Montreal Protocol factsheet
For key facts and information at a glance, please read our Montreal Protocol factsheet.
Introduction to the Montreal Protocol
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (the Montreal Protocol) is an international agreement made in 1987. It was designed to stop the production and import of ozone depleting substances and reduce their concentration in the atmosphere to help protect the earth's ozone layer.
The Montreal Protocol sits under the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (the Vienna Convention). The Vienna Convention was adopted in 1985 following international discussion of scientific discoveries in the 1970s and 1980s highlighting the adverse effect of human activity on ozone levels in the stratosphere and the discovery of the ‘ozone hole’. Its objectives are to promote cooperation on the adverse effects of human activities on the ozone layer.
16 September is International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. It celebrates the anniversary of the day the Montreal Protocol came into effect.
The Montreal Protocol is widely considered as the most successful environment protection agreement. It sets out a mandatory timetable for the phase out of ozone depleting substances. This timetable has been reviewed regularly, with phase out dates accelerated in accordance with scientific understanding and technological advances
The Montreal Protocol sets binding progressive phase out obligations for developed and developing countries for all the major ozone depleting substances, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons and less damaging transitional chemicals such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). The Montreal Protocol targets 96 ozone depleting chemicals in thousands of applications across more than 240 industrial sectors. In 2016 the Montreal Protocol also became responsible for setting binding progressive phase down obligations for the 18 main hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
The Montreal Protocol has been further strengthened through six Amendments, which have brought forward phase out schedules and added new substances to the list of substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol. The Amendments are:
- London 1990
- Copenhagen 1992
- Vienna 1995
- Montreal 1997
- Beijing 1999
- Kigali 2016
In addition to helping to protect and restore the ozone layer, the Montreal Protocol has also produced other significant environmental benefits. Most notably, the phase out of ozone depleting substances, which are often also high global warming gases, has benefitted the global climate by reducing the amount of greenhouse gas going into the atmosphere.
Universal ratification of the Montreal Protocol
Damage to the Earth’s protective ozone layer has sparked unprecedented worldwide concern and action. Since it was agreed internationally in 1987 to phase out ozone depleting substances, 197 countries have ratified the Montreal Protocol. In January 2012, South Sudan ratified the Montreal Protocol, making it the first international environmental treaty to achieve complete ratification — a truly remarkable effort that reflects the universal acceptance and success of the agreement.
Montreal Protocol control measures
|Ozone depleting substances||Developed countries||Developing countries|
|Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)||Phased out end of 1995a||Phased out end of 2010|
|Halons||Phased out end of 1993||Phased out end of 2010|
||Phased out end of 1995a||Phased out end of 2010|
|CH3CCl3 (Methyl chloroform)
||Phased out end of 1995a||Phased out end of 2015|
|Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)||Freeze from beginning of 1996b
35% reduction by 2004
75% reduction by 2010
90% reduction by 2015
Total phase out by 2020c
|Freeze in 2013 at a base level calculated as
the average of 2009 and 2010 consumption levels
10% reduction by 2015
35% reduction by 2020
67.5% reduction by 2025
Total phase out by 2030d
|Hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs)||Phased out end of 1995||Phased out end of 1995|
|Methyl bromide (CH3Br)
|Freeze in 1995 at 1991 base levele
25% reduction by 1999
50% reduction by 2001
70% reduction by 2003
Phased out end of 2005
|Freeze in 2002 at average 1995-1998 base levele
20% reduction by 2005
Phased out end of 2015
|Bromochloromethane (CH2BrCl)||Phased out end of 2002||Phased out end of 2002|
|Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)||10% reduction by 2019f
30% reduction by 2024
70% reduction by 2029
80% reduction by 2034
85% reduction by 2036
|Freeze in 2024g
10% reduction by 2029
30% reduction by 2035
50% reduction by 2040
80% reduction by 2045
|a With the exception of a very small number of internationally agreed essential uses that are considered critical to human health and/or laboratory and analytical procedures.
b Based on 1989 HCFC consumption with an extra allowance (ozone depletion potential weighted) equal to 2.8% of 1989 CFC consumption.
c Up to 0.5% of base level consumption can be used from 2020 until 2030 for servicing existing refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.
d Up to 2.5% of base level consumption can be used until 2040 for servicing existing equipment, subject to review in 2025.
e All reductions include an exemption for pre-shipment and quarantine uses.
f Some countries with economies in transition have a slightly delayed start to the HFC phase-down, but catch up to other developed party commitments by 2029.
g Some developing countries have a delayed start to the HFC phase-down, starting their freeze in 2028 instead of 2024 and finishing at 85% reduction by 2047.
1. The timetable set by the Montreal Protocol applies to bulk consumption of ozone depleting substances. Consumption is defined as the quantities manufactured plus imported, less those quantities exported in any given year. Percentage reductions relate to the designated 'base year' for the substance. The Montreal Protocol does not forbid the use of existing or recycled controlled substances beyond the phase out dates.
2. Further information on these ozone depleting substances can be seen in the United Nations Environment Programme Ozone Secretariat's Handbook for the International Treaties for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (See Section 1.2 for links to graphs displaying ozone depleting substances phase outs timetables).
