Working Paper 94-56, February, 1994.

By David W. Cook

This paper was written in conjunction with the Fall 1993 Natural Resources and Environmental Policy Seminar of the University of Colorado Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program in Environmental Policy. All ideas presented are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Consortium or the University. For more information, contact the Conflict Resolution Consortium, Campus Box 327, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0327. Phone: (303) 492-1635, e-mail:

© 1994. David W. Cook. Do not reprint without permission.


This is a study on the issue of how the world should address the issue of ozone depletion. The focus is on the conflict over the formation of the U.S. position in the negotiations leading up to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

The issue of ozone depletion arose in the early 1970s and continues today. The debate over the United State's international negotiating position began in the late 1970s and came to a head in 1986. The debate within the Reagan Administration continued until a few months before the protocol was signed September 16, 1987.

The aims of the study are to briefly describe the case, apply some of the analytical tools learned in the seminar, and make policy recommendations for conflict resolution in this and other cases based on what is learned.[1]


The basic model of the process of creation and destruction of stratospheric ozone by photodissociation was developed in 1931 by Sydney Chapman (Cagin & Dray, 1993). Early discussion of anthropogenic ozone destruction began in 1965 with English scientist John Hampson's research on the stratospheric environment and intercontinental ballistic missiles. He and Boeing scientist Ted Harrison both raised the possibility that the exhaust from the proposed fleet of supersonic transport planes would deplete the ozone layer (Cagin & Dray, 1993). Harrison published a 1970 article in Nature estimating that the world SST fleet would lead to a 3.8 percent decrease in global ozone (Harrison, 1970).[2]

In the mid-1960s, the British scientist James Lovelock invented an "electron capture detector" capable of measuring minute concentrations of gasses in the atmosphere. In 1969 he found measurable concentrations of the stable chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) molecules in the lower atmosphere and notified CFC manufacturers (Lovelock, Maggs, & Wade, 1973), (Williams, 1986). Chlorofluorocarbon had been invented in 1928 by General Electric chemist Thomas Midgley. This new compound was developed as a safe replacement for the hazardous refrigerants then in use in the fledgling refrigerator industry.[3]

In 1974, Richard Stolarski, Ralph Cicerone, and Bob Watson began exploring the chemistry of stratospheric ozone destruction by chlorine, though no link was made to CFCs (Stolarski & Cicerone, 1974). Following on earlier concerns over harmful effects of SST exhaust, their concern was with the stratospheric effect of space-shuttle exhaust. However, the origin of the actual CFC-ozone depletion debate was the 1974 publication by Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina in the journal Nature of their theory that CFCs could provide a source of ozone destroying stratospheric chlorine (Molina & Rowland, 1974).[4]


As word got around about this potential threat to life, the issue was perceived differently by American science, industry, government, the public, and the budding environmental movement. Internationally, the response also varied broadly from country to country (Downing & Kates, 1982). Because the various parties saw the problem differently, they responded in different and sometimes mutually exclusive ways. This led to a fundamental conflict between those who thought the government should quickly act to protect life by restricting or eliminating CFCs, and those who thought government action to be unnecessary, harmful, or premature.

In addition to the fundamental conflict between "better safe than sorry" and "wait and see" approaches, there have been numerous tactical conflicts in the course of developing national and international responses to the problem. The focus of this study is the conflict around the formation, promotion, and the defense of the United States negotiating position in the run-up to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (US Senate, 1987a).


Above, I mentioned "fundamental" and "tactical" conflict. One could envision a continuum ranging from an immediate and total ban on ozone depleting chemicals on one end, to no regulation or restrictions of any sort at the other end. These two extremes represent fundamentally different responses to the same situation. Between the poles, many parties have taken different positions at different times. Two parties may agree on the need to reduce CFC emissions, but disagree over when, how, how much, where, who, or why. These are the tactical conflicts.

In identifying "principal issues", I see two sorts, fundamental and tactical. Benedick (1991) identifies eight categories of principal issues in the negotiations for the Montreal Protocol:

1. what chemicals would be included

2. whether production or consumption of these substances would be controlled

3. the base year from which reductions would be calculated

4. the timing and size of cutbacks

5. how the treaty could enter into force and be revised, including the issue of weighted voting

6. restrictions on trade with countries not participating in the protocol

7. treatment of developing countries with low levels of chlorofluorocarbon consumption

8. special provisions for the European Community

These are largely tactical questions, assuming a fundamental agreement that CFC production ought to be cut back world-wide. However, conflicts over many of these issues may be based in the more fundamental conflict, eg, arguments against production cuts or inclusion of additional chemicals. Also, there is an additional set of issues that are more fundamental or general, but find specific application in this case:

The role and responsibility of government. One view holds that it is the government's responsibility to protect its citizens against any reasonable threat to their health and well-being. The other view holds that the government should not interfere with private activity unless it is proven that the given activity is very harmful; and that the harm clearly outweighs any benefits.

