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Public Papers - 1992

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Phaseout of Ozone-Depleting Substances


President Bush today announced that the United States will unilaterally accelerate the phaseout of substances that deplete the Earth's ozone layer and called on other nations to agree to an accelerated phaseout schedule. Current U.S. production is already more than 40 percent below the levels allowed by the Montreal Protocol and more than 20 percent ahead of Europe's nonaerosol production phasedown.

Recent scientific findings indicate that emissions of these substances, major CFC's, halons, methyl chloroform, and carbon tetrachloride, are depleting the stratospheric ozone layer more quickly than previously had been believed. The President announced that, with limited exceptions for essential uses and for servicing certain existing equipment, all production of these substances in the United States will be eliminated by December 31, 1995. To accelerate progress in the near term, the President called upon U.S. producers to reduce production of these substances to 50 percent of 1986 levels by the end of this year.

Under the terms of the Clean Air Act of 1990, which President Bush signed into law in November of 1990, the administration has authority to accelerate the phaseout of these substances without new legislation. The President also announced that the U.S. will re-examine the phaseout schedule of HCFC's, and will consider recent evidence suggesting the possible need to phase out methyl bromide.

The President noted that due in large part to the use of innovative, market-based mechanisms such as production fees and tradable allowances, the U.S. has already reduced CFC production 42 percent below 1986 levels, a reduction beyond that required by either the Clean Air Act or the amended Montreal Protocol. The President pointed out that the U.S. has been a leader in reducing CFC's, agreeing to a full phaseout of these gases in February 1989, enacting a fee on their production in November of 1989, legislating the full phaseout in November of 1990, and making the first contribution to a multilateral fund established to assist developing countries in phasing out CFC's.

The President called upon those nations which have not yet signed and ratified the Montreal Protocol to do so, and urged other nations to join the U.S. in accelerating the phaseout of CFC's and other ozone-depleting gases even faster than required by the Protocol.

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