The Montreal Protocol: fixing the ozone layer and taking climate action

The Montreal Protocol has succeeded in halting the damage to the ozone layer and is helping the world in the battle against climate change.

In Canada and around the world, the Montreal Protocol regulates the production and consumption of numerous substances that deplete the ozone layer, the Earth’s atmospheric shield that prevents UV radiation from harming humans and other forms of life. In addition, since 2019, the Montreal Protocol controls hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of potent greenhouse gases that do not significantly deplete the ozone layer but contribute to global warming.


In 1987 the Montreal Protocol brought the world together to reduce and eliminate the use of chemicals like Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), causing the Ozone layer to get thinner.

197 countries committed to taking action.

Result: the ozone layer is slowly recovering.

Scientists estimate that it will be repaired by the middle of the century.

The Montreal Protocol: a successful global action on climate change.

36 years and healing

September 16, 2023, marked the 36th anniversary of one of the most successful, global environmental agreements of all time. Back in 1987, nations gathered in Montreal, Quebec, to sign this historic pact to confront depletion of the atmosphere’s ozone layer, a problem that threatened the environment and human health around the planet.

In the years ahead, 197 countries ratified the Montreal Protocol, agreeing to work together to fix the hole in the Earth’s ozone, thus making the Montreal Protocol the first treaty in the history of the United Nations to achieve universal ratification. The Montreal Protocol has helped prevent millions of cases of skin cancer and eye cataracts and helped to phase out 99% of the  production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Each year on September 16, designated by the UN as World Ozone Day, we recognize those continuing efforts to repair the ozone layer in order to protect the health of all nations and our shared environment.

The Montreal Protocol contributes to climate action

Did you know some ODS are also powerful greenhouse gases? By 2010, the Montreal Protocol had already prevented the equivalent of over 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions around the world, about the same amount Canada would produce in 175 years! New studies indicate that the decline of ODS emissions due to compliance with the Montreal Protocol will avoid up to 1 degree Celsius of global warming by mid-century.

Today, the Montreal Protocol is helping to phase down climate warming HFC chemicals that were introduced as ozone-friendly replacements. On January 1, 2019, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which mandates a global phase-down of HFCs, came into force and will become more stringent in the years ahead. Canadian HFC regulations are helping to make common products such as new refrigerators, aerosol products and foams more climate-friendly.

Canada has made excellent progress in phasing down its consumption of HFCs. Between 2019 and 2022, Canada has achieved an average 25% reduction of its annual HFC consumption from baseline levels, significantly surpassing our current Montreal Protocol target of a 10% reduction. Starting on January 1, 2024, the target will be a 40% reduction in annual HFC consumption.

Through the reduction of consumption of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, the earth can avoid an additional increase of up to half a degree Celsius in global temperature by the end of the century. When combined with phase-out of ODS, that’s up to 1.5 degrees in avoided warming because of the Montreal Protocol. Canada continues to work with all countries to implement the Kigali Amendment. Canada is also providing financial support to the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund and through bilateral projects to help developing countries implement a phase down of HFCs.

Watch the video on how the Kigali Amendment reduces climate change.

Next Steps

Continued efforts are needed to ensure the complete healing of the ozone layer and further reductions of HFC emissions. Canada continues to play a key role on international efforts through its atmospheric monitoring programs, policy development, and collaboration with other countries.

As part of Canada’s contributions to global observation networks, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) operates the World Meteorological Organization World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre, and one of the world standards for stratospheric ozone measurements. ECCC scientists also work with other researchers and organizations. For example, they are working with the Canadian Space Agency to monitor concentrations of ozone-depleting chemicals from space through the Canadian satellite mission SCISAT’s Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment. This data is used to evaluate Canadian models that contribute to the projections of ozone recovery in the stratosphere.

How you can help

We can individually take part in fixing the ozone layer and reducing emissions of climate-warming HFCs by:

Find out more

World Ozone Day 2023 – Fixing the ozone layer and reducing climate change

About the Montreal Protocol

Learn about hydroflurocarbons

SCISAT and the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment

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