The evolving scientific understanding of ozone depletion. Appearing initially as a theory of ozone depletion, there was discussion over the extent and the certainty of the associated threat. While the very existence of the phenomena theorized was questioned by the opposition, research has consistently upheld the theory, though as models and assumptions have changed, the range of projected levels of ozone depletion and related impacts on human health have fluctuated.

Policymaking under conditions of uncertainty. While one group argued that it was irresponsible not to act to avert so potentially serious a threat (particularly when costs for an aerosol ban were low), others argued that it was rash to act when we really did not know if the problem was real, or how serious it might be.

Reconciling commercial and public interest. Governments were under pressure from groups concerned about both the harmful effects of potential ozone depletion, and others concerned about the harmful effects of government restrictions on the chemical industry. It is another case of the question, "how to formulate the `national interest'?".


One key category of stakeholder contains a variety of entities that make money directly from the unrestricted production and emission of CFCs. This group includes all the manufacturers of CFCs, as well as those who use CFCs in production, distribution, processing, or sales of other products or services. The CFC manufacturers are represented by the Chemical Manufacturer's Association. The manufacturers together with related industries, formed the Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy. Members of this category are largely "second parties"[5] (Burgess & Burgess, 1991).

The interests of this "CFC business and industry" category are to be able to continue to carry on their work, to make a living or a profit, as the case may be. They do not want their work to be needlessly or heedlessly complicated, restricted, or eliminated. Some members of this group may also have an ideological interest in being free from government regulation [6].

Another key category of stakeholders includes all life-forms sensitive to UV radiation, directly or indirectly. While a large variety of life-forms have a stake in this issue, only humans are conscious of the problem, and only a portion of them perceive their vital interests as threatened. According to the Burgess' (1991) party classifications, all four types of parties are included in this group, though it would be most strongly identified with first parties.

One could simply say that this group's interests are to not have the increased health risks that are associated with increased UV radiation. Because of CFC's long atmospheric life time, the lives of the next six to eight generations of humans are potentially at stake due to past CFC releases. Some members of this group may have a conflicting ideological interest in being free from government regulation. Others may have a congruent philosophical interest in being free from adverse human transformation of the biosphere.

A broad research community has a stake in this issue as well. The efforts of CFC producers and consumers (nearly everyone in the developed world) have created a problem that necessitates a substantial amount of research. Unfortunate as it may be, the threat of ozone depletion creates new and sometimes challenging employment in related research fields. First, second and third parties are found in this group, though more first and third (Burgess & Burgess, 1991).

There is the potential for members of this group of stakeholders to promote the need for further and related research; an interest in further funding and/or understanding. There is also the potential that this group may identify with the threatened life-forms group and slant their research in ways that highlight or exaggerate the problem. And, finally, members of this group may also share the interests of the business and industry group (through ideology and/or the paycheck) and slant their research in ways that obscure or minimize the problem.

The government, its representatives, agencies, and staff make up another stakeholder group. Their interests include some combination of retaining their jobs, serving public, and private interests. Ozone depletion offers this group an opportunity to expand its power and influence. However, it also leads to conflict with industry and other nations, both of which may complicate other aspects of government relations with these groups. The government can be said to contain all kinds of the Burgess (1991) party types, though in this case there was an interesting mix of third and first party activity, with a last minute flurry of second party activity within the government.

The media can also be seen as a stakeholder in this case. Conflict, disaster, doom, discoveries, momentous agreements, and political blunders all sell newspapers and attract TV viewers. There are special conflicts between science and the media, with the 20 second TV news bite and the scientific journal article being epitomes of the differences in communication modes for the two realms.

In this case, the interest of the mainstream national media was in getting the word out on a sometimes interesting and long running story. They qualify as fourth parties. But there were also the industry and environmentalist journals, to be found in the second and first party camps respectively.


The national conflict within the United States was given legal structure by the Clean Air Act amendments of 1977 (U.S. Congress, 1977a) and the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (U.S. Congress, 1978). Internationally, the conflict under study focused on an attempt to develop a restrictive, regulatory protocol to the 1985 "Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer" (US Senate, 1985b).

The Clear Air Act

In the midst of consumer boycotts of aerosol products using CFC propellant, the Congress passed the stratospheric ozone protection amendment to the U.S. Clean Air Act. The administrator of the EPA was authorized to regulate "any substance... which in his judgement may reasonably be anticipated to affect the stratosphere, especially ozone in the stratosphere, if such effect may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." (U.S. Congress, 1977a).

This legal authority set a low threshold for the justification of governmental action to protect the ozone layer. Benedick emphasizes this concept of acting on a "reasonable expectation" of damage to the stratosphere and to public health, as opposed to requiring conclusive proof. He points out that this concept was very influential in forming the US position internationally, in the entire negotiating process, and in the wording of the actual treaty (Benedick, 1991).

