What I noted entering the European continent from the Indian Sub-Continent to take up assignment in UNEP was that the 'cold war' was ending and 'global warming' war was beginning. The hole in Ozone layer as well as in global equity logic was ever widening. Management of the natural resources at that time appeared to me as squandering the capital of global company called 'Earth Limited'. The human race was racing against the time in managing the planetary crisis. There were beautiful moments, humane touches, affectionate dimensions amidst the troubles. The world of written, spoken and visual words are not adequate to describe...but nothing wrong in trying.

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essay about my holiday trip “We are aware that the greatest legacy we leave our children and grandchildren is the earth, not only as a place we live, but also as a livable place.”, Honorable Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada.

Honorable Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada gave gripping  and impelling speech at the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on 20 Nov. 2017, when 30th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol was celebrated. His speech:

I’m honoured and delighted to join you for this celebration on the 30th anniversary of the landmark Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, the only universal UN agreement, ratified by 196 countries and the EU—more Parties than any other international agreement in history.

The Montreal Protocol was the result of prioritized and proactive leadership by Canada, the United States, some Nordic Countries, and UN leadership of both the developed and developing world.

From the perspective of our government, the environment was a priority from the day we took office. We knew we had to lead by example at home, and engage the international community on environmental issues that knew no borders.

At home, we established eight new national parks, including South Moresby in British Columbia, and our Green Plan put Canada on a path to create five more by 1996 and another 13 by 2000. Dr. Mostafa Tolba, when he was head of the UN Environment Program, called Canada’s Green Plan “a model for the world.”

We began the long overdue cleanup of the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence and Fraser rivers, and we launched the Arctic strategy to protect our largest and most important wilderness area—the North.

In Toronto in 1988, Canada hosted the first international conference with politicians actively present on climate change. Gro Brundtland delivered a powerful keynote address, and Canada was the first western country to endorse the historic recommendations of the Brundtland Commission, and the first to embrace the language of “sustainable development.”

In 1991, we signed the Acid Rain Accord with the United States, an issue we had been working on since taking office in 1984. I want to come back to acid rain as an important example of leadership and engagement.

At the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, we helped bring the U.S. on board in support of the Convention on Climate Change, and we were the first industrialized country to sign the Bio-Diversity Accord Treaty.

And then there was the Montreal Protocol, which a New York Times headline has called: “A Little Treaty That Could”. Could it ever, as it turns out.

It has cut the equivalent of more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions, while averting the collapse of the ozone layer and enabling its complete restoration by the middle of this century
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called the Montreal Protocol “the most successful international agreement to date.”
The Economist last year called it “the world’s most lauded environmental treaty.” The New York Times reported in 2013: “The Montreal Protocol is widely seen as the most successful global environmental treaty.”

In The Guardian, Mario Molina, the Nobel co-laureate in chemistry for his work on ozone depletion wrote that: “The Montreal Protocol has a claim to be one of the most successful treaties of any kind.”
Professor Molina continued: “The same chemicals that attacked the ozone layer also warmed the climate. Thus, in phasing them out, the Montreal Protocol has made a large contribution to protecting the world’s climate. “The Montreal Protocol is, therefore, a unique planet-saving agreement.”

Not only has the Montreal Protocol led to the elimination of over 99 per cent of ozone depleting substances, it has also, as reported by the European Environment Agency, “avoided greenhouse gas emissions by an amount 5-6 times larger than the target of the Kyoto Protocol.”That’s a huge valued added benefit of the Montreal Protocol.

Quite apart from eliminating ozone depletion and avoided GHG emissions, the Montreal Protocol, as our Canadian government notes, “has prevented up to two million cases of skin cancer and eye cataracts globally.” The UN Environment Secretariat forecasts: “up to 2 million cases of skin cancer may be prevented each year by 2030.”

That also means uncounted billions of dollars of avoided healthcare costs around the world.

