009/EC) and treated as confidential. Data represented here were reported by at least three company groups that each contributed at least 5 % of the total reported amount.

Methodology for gap filling

No gap filling takes place.

Methodology references

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

Policies focus on the production and consumption of ODSs rather than emissions, which are what actually harm the ozone layer. The reason is that emissions from multiple small sources are much more difficult to monitor accurately than industrial production and consumption. Consumption is the driver of industrial production. Production and consumption can precede emissions by many years, as emissions typically take place after the disposal of products in which ODSs are used (fire extinguishers, refrigerators, etc.). The same is true for sales of ODSs for certain uses and their actual use.

Data sets uncertainty

Data provided by the Ozone Secretariat and the EEA Ozone Database are based on reporting from companies that produce, import, export, use or destroy ODSs. A number of rigorous quality checks ensure a high degree of completeness and correctness. The quality of the data ultimately remains the responsibility of each reporting company.

Omissions and double-counting are theoretically possible because of the nature of the reporting obligation under the ODS Regulation. It is estimated that such uncertainties affect a negligible part of the data.

Rationale uncertainty

Policies focus on the production and consumption of ODSs rather than emissions. The reason is that emissions from multiple small sources are much more difficult to monitor accurately than industrial production and consumption. Consumption is the driver of industrial production. Production and consumption can precede emissions by many years, as emissions typically take place after the disposal of products in which ODSs are used (fire extinguishers, refrigerators, etc.).

Data sources

Metadata

Topics:

information.png Tags:
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DPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CLIM 049
Temporal coverage:

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year

EEA Contact Info

Peder Gabrielsen
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