The EU continues to actively phase out ozone-depleting substances (ODS), in line with its commitment under the Montreal Protocol. In 2022, the EU Member States’ production and use of these substances was lower than the amounts that were destroyed and exported. With this progress, the EU continues to effectively contribute to ozone layer recovery.

Figure 1. EU consumption of controlled ozone-depleting substances

EU consumption of controlled ozone-depleting substances

The calculation of the consumption of controlled substances under the Montreal Protocol (in both figures) excludes non-virgin imports and exports, substances intended for feedstock and process agent use, as well as new substances.

In 1989, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer entered into force. Its objective is to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by phasing out the production of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). The protocol covers around 100 individual substances with a high ozone-depleting potential (ODP), including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride (CTC), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs), bromochloromethane (BCM) and methyl bromide (MB), all of which are referred to as ‘controlled substances’. Within the EU, the use of and trade in substances is regulated by Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 (known as the Ozone Regulation).

In the EU-27, ODS are only used, to the extent allowed by the Montreal Protocol and the EU Ozone Regulation. In line with this legislation, there are only a few exemptions to the overall phase out of ODS. Exemptions concern for instance some industrial processes, firefighting, laboratory and analytical uses.

The EU’s Ozone Regulation ambition is higher than the Montreal Protocol in force at the global scale in many aspects. For instance, the EU Regulation has a quicker phase-out schedule, covers more substances and regulates not only substances in bulk, but also those contained in products and equipment, thereby showcasing the EU’s ambitions to effectively address factors which are slowing down ozone hole recovery.

In 2022, the consumption of controlled substances amounted to -3,623 metric tonnes, down from 1,176 metric tonnes in 2021. Consumption in metric tonnes in 2021 was a result of significant stocking of quantities for ‘Feedstock outside the EU’ which were thereby not reflected in total exports. As for 2022, the negative consumption is due to destruction exceeding imports, as production and exports largely cancel each other out. The consumption of controlled substances, when expressed in metric tonnes, was largely driven by consumption of CTC. Expressed in ODP tonnes, consumption in 2022 amounted to -3,900 ODP tonnes, down from 1,627 ODP tonnes in 2021.

Consumption is an aggregated parameter for data reported under the Protocol, derived from statistics on production, imports, exports and destruction. If the total of quantities exported and destroyed outweighs the sum of production and imports, the result from this metric can be negative as outlined in the ODS data viewer.

For more information and data reported by companies under the Ozone Regulation, see the online ODS data viewer.

The chart below shows the decreasing consumption of ozone-depleting substances covered by the Montreal Protocol in the EU and worldwide. From 1986 to 2022, consumption of ODS controlled under the Montreal Protocol declined by 99%.

In an effort to strengthen legislation, the European Commission has extended the reporting requirements for so called “new substances” (Annex II) and added, among others, DCM to Annex II, in the proposal for a revised EU Ozone Regulation.

Figure 2. EU and global consumption of controlled ozone-depleting substances

EU and global consumption of controlled ozone-depleting substances

Despite the progress in past years to phase out ODS, more needs to be done to ensure a swift recovery of the ozone layer. In an effort to strengthen the EU legislation on ozone layer protection, the European Commission published a proposal for a revised EU Ozone Regulation on 5 April 2022. The new regulation would allow to prevent the equivalent of 180 million tonnes of CO2 and 32,000 tonnes of ozone depleting potential (ODP) emissions by 2050.