And the question is, how did we get to Montreal, and how did we get the Protocol? And how, and why, has it been such an unqualified success?

It’s a long story that begins with scholarly work on ozone depletion in the 1970s, which led to the March 1985 Vienna Convention, following two long and arduous years of international talks by government officials. To take the talks to the treaty level, another round would be required and the Austrians generously suggested that Canada should be the host nation in recognition of its role in achieving the Vienna Convention and strides made to creating the needed regulatory provisions.

And then in May 1985, British scientists made the stunning announcement that a hole in the ozone layer had appeared over Antarctica.

In other words, there was literally a hole in the sky.

As the New York Times reported four years ago, the news “caught the public imagination in a way few discoveries do.”
People everywhere understood that if the earth was our home, there was a hole in the roof of our house.

While ozone depletion has been stopped, the hole in the sky is still 7.6 million square miles, twice the size of Canada. The good news is, as a Washington Post headline recently reported: “The Earth’s ozone hole is shrinking and is the smallest it has been since 1988.”

Originally, the Montreal Protocol was to reduce CFCs by 50 per cent by 1999. Later it was agreed that all CFC production would cease by 2000.

The Montreal Protocol set a new standard for an international treaty.
As our lead negotiator Victor Buxton later wrote in a succinct review of the Montreal Protocol’s distinctive features: “It put in place an international process for controlling all ozone layer depleting substances. It did this by:

• providing both a short and long-term plan for addressing all of the ozone depleting substances.
• providing a mandated phasedown which stimulated product development for environmentally acceptable substitutes or alternatives (the phasedown also affected market behaviour through placing constraints on supply and demand);
• it signaled to all producers of these controlled substances that society’s tolerance of these chemicals would be short-lived and future investment decisions should be made accordingly;
• it put in place a dynamic science and technology driven process whereby the stringency and scope of the controls can be adjusted in response to the current understanding of the science, the environmental effects, the technological capabilities and the economic considerations;
• it provided, within its own framework, an incentive for developing countries to join the Protocol without fear of additional economic hardship for having done so;
• it provided for trade sanctions as a way of denying those who chose to remain non-parties access to the world’s most lucrative markets.”

The inclusive framework meant that rather than limiting the Montreal Protocol to the 30-odd countries that made ODS’s, everyone in the world came on board, 191 nations at the time, 197 today.

In 1991, it also established the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, which has provided more than $3.5 billion USD to help developing countries phase out ozone depleting substances. The secretariat was located in Montreal, which has become an important hub for the execution of global and continental environmental agreements. The secretariats for the Multilateral Fund, the NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation, and the Biodiversity Treaty under Rio, are all located in Montreal. This is due in no small measure to the vision of my late friend Arthur Campeau, Canada’s first environmental ambassador.
And industry, which had been a big part of the problem, became an important part of the solution.

I like to cite the example of DuPont, then the world’s largest manufacturer of CFCs. DuPont responded to the challenge by transitioning out of CFCs and creating innovative technologies that not only made the company a good corporate citizen, but also increased its profits. It became green in more ways than one.

During the Montreal Protocol conference, Canada was led by our Environment Minister, Tom McMillan and later by Bob de Cotret. But I must also acknowledge the leadership of our senior officials— Vic Buxton; Alex Chisholm, our chief scientist; Jon Allen, who led our legal team; Elizabeth May, our policy adviser, and Bob Slater, our assistant deputy minister of the environment.

As Professor Molina has observed: “The treaty aimed at starting, then strengthening, action. And success has continued to breed more success. Over three decades it has reduced nearly 100 ozone-depleting chemicals by nearly 100 per cent. The ozone layer is healing, and is likely to recover in several decades.”

The 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol provides countries around the globe with an historic opportunity to ratify the 2016 Kigali Amendment that would reduce GHG emissions from hydrofluorocarbons by 80 per cent over the next 30 years.

