Protection of the Ozone Layer

Published 26-10-2012
The European Union has a strong commitment to protect the ozone layer and has put in place legislation that is among the strictest and most advanced in the world. Following a decision of the EEA Joint Committee on 26 October 2012 incorporating the EU regulation on substances depleting the ozone layer into the EEA Agreement, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will not only be in line with the long-term goals of the Montreal Protocol, but will also go beyond it. Together with the European Union they will continue to lead by example.

The revision of the Regulation aims at simplifying the current legislation. Despite the good results achieved in recent years in the recovery of the ozone layer, continued vigilance is required. The new regulation also takes into account the impact of climate change since most of the substances have high global warming potential and are contributory factor towards increasing the temperature of the planet. Many ozone depleting substances (ODS) are greenhouse gases.

Substances contained in refrigerators and buildings
Although most of the harmful substances are no longer produced and used in new equipment, thousands of tonnes are contained in existing refrigeration equipments and insulation material in buildings. The updated Regulation therefore lists responsibilities for undertakings to prevent the substances from being released into the atmosphere in order to avoid further damage to the ozone layer. It also tightens up the provisions on recovery and destruction of these substances.

EEA steps up eco-labelling
The EEA Joint Committee also decided to include the new EU Ecolabel ("EU flower") system for environment-friendly products in the EEA Agreement. The EU Ecolabel helps consumers identify products and services that have a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle, from the extraction of raw material through to production, use and disposal. Recognised throughout Europe, EU Ecolabel is a voluntary label.The criteria have been developed and agreed upon by scientists, NGOs and stakeholders to create a credible and reliable way to make environmentally responsible choices.

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