New Zealand Bids Goodbye to Ozone-Depleting Substances in Response to Climate Change


New Zealand will phase out the ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by the end of 2014 in observance of the Montreal Protocol. According to Environment Minister Amy Adams, New Zealand is ahead of the deadline to phase out substances harmful to the Earth's ozone layer by 2030.

Ms Adams said the country is meeting its international obligations as declared in the 2012 Annual Report on the Operation of the Ozone Layer Protection Act tabled in Parliament.

Since the late 1990s, the amount of ozone-depleting substances has been declining which has helped the environment and human health. The report said that the ozone layer is on its way to full recovery within the century due to the global response of reducing the use of ozone-depleting substances household products like refrigerators, air conditioners, pesticides and foams.

New Zealand is one of the first to phase out ozone-depleting substances in fulfillment of its agreement with the Montreal Protocol. The country signed the international agreement on Sept 16, 1987.

Ms Adams said New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions had increased by 25 per cent between 1990 and 2012. One of the authors of the United Nations' IPCC report said New Zealand is not doing its part to reduce the effects of climate change. 

Ralph Sims, a professor at Massey University who also helped write the UN panel's report in one chapter, said the current situation can be fixed, but New Zealand is "not playing its part." Professor Sims said New Zealand only has to reduce its emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, while other countries are required to lose 10 or 20 or 30 per cent.

Minister for Climate Change Issues Tim Groser said the IPCC report only proves that an international agreement is important to reach global emissions goals. He said New Zealand is on its way to pushing for a binding international agreement on emissions after 2020.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the government will adapt to the effects of climate change which the IPCC said could threaten agriculture and bring frequent extreme weather events.

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