Reducing HFCs will also avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of the century, which will be a major contribution to achieving the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. While HFCs currently account for 1 to 2 per cent of GHG emissions, if left unchecked they could account for as much as 10 per cent by 2050.
The Kigali Amendment was approved last October by all 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol. If 20 signatories of the Montreal Protocol ratify the Kigali Amendment, it will enter into force on January 1, 2019.
The Canadian government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister McKenna, advocates ratification, and I strongly endorse this important step forward on climate change.

For Canada, ratification of the amendment and the reduction of HFC emissions will help us meet our targets under the Paris Agreement—reducing GHG emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
In that sense, the road to Paris runs through Montreal.

The will, and the votes, to make that happen are in this room.
Make no mistake, it was the political will to make it happen, in the light of alarming empirical evidence of ozone depletion, that drove the Montreal Protocol to its successful conclusion 30 years ago. It is called leadership.

At the time, there was general agreement on the problem, but no consensus on a solution.

But there were two obvious imperatives—political engagement and the involvement of industry as part of the solution.
Both were key elements in the successful negotiations that resulted in the Montreal Protocol.

Leadership at the national level, and coordinated leadership at the international level, particularly in the global forum of the UN.
Even the science was contested in some political precincts. Does that sound familiar, in terms of today’s conversation on climate change? There were deniers then as well, even when confronted with a hole in the sky.

But my friend President Ronald Reagan, as conservative as he was, was equally a conservationist, who loved the great American outdoors. He lived for weekends at Camp David and vacations at his ranch in California. He was also a survivor of skin cancer. He got it. And he was a good listener.

I should also say about my friend President Reagan that he overcame his initial skepticism about acid rain to work with us in developing an approach to dealing with it.

On March 11, 1981, when Ronald Reagan visited Ottawa for the first time as president, he was greeted by tens of thousands of protesters on Parliament Hill. They shouted and waved placards that conveyed a single powerful message: “Stop Acid Rain!”

Canadians were literally shouting at the rain.

Ten years later almost to the day, on March 13, 1991, the first President Bush and I signed the Acid Rain Accord in the Centre Block on Parliament Hill. There wasn’t a protester in sight.

I regarded it as a litmus test of Canada-U.S. relations and said so to both Presidents Reagan and Bush. In fact, on a visit to Ottawa in 1987, then-Vice President Bush famously said he “got an earful on acid rain” over lunch at 24 Sussex. He certainly did.

At the Shamrock Summit in Quebec City in March 1985, we agreed to the naming of special envoys on acid rain, former Ontario premier Bill Davis for Canada and former transportation secretary Drew Lewis for the United States.

They completed their important work in January 1986. On the U.S. side, President Reagan accepted their recommendation for $5 billion for developing clean energy, including $2.5 billion for demonstration and innovative technology over five years. And in his address to Parliament in April 1987, he concluded with a sentence he added to his speech following a working lunch at 24 Sussex. “The Prime Minister and I agreed,” he declared, “to consider the Prime Minister’s proposal for a bilateral accord on acid rain, building on the tradition to control pollution of our shared international waters.”

But even as we were talking to the Americans, we were taking action with the provinces and industry, implementing a “Clean Hands Policy” of leading from the front.

Even before the Shamrock Summit, in February 1985, within only six months of taking office, we had already persuaded the seven provinces east of Saskatchewan to agree to reduce their sulfur dioxide emissions to 50 per cent below 1980 levels by 1994, by 2.3 million tonnes.

We also made sure that industry, which was a big part of the problem, became part of the solution. For example, the INCO smelter at Sudbury was the largest producer of SO2 emissions in Canada. When we told INCO they had to cut their emissions in half, they said they would go out of business. But we held the line, and you know what? They commercialized the sulfur, became the lowest cost producer of nickel and their profits went up instead.

The Clean Hands narrative also gave us moral leverage when I had the high honour of addressing a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress in April 1988.

As I told them: “We have concluded agreements with our provinces to reduce acid rain emissions in eastern Canada to half their 1980 levels by 1994. But that is only half the solution—because the other half of our acid rain comes from across the border, directly from the United States, falling upon our forests, killing our lakes, soiling our cities.
“We acknowledge our responsibility for some of the acid rain that falls on the United States. Our exports of acid rain to the U.S. will have been cut in excess of 50 per cent. We are asking nothing more than this from you.”
And I left Congress with this question: “What would be said of a generation of North Americans who found a way to explore the stars, but allowed their lakes and forests to languish and die?”
Not only was the dispute over acid rain resolved, the problem was solved.

A quarter century later, we have answered the question—we have not allowed our lakes, rivers, streams and forests to languish and die. Acid rain is no longer an issue in protecting our environment and our quality of life.

We answered the call.

Always remember: history will judge us not on the speeches we make but on the results we deliver.

The present government, under the leadership of the Prime Minister and Minister McKenna, has also answered the call, beginning with the Paris Agreement in December 2015. The government is also phasing in a carbon price over five years beginning in 2018–except for Quebec and Ontario which have created cap and trade markets, while also approving the proposed twinning of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline.

As the (present)  Prime Minister said earlier this year: “Environmental protection and resource development go hand in hand.” The environment and energy are not competitive, they are complementary public policy issues. As I said to the U.S. Congress nearly 30 years ago: “They are not mutually exclusive, but mutually reinforcing.”

Canada has the world’s third largest proven reserves of oil and we are not going to leave 170 billion barrels of oil in the ground. But we need to extract the resource and transport it to tidewater in an environmentally sustainable manner, and the energy industry in Alberta has already made significant strides in this regard and Canadians have the ingenuity to do the rest.

Allow me to conclude on a personal note on climate change and global warming.

The science is incontrovertible, and the evidence is before our eyes every day—in the wildfires that have raged in the forests of Alberta, British Columbia and California, and in the hurricanes incubated in the warming waters of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico that have devastated Texas, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The United Nations weather agency says that 2017 is set to become the world’s third warmest year on record, behind only 2015 and 2016, when record temperatures were driven by El Nino. In other words, the last three years will go down as the warmest in world history.

So while there is much to celebrate on this auspicious anniversary, there is much to be vigilant about. Minister McKenna has taken up the good fight as a champion of the environment on behalf of us all.

In this, party or partisan lines should be minimized as much as humanly possible. We are all on the same side, determined to leave a better world and a more pristine environment to our children and grandchildren. It is the least we can do. In the spirit of the Montreal Protocol, let’s get to work. Right here. Right now. END

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New paradigms from UN Secretary-General : ‘fair-globalisation’ and ‘going-beyond’ Paris climate agreement. But is UN ready?

UNHCR-Chief1António Guterres, United Nations Secretary General in his speech in July 2017 says UN is not ready for bending global mega-trends of inequality and ecological degradation . (more…)

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Achim Steiner On Agriculture : Productivity, People, Planet , Prosperity, Poverty and Peace

maxresdefaultAchim Steiner’s  best comes out when he addresses complex topics like this one “‘The Agricultural Economy of Tomorrow: Opportunities for Transforming our World”. 

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Designing by keeping the Nature at the Centre-My Commencement Speech to Graduates of MIT Institute of Design-Watch

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Charity Begins at Home and Peace begins at Campus

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Think Global, Act Local: From ‘We the People’ to ‘We in the Peninsula’.

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John Kerry’s Swan Song with beats of Trump-et

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maxresdefaultLess worldly, more wise. John Ashton was the UK Government lead negotiator in global climate talks for six years. He gave this speech to an energy industry conference in Paris. He addressed it to Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell. (more…)

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John Kerry travels from Terrorism to HFCs.

3K1A5774John Kerry came straight from Terrorism related meeting in Washington DC to to HFCs meeting in Vienna to promote action to address climate change .

