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U.N. talks for ozone layer protection open in Beijing.

Signatory states to an international pact to protect the ozone layer gathered in Beijing on Monday to discuss whether to strengthen controls on a class of chemicals being used as a substitute for ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

The proposal to toughen rules on hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) tops the agenda of the five-day conference of the signatories to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on ozone layer, according to conference sources.

HCFCs are used as coolants for products such as air conditioners in place of CFCs, production and consumption of which have already been banned in developed countries. HCFCs are less harmful than CFCs but still damage the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from the sun's ultraviolet rays.

The European Union has proposed that on top of the existing quantitative restrictions on the use of HCFCs, production volumes should be restricted, and that the timetable for reduction of HCFC consumption be accelerated.

The Japanese government opposes the EU proposal, saying it will cause confusion in the reduction schedules of the countries concerned.

Under the Montreal Protocol, industrialized countries are to stop using HCFCs by 2030 while developing countries must do so by 2040.
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Comment:U.N. talks for ozone layer protection open in Beijing.
Publication:Japan Science Scan
Geographic Code:4EU
Date:Dec 6, 1999
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