While the EPA was responsible for promulgating and implementing U.S. regulations to protect the ozone layer, the Clean Air Act (CAA) specifically required that "the president through the Secretary of State and the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, shall negotiate multilateral treaties for these purposes." (U.S. Congress, 1977b), (Benedick, 1991).

The Vienna Convention

The Vienna Convention was a non-regulatory "framework convention", recognizing that there was a problem, establishing a conflict resolution procedure, and facilitating cooperation in the area of research and sharing of information on the ozone layer. The United States had signed the Vienna Convention March 22, 1985, the US Senate ratified it in August 1986, and it went into force September 1988 after receiving its 20th ratification; by March 1992 there were 80 parties to the agreement.

The Stockholm Declaration

More generally, the conflict found an international legal basis in "Principle 21" of the "Stockholm Declaration" of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. "Principle 21" states that nations have a duty not to cause damage to the environments of other nations or to areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction (UN Conference on the Human Environment, 1972).

Domestic Regulations

Up to the end of August 1986, the US approach within the international arena was to support the position of the Toronto Group [7]. This position called for an international ban on non-essential aerosol uses of CFCs. Such a ban reflected domestic regulations adopted unilaterally by the US in March 1978, Canada in December 1978, Sweden in January 1979, and Norway in July 1981 (Downing & Kates, 1982).


In the part of the international negotiations reviewed, there was little lay public involvement. More recently, a number of Hollywood figures have raised money to buy CFC recycling machines (U.S. Senate, 1991). Earlier on, in the mid-to-late 1970s, a substantial portion of the lay public was convinced that the risks associated with CFCs was not worth the convenience of aerosol applicators for consumer products. A consumer boycott of these items ensued, followed by federal regulation enforcing a ban on the use of CFC as a propellant in aerosol products. The result was a 95% drop in aerosol uses of CFCs in the U.S.


Technical studies have played an important role throughout the ozone depletion issue. They have been used in court actions but their predominant role has been to drive the treaty negotiating process. The treaty itself was designed to respond over time to ongoing research. The initial debate was launched in 1974 by a theoretical study of the chemistry involved.[8]

Over the period from 1974 to 1985, eleven studies projected ozone depletion levels ranging from three to 19 percent (NRC, 1984), (WMO, 1986). A general trend of declining projected levels of depletion, combined with declining CFC production from 1978 to 1983 [9] led to reduced public and official concern over the issue (Benedick, 1991).


A cooperative international scientific venture was launched in late 1984 "to provide governments around the world with the best scientific information currently available on whether human activities represent a substantial threat to the ozone layer," (WMO, 1986). In work coordinated by NASA, 150 scientists from various nations worked for over a year. The project was cosponsored by NASA, NOAA, the US Federal Aviation Agency, UNEP, WMO, the West German Ministry for Research and Technology, and the Commission of the European Communities. The comprehensiveness of the study, its international character, and its incorporation of the latest research, all contributed to its credibility and influence.

This "WMO/UNEP study" showed that CFCs were continuing to build up rapidly in the atmosphere; that substantially greater amounts of damaging UV radiation would reach populated areas of the Northern Hemisphere; and, that not only CFCs 11 and 12, but CFCs 113, 114, and 115 and two bromine compounds, halons 1211 and 1301, were also damaging the ozone layer. None of these five compounds had been figured into the depletion projections. The release of these findings led to pressure on the negotiators to broaden the number of substances regulated and for substantial cuts in production.

EPA Risk Assessment

In preparing U.S. regulations forced by the NRDC's lawsuit, the EPA conducted a comprehensive risk assessment on the ozone depletion problem (US EPA, 1987). The 1,600 page, five volume study projected that unless emissions were curbed, the increased UV radiation would "cause 40 million additional skin cancers over the next eighty-eight years, 800,000 of them fatal, 12 million eye cataracts, and a growing number of immune system dysfunctions. Crops, forests, and aquatic communities would also be adversely impacted, and photochemical smog...would increase. Global warming, the report noted, would accompany ozone depletion and the consequent melting of polar ice would cause sea levels to rise dramatically, putting coastal areas at risk." (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

While the study clearly supported a total phaseout of ozone depleting chemicals, senior EPA staff, anticipating strong opposition from the EC, were formulating arguments for a freeze in production. In a late October meeting with staff, EPA administrator Thomas decided to call for a phaseout as "a more clear-cut goal to work toward. From a scientific point of view a phaseout was the correct goal because these were offending chemicals. All this discussion about a freeze seemed to blur the fact that this was the ultimate goal... I felt a phaseout was something we could defend better than what they were coming up with." (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

This study provided the final impetus for the U.S. to call for an eventual phaseout of ozone depleting chemicals. On Halloween Ambassador Benedick had the EPA position. On November 5th, 1986, he cabled American embassies explaining the U.S. negotiating position: favoring a near-term freeze on CFCs and halons, followed by a long-term phase-out over a schedule to be negotiated, and subject to periodic review. The position also included limited trade sanctions against non-parties. This is essentially the official negotiating position formally approved later in November as "circular 175" (Cagin & Dray, 1993), (Benedick, 1991), (US House, 1987).