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Renewable Energy EmPOWERing youth

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Investment for power generation   infrastructure is migrating from the developed economies in the North to the developing economies, in political known as “global south” and from digging underground like for fossil fuels to flapping in the skies and riding on the oceans.

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Watch the presentation that I gave :

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Three decades of Stratospheric Odyssey

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Is talking sustainability an escape route?

J. Sachs
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Floods of promises: Climate summit of UN SG at NY

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Success, tangible and unintended results-Montreal Protocol

Achim Steiner 1

“By 2030, the Protocol may be preventing 2 million cases of skin cancer each year. It will have prevented significant loss of food crops which in turn would have compounded future severe food security challenges” Achim Steiner, USG and ED of UNEP.

Speech:

Distinguished delegates, Dear colleagues,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you today to the joint meeting of the Conference of the parties to the Vienna Convention and the parties to the Montreal Protocol.

As we gather here, other events are forming around us. We are now on the eve of 2015, a year which will mark 30 years since the adoption of one of the most successful environmental conventions, the Vienna Convention and also a year of important negotiations – economy, sustainable development , climate change.

Overview / Setting the scene

Your work on ozone-depleting substances is one of the greatest success stories of international environmental management in global partnership with universal ratification.

Great success not only of science informing policy, of nations acting together on the basis of science via the Montreal Protocol, but also a shining example of using the United Nations as a platform upon which technology development, technology transfer and financing have been implemented successfully to reach the objective of protecting the global commons. I intentionally left out capacity building just to give emphasis on one of the most precious tools that you have in your hands, the fact that every developing country has its own ozone officer with the respective infrastructure that accompanies him/her. Your decisions have empowered you with the resources and the knowledge to act.

The Montreal Protocol has been and will continue to be a journey of success, a journey of challenge and a journey of hope. Success because of the Protocol’s achievements; Challenge because of the recognized imperative to maintain the world’s commitment to phasing out ozone-depleting substances; and Hope because by combining international efforts where we come to see the common interest, we can achieve further breakthroughs in protecting the environment and human wellbeing.

The success and tangible results 

In this journey of almost 30 years now, we have succeeded not only through the commitment of all parties but also through the daily choices of all individuals around the world, to phase out more than 98% of ozone-depleting substances.

So, what does this achievement mean?

When people ask “why do these achievements matter for me” or “why does the ozone hole matter for me?” you can very proudly respond that by 2030, the Protocol may be preventing 2 million cases of skin cancer each year. It will have prevented significant loss of food crops which in turn would have compounded future severe food security challenges. Your Environmental Effects Assessment Panel provides you with this information. According to the US EPA, with the 1997 amendment of the Montreal Protocol, 22 million additional new cataract cases avoided for Americans born between the years 1985 and 2100.

As a result of your coordinated efforts, our planet has responded. According to the latest assessment from the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol that I had the honour to launch in the second week of September, the world avoided a global problem by getting rid of ozone-depleting substances via the Montreal Protocol.

Without the Protocol, we would probably have seen large ozone layer depletions around the globe and Antarctic ozone hole would be larger and deeper today. And with it, we are starting now to see encouraging signs that the ozone layer is on track to recovery by the middle of this century. The Earth is healing itself because we are taking away the ozone depleting substances.

This recovery sends to the global community three powerful messages directly to policy:

  • First, we needed strong global partnership and united action to achieve results,
  • Second, we needed to be patient and persistent to see the positive results of our actions. It can take a significant amount of time for vital support systems on the planet to recover. Simply turning off the source of emission doesn’t immediately solve the problem.
  • Third, a decision taken at one point in time will bring results much later in the future and this need to be factored into any international discussions and negotiations.

The success and the unintended side effect
Ozone layer protection has contributed a lot to climate change mitigation. Although the parties have been mindful of not causing adverse impacts on the environment, the climate change effects of HFCs in the future may off-set the good work done by the Montreal Protocol in climate change mitigation if not addressed.