3. For Australia's accelerated HCFC phase out timetable see Part IV of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989
Impact of control measures on levels of ozone depleting substances
Graphs provided by CSIRO Oceans and Atmospheric Research illustrate the global observations of the impact the Montreal Protocol on the levels of ozone depleting substances in the atmosphere, and suggest the impact into the future to 2050:
Montreal Protocol — support for developing countries
The Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol (the Multilateral Fund) was the first financial mechanism to be created under an international treaty. It was created under the Montreal Protocol in 1990 to provide financial assistance to developing countries to help them phase out their use of ozone depleting substances. The Multilateral Fund has provided more than US$3.7 billion in financial assistance, including from Australia, to developing countries to phase out production and consumption of ozone depleting substances since its inception.
The Multilateral Fund is managed by an Executive Committee with an equal representation of seven industrialised and seven developing countries which are elected annually during a Meeting of the Parties. The Executive Committee reports annually to the Meeting of the Parties on its operations.
The Multilateral Fund is replenished on a three-year basis by donors. Donors are generally developed nations. Pledges amounted to more than US$3.7 billion over the period 1991 to 2017. Funds are used to, for example, finance the conversion of existing manufacturing processes, train personnel, pay royalties and patent rights on new technologies, and establish national Ozone Offices. To date more than US$3.6 billion has been approved to support more than 6000 projects and activities in 145 developing countries.
Australia has contributed over $97 million to the Multilateral Fund since 1991.
Australia is active in the Multilateral Fund, seeking to ensure it continues to result in the maximum benefit in terms of ozone layer protection. Australia contributes funding through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and is a member of the 14 member Executive Committee which manages the Fund on a cost-effective basis.
As part of its contribution to the Multilateral Fund, Australia also undertakes a number of bilateral projects in developing countries. These projects use Australian skills and technology and help to raise the profile of Australian know-how and expertise regarding ozone protection initiatives.
Annual Meetings to the Montreal Protocol
Annual Meetings of Parties to the Montreal Protocol allow countries to review, update scientific information and make decisions to improve compliance with the Montreal Protocol and the information base upon which Parties rely. Australia is a member of important decision-making bodies within the Protocol framework including the Executive Committee, which administers the Multilateral Fund. An active role allows Australia a degree of influence over the nature and direction of global ozone protection issues. Australians also contribute to the various scientific and technical bodies of the Montreal Protocol. The scientific and technical bodies report to the Parties on new information to help inform Montreal Protocol decision making.
The global alliance of nations to protect the ozone layer represents the single most effective measure for preventing depletion of the ozone layer over Australia. Australia accounts for less than one per cent of global emissions of ozone depleting substances. Encouraging and assisting other countries through our participation in the Montreal Protocol is the best means to reduce ozone depletion.
Australia and the Montreal Protocol
As one of the first countries to ratify the Montreal Protocol, Australia continues to be a leader in the phase out of ozone depleting substances. In many cases, Australia is well ahead of Montreal Protocol requirements. Australia’s approach is based on a cooperative partnership between industry, community, and all levels of government.
Australia acceded to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer in 1987 and ratified the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer originally in 1989, and then again for each of the six amendments agreed between 1990 and 2016.
Australia takes an active role in ongoing Montreal Protocol negotiations, ensuring that further actions to protect the ozone layer are scientifically based and technically feasible, and that developing countries are supported in their efforts to phase out ozone depleting substances and HFCs.
Australia commenced its phase-down of bulk HFC imports from 2018 through new measures outlined in the recent Review of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Program.
The HFC phase-down places Australia in a strong position to meet its international obligations under the Montreal Protocol. At talks in Kigali, Rwanda, in October 2016, representatives from Australia and most of the other 196 countries that are parties to the Protocol reached an agreement that will see 85 per cent of the world’s HFCs phased out.
The global phase down of 85% of HFCs will reduce HFC emissions equivalent of up to 72 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2050.
This is the equivalent of well over one year of total global greenhouse gas emissions.
Register of Montreal Protocol Countries
The Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 enacts Australia’s obligations under the Montreal Protocol. We manage the movement of ozone depleting substances in Australia by requiring importers and exporters of these substances to hold an appropriate licence. These licences carry a condition that the licensee must only import or export the substance from a country that has ratified the Montreal Protocol and the relevant subsequent Amendments. To help facilitate this, the Minister for the Environment and Energy maintains a Register of Montreal Protocol Countries and the substances for which those countries are to be treated as a Montreal Protocol country. All countries have ratified the Montreal Protocol and all its Amendments related to ozone depleting substances. In relation to importing and exporting HFCs, the trade provisions of the Kigali Amendment will come into force in 2033.
Australia's performance in phasing out ozone depleting substances
Australia has met or exceeded all of its phase out obligations under the Montreal Protocol. For example, Australia essentially phased out consumption of HCFC by 2016, four years ahead of the schedule required under the Montreal Protocol.
Achieving this ensures Australia will consume 61 per cent less HCFCs in the period to 2020 than required under the Montreal Protocol, even after the Parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed in 2007 to advance the HCFC phase out globally.
40 million tonnes – the amount of greenhouse gas emissions Australia has avoided since 1995 by phasing out CFCs and HCFCs.
Many Australian experts have been recognised for their contribution to the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, the work they have done in helping Australia meet its phase-out obligations and for their international contribution to phase-out the use of ozone depleting substances.
- Australian individuals and organisations recognised for their contribution to protection of the ozone layer and work for the implementation of the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol