Ozone layer left at risk as talks stumble on funding

The latest round of international negotiations to strengthen the Montreal Protocol on the ozone layer has ended on a depressing note. The conference failed to persuade developing countries to accept substantial controls on HCFCs and methyl bromide and instead, environmentalists say, handed producers of the chemicals an irresistible marketing jamboree. Controls on ozone depleters in industrialised countries were tightened, but producers of substitute chemicals say the overall signal is: "don't rush to phase out". Disagreements over funding for developing countries played a major role in limiting the progress made at the meeting, which bodes ill for other international environmental agreements.

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