From poutine to Arcade Fire, Montreal has given the global community quite a few amazing gifts.
None, perhaps, were quite as beneficial to the world as the Montreal Protocol.
To be hyperbolic, the Montreal Protocol basically saved the world.
Established in 1987, the Montreal Protocol was a direct response to the ever-growing hole in the ozone later above the Antarctic.
The first UN treaty authorized by every single country in attendance, as pointed out by writer Andrew Robin, the Montreal Protocol slashed the amount of greenhouse gas emissions poisoning the environment.
From 2008 to 2014, the Montreal Protocol prevented 187 million tons of carbon dioxide from damaging the atmosphere ever year, according to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters.
In fact, the Montreal Protocol is said to have been, and continues to be, the most important treaty when it comes to fighting global warming, more so than than the Kyoto Protocol.
Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were the main point of the Montreal protocol, with the treaty aiming to reduce the amount of these chemicals being pumped out into the world.
HCFCs and HFCs, regularly used as a type of coolant and trap heat in the atmosphere, were quite prevalent back in the 80s. The United States was a particularly large contributor. Not anymore.
Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, HCFCs and HFCs were pretty much phased out of the United States. By 1998, the amount of HCFCs produced by America dropped by 95%.
And the effects are still being felt. From 2008 to 2014, HCFC emissions in the United States dropped by about half. Once 2025 rolls around, the Montreal Protocol is projected to reduce 500 million tons of CO2 in the United Sates every year.
So even though the States dropped out of the Paris Climate Agreement, thanks to the Montreal Protocol, our neighbours to the south aren’t as bad for the environment as they could be.
“The Montreal Protocol has been more effective at curtailing global greenhouse gas emissions than any other international effort” says the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.
Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan even called the Montreal Protocol the “single most successful international agreement,” ever.
Climate change is very real, and it’s only getting worse. But we might have been in a far wore situation today if not for the Montreal Protocol.
Sure, the global-agreement was only named after the city because that's where the signing took place, but it's still cool to hear how Montreal, if only by name, is continuously helping to save the world.