Wurzburg Conference

One of the last atmospheric studies to play a significant role in the negotiations for the Montreal Protocol was a scientific conference held in Wurzburg, West Germany in early April 1987 (UNEP, 1987). Convened by UNEP on the basis of a U.S. proposal adopted at the second negotiating round in Vienna (February 1987), the Wurzburg conference focused on modelling the future effects of various regulatory strategies. The results of this study clinched the argument that all ozone depleting chemicals must be regulated, not just CFC 11 & 12. The development of an index of various chemical's ozone-depleting potential (ODP) allowed greater flexibility through trade-offs between different chemicals. This innovation led Japan to drop its stubborn opposition to regulation of CFC 113, used as a solvent in their growing computer and electronics industries.

CEA Cost-Benefit Study

Benedick also reports that in the midst of the late spring (1987) "antiregulatory backlash" against a strong U.S. position on the protocol, "A major break in the interagency debate came in the form of a cost-benefit study from the President's Council of Economic Advisors. The analysis concluded that, despite the scientific uncertainties, the monetary benefits of preventing future deaths from skin cancer far outweighed costs of CFC controls as estimated either by industry or by EPA." (Benedick, 1991).


Ozone depletion involves a variety of invisible, odorless gasses that destroy another invisible gas 20 to 40 kilometers above the earth, allowing imperceptible increases in invisible solar radiation. Once released, the CFCs can take as much as 40 - 150 years to reach the stratosphere where they are broken down, leading to increased UV radiation reaching the earth's surface. Some of the UV related damage is immediate, but, skin cancer, the most commonly discussed health effect, can then take 30 years to show up. Public misunderstanding of this issue abounds.


As related in the section above on scientific studies, and below on contradictory expert problems, the degree of credibility the public places in government action is strongly linked to the conduct of science and government, media, industry, and public-interest use of science (Nelkin, 1987).

A part of the explanation for the differing American and European responses comes in the role played by industry, by public interest groups, and governmental structure (Downing & Kates, 1982). Over time, the U.S. and the UNEP developed increasing credibility through an evenhanded, comprehensive, and international approach to the scientific study of the problem. However, at the outset, the Europeans were suspicious of U.S. science because in the earlier SST/ozone controversy U.S. science was wrong (Benedick, 1991), appearing biased against the interests of European industry (Dotto & Schiff, 1978).


One of the things that hurt the credibility of the process was industry's one-sided adversarial use of experts and "science". One of the ways science works is by a process of proposing, challenging, and testing hypotheses. While projections of potential ozone depletion changed over time with modelling assumptions, the basic hypothesis was never seriously challenged. Rather, ongoing research slowly backed up Molina and Rowland's original hypothesis (1974).

The scientific process is normally carried out by scientists conducting research and then submitting the results to the scrutiny of their peers through discussion at scientific conferences and in scientific journals. When science becomes politicized through interaction with economic and public interests and the prospect of government regulation, the debate expands to the marketplace, congressional hearings, the courts, the media, and in some cases, into the streets. Outside the traditional realm of science, one side may promote a single scientist's study, without peer-review. The public and government may be presented with a picture of two equal and opposing view-points, when in fact, 90% of the scientific community may be in agreement on one of those viewpoints. This tactic was used repeatedly in the ozone case by industry in attempts to discredit research results they didn't like, and to stall regulatory action.


Interpersonal animosities may figure in the development and direction of conflict. In this case, I have seen very little reference to interpersonal conflict and its role in this national and international policy process. There was one reference to a personal conflict between Ambassador Benedick and both OMB Deputy Associate Director of the Natural Resources Division, David Gibbons, and Rebecca Norton Dunlop, a senior aid at the Department of the Interior. She had apparently run up against Benedick's opposition to an earlier attempt by the Reagan Administration to cut off funds for international population control programs (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

One of the major escalations was in the step from the national to the international arena. This was a complex and interesting step, combining aspects of the "small --> large, specific --> general, and few --> many" types of escalation dynamics (Burgess & Burgess, 1991)[10]. The key factor behind this escalation, outside the physical dynamics of the atmosphere, was the passage of the stratospheric ozone protection amendment to the Clean Air Act (U.S. Congress, 1977a). This legislation gave the EPA administrator specific responsibility to protect the public health from threats to the ozone layer. The NRDC successfully sued the EPA administrator under this law to force him to act. This meant that the U.S. market and American industry would be subject to restrictions whether or not an international agreement was achieved.