Science provides us with a much clearer understanding today that we are dealing here with an issue that couples the ozone layer with climate change. Between these two, there are connections in science, in man-made emissions that cause them and in the policy options for dealing with them.

Key issues on the agenda of the meeting
I would like to turn to some key issues on the agenda of the meeting and first of all the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund.

The replenishment of the Multilateral Fund for the 2015 to 2017 triennium will enable the continuation of the HCFC phase out activities.

As developing countries grow, they will produce more refrigeration and air conditioning systems not only to improve their standards of living but for export around the globe. The more countries become developed, more energy will be needed, and more chemicals will be used.

Many developing countries are rightly addressing energy efficiency as a primary concern.  Addressing energy efficiency in the HCFC phase out process, especially in the refrigeration and air conditioning sectors, can play an important role for ensuring technology choices that benefit the ozone layer, reduce the climate impact and reduce energy consumption.

This is the equation of multiple benefits and triple dividends that the countries have to achieve. Only in this way will it be possible to capture the HCFC phase out as an opportunity for making the right technology choice and investments.

Negotiation of the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund comes at a critical stage when developing countries are in the midst of planning and implementing the HCFC phase-out activities and many developed countries are facing financial difficulties.  It is a challenge to ensure continuity of the world’s first financial mechanism of its kind that has been at the foundation of the Montreal Protocol’s global partnership. A successful outcome of sufficient replenishment that will enable climate friendly choices will have implications that uphold an impact for several years to come, and send a profound signal for the Montreal Protocol moving forward on all of the challenges ahead.

But money is not the only concern for developing countries.

There are issues such as technical questions on the availability of low GWP alternatives for phasing out HCFCs, the costs involved and the real technology transfer that need to be addressed.

So, the question we face is how we can best make the transition to HCFC phase-out through a very successful instrument like the Montreal Protocol, and by best using the Multilateral Fund which precisely is here to help countries access technology which previously had been out of their reach.

Our challenge is to ensure access to technology and development of technology appropriate for all regions including those with hot climates by addressing at the same time intellectual property concerns. The ingenuity of the Montreal Protocol is its flexibility, to use regulatory framework to allow science to become the foundation for a market-compatible deployment strategy. Industries around the world are also hearing the messages of the Montreal Protocol and are responding as they have done in the past.

 

Conclusion
Distinguished delegates,

In order for the global partnership between the developed and the developing countries to work, we must continue to build on the foundation of the “principle of common but differentiated responsibilities” and “fairness”.

The discussion on high GWP or low GWP alternatives for HCFC phase out is a discussion that takes place at a period when the low GWP alternatives are gaining a market niche globally due to national or regional policy measures.

We need to recognize all of these factors in the discussions that are taking place.

Otherwise, resulting banks, “waste banks”, the sources of future emissions will be huge.

We all need to see the wider picture.

We have ahead of us a difficult year of negotiations.

Negotiations that will have an impact on climate, on our planet, on our lives.

Negotiations under the UNFCCC that will have an impact on the energy choices we make.

Negotiations under the Montreal Protocol that will have an impact on the chemicals we use.

The issue is not always to compare the two options but to go forward with steps that will have a positive impact and that can help discussions in other international fora as well to move forward.

Successful implementation to achieve sustainable development as an ultimate goal has to rely on relevant tools, sound governance structures and enhanced capacity to respond. This is exactly the success story that the DNA of the Montreal Protocol has delivered in continuing to inspire and catalyze us to further action in facing the challenges ahead. Addressing many of them may not be easy, but with the spirit of cooperation, openness, fairness and respect for all views, I am confident we can achieve our ambitions.

The commitment that helped to breathe life back into the ozone layer is still with us – we only need to tap into it.

Thank you

– See more at: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?l=en&DocumentID=2813&ArticleID=11077#sthash.zCLKGqCB.dpuf

(more…)

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