The discovery of the ozone depletion problem came as a great surprise. Now, action must be taken to ensure that the ozone layer is not destroyed.
Because CFCs are so widespread and used in such a great variety of products, limiting their use is
hard. Also, since many products already contain components that use CFCs, it would be difficult if not impossible to eliminate those CFCs already in existence.
The CFC problem may be hard to solve because there are already great quantities of CFCs in the environment. CFCs would remain in the stratosphere for another 100 years even if none were ever produced again.
Despite the difficulties, international action has been taken to limit CFCs. In the Montreal Protocol, 30
nations worldwide agreed to reduce usage of CFCs and encouraged other countries to do so as well.
However, many environmentalists felt the treaty did "too little, too late", as the Natural Resources Defense Council put it. The treaty asked for CFC makers to only eliminate half of their CFC production, making some people feel it was inadequate.
By the year 2000, the US and twelve nations in
Europe have agreed to ban all use and production of CFCs. This will be highly significant, because these countries produce three quarters of the CFCs in the world.
Many other countries have signed treaties and written laws restricting the use of CFCs. Companies are finding substitutes for CFCs, and people in general are becoming more aware of the dangers of ozone depletion.The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone LayerThe Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer