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Senate Backs Treaty to Guard Ozone Layer

March 15, 1988|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted 83 to 0 Monday to approve a 31-nation treaty for reducing emissions of chlorofluorocarbons, industrial chemicals that deplete the high-altitude layer of ozone that is essential to life on Earth.

The treaty calls for a 20% cut from the 1986 level of emissions of the most active chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, effective in 1993, and a further 30% reduction from the 1986 level in mid-1998.

The participating countries also pledged trade restrictions against products containing CFC compounds from non-treaty countries.

Major producing nations and the European Common Market agreed to the cuts in September in Montreal, at the urging of the United States, Canada and Scandinavian nations--countries that banned CFC compounds in aerosol sprays in 1978.

The United States had sought a 95% reduction in emissions, but exemptions won by the Soviet Union and others for developing nations led the Environmental Defense Fund to conclude that the reduction achieved under the treaty in 1998 may amount to 35% instead of 50%.

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that a 1% depletion of the ozone that shields the planet's surface from radiation will increase the incidence of human skin cancer by 5% or 6%.

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