Unilateral U.S. action could not solve the problem. However, it could have put U.S. industry at a disadvantage. It could also have taken the edge off of some nations' sense of urgency, allowing them to "free ride" on U.S. efforts at ozone layer protection, just as many nations did in the case of the earlier ban on aerosol CFCs.

This threat of strong domestic regulation in an international market provided an incentive to the domestic chemical industry to support international regulation, when faced with certain domestic regulation.

When the U.S. dropped its demand for an international aerosol ban and adopted the EC concept of production limits, it was a very clear de-escalation move of the "winning -> doing well" variety (Burgess & Burgess, 1991).

Polarization was a central theme as industry and environmentalists each promoted their view of the situation. U.S. negotiators working for a practical, strategic solution were at times frustrated by the insistently extreme demands of environmental NGOs such as the NRDC, even though they were generally correct. The tension in this polarization between apparent allies lies in their differing roles and perspectives on the process.

The environmental NGOs have to develop support within their membership. They do this by taking the "right" stand on a controversial issue in defense of the environment; often defining what others view as the "extreme environmentalist" position. Their attention is not necessarily focused on what is diplomatically, economically, or politically likely. Meanwhile, the U.S. negotiators hope to craft an agreement that is at once inclusive enough and yet also contains the seeds of a global solution. Given the "extreme environmentalist" position of a complete, immediate phaseout, it was not possible to garner enough international support for such a goal. However, it was possible to proceed through a series of steps that led to that same goal.[11]

Delaying strategies were employed numerous times by the parties opposed to or uncertain about placing controls on CFCs. Industry's attacks on ozone depletion theory were attempts to discredit it and thus delay regulatory action. Industry scientists, early in the debate, suggested CFCs would not break down in the stratosphere (Cagin & Dray, 1993). The early Reagan administration had another strategy to put off environmentalists, claiming that: "new domestic controls had to await international action, while, at the same time, the United States - whose cooperation was essential to any meaningful international agreement on CFCs - opposed international controls," (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

The EC attempted to delay international negotiations on the basis of their internal policy making procedure. And, one final example, early in the process, uncertain federal regulatory bodies delayed action more than once, often, awaiting the results of a scientific study.


The circumstances that eventually made possible the negotiation of a generally acceptable solution are the story of successful negotiations. In this case some of the important factors included:

An ongoing emphasis on inclusiveness. This required a multiple stage treaty process with a basic non- controversial framework followed by a regulatory protocol. This allowed time to build trust through ongoing diplomatic and scientific interaction.

The ability to create more acceptable substitutes for CFCs. If it were necessary to eliminate refrigeration as we know it to protect the ozone layer, what is a very difficult problem, would undoubtedly join the ranks of intractable problems.

CFCs were a significant, though not a central factor in the world economy. This is one aspect that makes ozone depletion more tractable than global warming. There are replacements for fossil fuels (eg, hydrogen), but such a replacement process would be a much bigger job than replacing CFCs.

As the science improved, the problem generally looked worse and worse. If there were substantially less of a consensus in the scientific community, and if the "ozone hole" had not been discovered at the last second, the necessary sense of urgency may not have been there.

American industry eventually came to see a rough common interest with environmentalists. Though industry may have been more interested in stabilizing their markets and business climate than in stabilizing the ozone layer, there was a surprising convergence of interests early in 1987 (Carpenter & Kennedy, 1991). In this case, it may actually have been more of a convergence of positions than of interests.

International competition and trade sanctions diffused support for the protocol through market forces. Individual companies used their environmental leadership to sell products, pressuring other companies to change (Cagin & Dray, 1993). Being forced to start looking for substitute refrigerants sooner, turned out to be an advantage for American companies later on. The threat of trade sanctions against non-parties, in combination with flexible compliance mechanisms, encouraged greater participation.

Clarification of the ground rules, and agreement on an international negotiating forum. The existence of UNEP, and its selection as a global forum provided continuity and order to the process, outside the partisan domination of any single national perspective or multi-national block (Parson, 1993).

The inherently unitary nature of the biophysical dynamics of the problem. All countries are at risk. No country is capable of protecting itself through unilateral action.


Procedural issues figured in the conflict a number of ways. In the early debate over CFCs in aerosols, three different agencies held responsibility. Because of this division, ozone depletion by aerosols was no one's clear-cut or sole responsibility.

Upon learning of the CFC/ozone depletion theory, the NRDC wanted to prod the government into immediate action to protect human health and the environment, and at the least, force discussion of who had the jurisdiction to regulate. NRDC's approach to this procedural/structural problem was determined in part by another procedural factor: of the three agencies, only the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was required to respond to petitions within a fixed period of time, 120 days. So on November 21, 1974 the NRDC filed a petition with the CPSC, citing new evidence supporting the ozone depletion theory and calling for a ban on CFCs used as aerosol propellants (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

On the international level, the U.S. took advantage of the rotating presidency of the European Community and serendipitous timing. Britain had been president and was strongly opposed to cuts in CFC production. When the presidency rotated to Belgium, the U.S. embassy in Brussels arranged for meetings between both U.S. and Belgian environment ministers and scientists. Contrary to Britain's desires and predictions, the Belgian presidency of the EC became an active proponent of a strong treaty in the crucial six months prior to the signing of the Montreal Protocol (Benedick, 1991).

