Edited by Stephen Tully
Chapter 59: UNEP: Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, 1985
Commentary: The ozone layer is situated between 10 and 50 km above the earth’s surface and absorbs harmful ultraviolet-B (UV-B) solar radiation. The possibility of ozone depletion arising from human activity was first considered by UNEP in 1976 in reaction to scientific concerns: Molina M.J. and Rowland F.S. (1974), ‘Stratospheric sink for chlorofluoromethanes: chlorine atom-catalysed destruction of ozone’, Nature, 249, 810–12. The Vienna Convention (1513 UNTS 293 (1985), extracts appearing below) encourages intergovernmental cooperation on research, systematic observation, monitoring CFC production and information exchange. However, it contains no obligation to reduce CFC production or consumption: see the Declarations made when adopting the Final Act at the Conference of Plenipotentiaries. Annex I identifies major scientific issues warranting further research and identifies chemical substances ‘thought to have the potential to modify the chemical and physical properties of the ozone layer’. Annex II (below) contemplates exchanging commercial information. See also, Andersen S.O. and Madhava Sarma K. (2002), Protecting the Ozone Layer: The UN History, UNEP; UNEP (2002), ‘Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion’; Technology & Economic Assessment Panel reports (available through www.unep.org/ozone/index.asp). Article 1: Definitions For the purposes of this Convention: 1. 2. ‘The ozone layer’ means the layer of atmospheric ozone above the planetary boundary layer. ‘Adverse effects’ means changes in the physical environment or biota, including changes in climate, which have significant deleterious effects on human health or on the composition, resilience and productivity of natural and managed ecosystems, or on materials useful to mankind. ‘Alternative technologies or equipment’ means technologies or...
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