Scientists have doubts about recovery of ozone layer

While the US and other industrial countries are seeking
exemptions for the phase-out of the dangerous pesticide
methyl bromide during a five-day conference in Prague,
scientists have expressed doubts about the recovery of the
ozone layer.

The most controversial issue on the agenda in Prague
is the request by the US and 15 other industrialised
countries (among them Germany and the UK) to secure
a delay for the phasing out of the agricultural chemical,
methyl bromide. If agreed these “critical use
exemptions” would allow these countries to continue
using the chemical into 2005 and 2006. 

Methyl bromide is known to be a significant
contributor to the depletion of the ozone layer. Under
the Montreal Protocol, the production of methyl bromide
should be eliminated by 1 January 2005. But farmers in
the US and some other developed countries argue that the
alternatives to the pesticide are ineffective and
too expensive. 

The EU refuses to agree to the proposed exemption.

In the margins of the conference, Mexican Nobel-prize
winning chemical scientist 
Mario Molina

said that there is no real evidence yet that the ozone
layer is really recovering. The UN thinks that the hole
in the ozone layer will be repaired by the middle of this
century. 

 

From 22-26 November, the 16th meeting of the
Parties to the Montreal Protocol takes place in Prague. The
Montreal Protocol is the United Nations Treaty on
substances that deplete the ozone layer.

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