Back on the domestic front, the final, heated debate within the Reagan administration over the U.S. negotiating position for the Montreal Protocol was introduced as a procedural question. The charge was that State Department and EPA proponents of a strong regulatory protocol had sneaked through their authorization for the radical U.S. negotiating position. The proponents maintained they had obtained formal approval from all the required departments and agencies. The opponents charged that the approval should have been at a higher level and proceeded to reopen discussion of the negotiating position, even while international negotiations were under way.

I know of only two instances of litigation in this case, both from the NRDC. One against the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in May 1975, and the other against the EPA in late 1984.

In the first case, in March of 1975, the CPSC had decided to defer judgement to the Interagency Task Force on the Inadvertent Modification of the Stratosphere (IMOS) on a petition from the NRDC seeking a ban on aerosols containing CFCs.

Unconvinced that the IMOS would act, NRDC attorney Tom Stoel requested executive committee approval for a lawsuit against the CPSC. "The jurisdictional dispute could drag on indefinitely and preclude effective action on this important issue. It will clear the air if the CPSC is compelled to decide whether it has jurisdiction, as its statute plainly requires. A decision either way would be better than the present situation" (Stoel, Michelman, & Compton, 1975).

The IMOS did act, (sort of) issuing its report June 13, 1975. It deferred to yet another study, one undertaken by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), due out by April, 1976. If the NAS agreed, IMOS said the aerosol ban could be implemented. The IMOS report also clarified jurisdictions, as desired by the NRDC. Regulatory responsibility for an aerosol ban would fall to: the FDA for foods, drugs and cosmetics; the EPA for pesticides; and to the CPSC for other consumer products, including spray paints. The report also supported passage of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), to provide for regulation of CFCs in air-conditioning, refrigeration, and plastics (US IMOS, 1975).

Following the IMOS report, the NRDC filed petitions with each of the three agencies calling again for action. September 13, 1976 the NAS study was released, supporting the earlier IMOS conclusions (NAS, 1976). Eight days later the IMOS met, calling for the initiation of the rule-making process to ban CFCs in aerosols (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

Filed in Federal District Court in Washington on November 27, 1984, the second NRDC suit asked that the EPA be required to issue rules within six months to limit further emissions of CFCs (NRDC, 1985). Just a few days after Lee Thomas took over as EPA administrator from Ruckelshaus, he and the NRDC arranged for an out of court settlement. They were later joined by a representative from the industry Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy in negotiations that laster nearly a year. The outcome was an agreement that the EPA would decide by May 1, 1987, whether additional domestic regulation was needed, and then issue rules, or say why not, by November 1, 1987 (US EPA, 1986).

Political actions also played a role in the conflict over the formation of the U.S. position. In September 1986, both Du Pont and the Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy reversed their opposition to the regulation of CFCs. While the industry was acknowledging the need for an international agreement and limits on the growth in production of CFCs, David Doniger, of the NRDC began calling for an 80% cut in production over five years and a total phaseout in ten.

Early the next month, (October 6, 1986) eight members of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works wrote a letter to Secretary of State George Schultz urging that the U.S. negotiate a global phaseout of CFCs. If the U.S. failed to do so, the Senators threatened to introduce legislation based on the NRDC position, complete with trade sanctions (Cagin & Dray, 1993). Later this month, the EPA, and then the State Department would adopt a similar position.

In March of 1987, one month before the third and final negotiating round before the September meeting in Montreal, David Gibbons, a senior OMB official, opened the "antiregulatory backlash" against the U.S. negotiating position. He established an interagency working group of the President's Domestic Policy Council (DPC) in order to reexamine the U.S. position independently of the State Department process. His opposition group included officials in the Departments of Interior, Commerce, and Agriculture, together with the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and parts of the White House staff. In addition to Gibbons, Interior Secretary Donald Hodel, Secretary of Commerce Malcom Baldrige, and Presidential Science Advisor William Graham were key players.

March 9, 1987, Michigan congressman Dingell, concerned about the need for CFCs in automobile air conditioners, charged that Ambassador Benedick and his EPA support staff were "negotiating on a seat-of-the-pants basis" lacking "adequate technical and policy support within the administration" (Cagin & Dray, 1993), (US House, 1987).

