Senators Urge State Department to Weigh in on Chinese Breach of International Ozone Treaty
Two eastern Chinese provinces found to be emitting and likely producing ozone-depleting chemicals banned internationally since 2010
Washington (June 3, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cyber Security Policy, led a bipartisan letter urging the State Department to review and respond to compelling new evidence of illegal and environmentally destructive activity going on in China.
The Senators’ letter follows reports from scientists that show roughly 7,000 tons of ozone-depleting air pollutants, known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), are being emitted each year from two provinces in eastern China, Shandong and Hebei. These emissions suggest that China is likely producing the chemicals, an act that is banned under the Montreal Protocol, a multilateral environmental treaty intended to protect the ozone layer from further degradation, after the year 2010. In their letter, the Senators urge the Secretary of State to commit to working with the international community to pursue tools provided by the Montreal Protocol to ensure China and other countries remain in compliance with the treaty.
“[T]he most recent report underscores the need for continued investments in international emissions monitoring and enforcement of international environmental agreements,” write the Senators write in the letter to Secretary Pompeo. “China’s intensifying environmental challenges have global consequences and cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
In addition to breaking down ozone molecules in the upper atmosphere, which help protect life on earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation, the chemical CFC-11 is also a super powerful greenhouse gas, capable of trapping 4,660 times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
Also signing the letter are Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ranking Mamber on the Environment and Public Works Committee; Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ranking Member on the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy; Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine).