19 UCLA J. Envtl. L. & Pol'y 49 (2000-2002)
The Experience of the Montreal Protocol: Particularly Remarkable, and Remarkably Particular

handle is hein.journals/uclalp19 and id is 57 raw text is: The Experience of the Montreal
Protocol: Particularly Remarkable,
and Remarkably Particular
Elizabeth R. DeSombre*
By most accounts, the treaty process for addressing ozone de-
pletion is an unqualified success. It has achieved near universal
participation, with 170 states party to the Montreal Protocol, and
a substantial fraction of those party to the London, Copenhagen,
and Montreal Amendments to the Protocol.1 It has fundamen-
tally changed the way certain industries conduct their business,
already creating in some countries a complete phaseout of cer-
tain classes of chemicals.
The process itself is particularly impressive. Negotiations be-
gan under conditions of uncertainty, over both the existence and
extent of environmental harm and the costliness of taking action
to mitigate it. The Vienna Convention, the Montreal Protocol,
and subsequent amendments have created the ability to adapt to
changes in scientific understanding of the problem and its poten-
tial solutions. The environment is responding as well. Although
it is too soon to expect to see improvement in the ozone layer,
measurements indicate that it is deteriorating at a decreasing
* Frost Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Associate Professor of
Political Science at Wellesley College.
Thanks to Kathryn Litle for research assistance and to Samuel Barkin for conceptual
1. As of September 1999 171 states were party to the Vienna Convention, 170 to
the Montreal Protocol, 136 to the London Amendments to the Montreal Protocol,
99 to the Copenhagen Amendments, and 24 to the Montreal Amendments. Ozone
Secretariat, Status of Ratification/Accession/Acceptance/Approval of the Agree-
ments on the Protection of the Stratospheric Ozone Layer, http://www.unep.org/
ozone/ratif.htm (last visited Sept. 11, 1999).

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