Tue, Sep 18, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Climate talks in Montreal to tackle twin global issues

AFP , MONTREAL

Representatives of 190 countries were to meet in Montreal yesterday for talks aimed at the twin goal of combating global warming and restoring the ozone layer.

The talks come as part of a UN-sponsored conference marking the 20th anniversary of signing of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty seeking to end production of chemical compounds that contribute to ozone depletion.

Signatories of the Montreal Protocol, which cut emissions of chemicals harmful to Earth's ozone layer, hope to find a way to eliminate the hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) that opened a hole in the Antarctic ozone layer.

The UN sponsor of the talks says repair of the ozone layer will also help with the warming of Earth's atmosphere, which has potentially disastrous effects on Earth's weather, sea levels, flora and fauna in coming years.

The US and Europe were expected to call for an accelerated timetable for banning ozone-depleting chemicals, European officials said.

"For the European Union, the schedule for eliminating HCFCs must be pushed up by 10 years -- that will be the benchmark for deciding if the negotiations are successful," said French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet ahead of the meeting.

The 1987 Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful international responses to a global problem, according to former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

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