At the first of the meetings of the DPC's interagency working group on the ozone negotiating position, Gibbons (from OMB) announced that the DPC would henceforth set U.S. policy on CFCs, and that the U.S. delegation to the UNEP negotiations in Geneva next month (April 27-30) was to advocate nothing more than a freeze (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

June 5, 1987, the Senate passed (by a vote of 80-2) a resolution urging President Reagan "to strongly endorse the United States' original position...continue to seek immediate freeze...a prompt automatic reduction of not less than fifty percent...and virtual elimination of (ozone depleting) chemicals." (U.S. Senate, 1987b).

Secretary of State Schultz publicly proclaimed his support for the protocol for the first time on June 15th in the Washington Post, stating that he would continue to work for the protocol unless the president personally instructed him to do otherwise. DPC chair Attorney General Edwin Meese was reportedly impressed by Schultz's explanation that the U.S. would be required to adopt stringent CFC controls under the Clean Air Act, with or without a similar international agreement (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

The full DPC met with the president June 18th. Going against his conservative supporters, Reagan accepted every point of the State Department/EPA negotiating position. The U.S. would continue to call for a 95 percent cutback in CFC emissions but ultimately would settle for an agreement on 50 percent.[12]


The major weakness in the ozone protection process was that it did not happen sooner. The negotiation, ratification, implementation, and amendment of the Montreal Protocol "all took place with remarkable speed..." (Parson, 1993). However, the 1985 Vienna Convention (the basis for the Montreal Protocol) was delayed seven or eight years, "...opponents of international controls blocked the authorization of a negotiating body for four years, then advocates and opponents of controls deadlocked for four years." (Parson, 1993).

Parson has no suggestion on why opponents were able to delay selection of UNEP as the negotiating body for so long, nor does he address whether some other body might have been agreed upon sooner. He does address the second four year delay by suggesting that some member of the control advocating Toronto Group could have exercised leadership earlier. Specifically, by abandoning the self-serving demand that others should duplicate their own aerosol controls. Leadership was needed on forming a single Toronto Group proposal that would have imposed costs on proponents as well as opponents.

This type of time-saving improvement might be realized in the future by concentrating on interests as well as positions. Particularly by searching for common interests as opposed to the self-interests commonly emphasized in ongoing conflicts (Carpenter & Kennedy, 1991).

In this case, the failure was in the emphasis on self-interest, "we'll promote a plan that moves us toward our goal of ozone protection, but imposes much greater costs on the opposition" seemed to be the view of the Toronto Group. Whereas the EC group seemed to be saying, "we'll promote a plan that will sound good to the general public but will impose no costs on us. It won't protect the ozone layer, but we are not convinced it is needs protection anyway."

What was needed was an earlier focus on "what needs to happen to protect the ozone layer?", "what are a variety of ways to get that done?" and finally "for which approach are we most likely to be able to generate the necessary level of support?".

Also, were the NRDC in existence in the late 1960s, the issue might have been brought to the government four or five years earlier. The NRDC's public interest lawyers and atmospheric scientists might have put together the SST, space shuttle, CFC, and chlorine evidence in advance of Molina and Rowland. Environmental NGOs need to be eternally vigilant and press for research into potential threats. Better yet, efforts are needed to develop scientists, engineers and corporations with a greater sense of social and environmental conscience[13]. Hope for humanity lies in developing technology and business practices that are environmentally friendly by design, rather than relying on after-the-fact corrective measures.

In addition, I would suggest a variety of cross-fertilization approaches to international environmental policy development for participant groups. The trust and rapport building designed into the UNEP workshop process was a good move, more could be done with this (Carpenter & Kennedy, 1991). Additionally, this could be expanded to create a broad process for each group to both teach about itself and learn about the others: Environmental NGOs, Diplomatic Teams, Environment Ministries, Industry Groups, IGOs, and Science Groups. On a more in-depth level, each of these six elements should learn more about their counterparts in other countries, both personally and technically. Whether it be in the legal, public-interest, regulatory, diplomatic, business/industrial, or scientific realm, it could only help the process for individuals to know each other better and to be more familiar with trends and conditions of their area of concern in other countries.[14]

Funding and politics are interrelated. The Reagan administration repeatedly tried to cut U.S. funding to UNEP. UNEP is grossly under-funded to begin with. The Reagan administration also brought us Gorsuch and Watt and a related lull in effective environmental enforcement domestically and internationally. Such an administration is an important mistake to avoid in the future.


The international ozone protection process is widely acclaimed as a model.[15] Some of its positive aspects that may be worth modelling elsewhere include:

The experience that progress came out of the combination of trust/rapport building and the abandonment of narrow self-interests as a negotiating position. Examine the positions and motives of your own group and of the opposition. Look for potential commonalities.

The creation of a dynamic treaty process wherein action can be taken in steps as parties build understanding of the problem, of each other, and agreement on how to respond.

Designing international scientific research projects that foster communication and trust among scientists of different countries and different negotiating blocks, greatly reducing the use of science as a tool of narrow self-interest.

The development of flexible, comprehensive, ends-oriented controls with clear outside limits. This is essentially a market more than a command and control approach[16]. The limit is commanded by science, politics, and diplomacy. How to achieve that limit is left up to each party. Trading different ozone depleting chemicals on the basis of universal units greatly facilitates this, assuming the units are accurately conceived.

Science should speak its mind. If the research clearly suggests a total phaseout, say so. Don't mumble around trying to justify a freeze of production levels because it seems more feasible. Work with the negotiators on strategies for the use of the research findings.

Science is important but it does not determine the details of a treaty. Where a total ban was indicated by the science, this was not politically feasible. However, the command and control aspect of a treaty is not its only influence. Industry responds to both commands and to markets. Perhaps a mixed command and market effect is more palatable politically and will yield the scientifically desired result, even though the treaty language does not reflect it. A fifty percent ban and the threat of a phaseout was enough to stimulate the search for replacements for CFCs.

Watch out for cases with industry people on the national negotiating delegations (as with the EC up to the mid- eighties).

Concentrate on larger issues, the scientific details may vary widely over time. Ozone depletion is undesirable at five or twenty-five percent. In the end, the protocol wording was not science driven anyway. It stated what was politically feasible to state at the moment. This changed dramatically in less than a year.

With a process so difficult to understand and expensive to participate in (travel, science, implementation, etc.) it is important to provide informational orientation and equitable sharing of costs to encourage broader participation. This ought to translate into a more effective agreement over time.

Realities of First vs. Third World economic and scientific capabilities must be recognized and addressed. This treaty makes a first step by allowing additional time for Third World compliance, and by providing funding for compliance. More needs to be done in other agreements (particularly trade) to establish a more equitable distribution of wealth and to foster sustainable development in both the North and the South.

This was the first time NGOs were allowed to participate in such negotiations. More study is warranted on the issue, but it seems to have been a beneficial innovation.

The resources of the U.S. State Department are a potent tool for the international promotion of policy. Environmental NGOs and the State Department were able to work hand-in-hand, each in their area of comparative advantage, and to their mutual benefit.


I have to agree that the Montreal Protocol was a landmark agreement. Particularly the combination of its global and anticipatory natures. It is heartening to see that as the problem has clearly gotten worse, more countries have joined the agreement and the phaseout has been deepened and speeded-up. It is sad to think that many millions will suffer over the next century in spite of all this effort.

Looking back, I have to think that it is not all that remarkable that humans decided not to commit mass suicide. We can do better. I only hope that this is just a tiny first step, and that we will learn to solve environmental problems on the drawing board[17] instead of after we have messed up some part of the world.


Benedick, R. E. (1987, March 5, 1987). Press Statement, Vienna. New Scientist, p. 17.

Benedick, R. E. (1991). Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Boulding, K. E., Boulding, E., & Burgess, G. M. (1977). The Social System of the Planet Earth (Preliminary ed.). Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.

Burgess, H., & Burgess, G. (1991). "Intractable Conflict and Constructive Confrontation" (Working Paper No. 91-6). Conflict Resolution Consortium.

Cagin, S., & Dray, P. (1993). Between Earth and Sky: How CFCs Changed Our World and Endangered the Ozone Layer. New York: Pantheon Books.

Carpenter, S. L., & Kennedy, W. J. D. (1991). Managing Public Disputes: A Practical Guide to Handling Conflict and Reaching Agreements. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Cook, D. W. (1986). "International Law as it Relates to Transboundary Air Pollution and the Original Case: the Trail Smelter Arbitration." Unpublished Paper.

Dotto, L., & Schiff, H. (1978). The Ozone War. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.

Downing, T. E., & Kates, R. W. (1982). The International Response to the Threat of Chlorofluorocarbons to Atmospheric Ozone. American Economic Review, 72(2), 267-72.

Glas, J. P. (1986). Du Pont Position Statement on the Chlorofluorocarbon/Ozone/Greenhouse issues.

Harrison, H. (1970, November 13, 1970). Stratospheric Ozone with Added Water Vapor: Influence of High Altitude Aircraft. Science.

Lovelock, J. E., Maggs, R. J., & Wade, R. J. (1973). Halogenated Hydrocarbons in and over the Atlantic. Nature, 241, 194-96.

McWaters, B. (1981). Conscious Evolution: Personal and Planetary Transformation. Los Angeles: New Age Press.

Moiseev, N. N. (1989). The Study of the Noosphere - Contemporary Humanism. International Social Science Journal, 122, 595-606.

Molina, M., & Rowland, F. S. (1974). Stratospheric Sink for Chlorofluoromethanes: Chlorine Atom-Catalyzed Destruction of Ozone. Nature, 249, 810-12.

Morrisette, P. M. (1989). The Evolution of Policy Responses to Stratospheric Ozone Depletion. Natural Resources Journal, 29((Summer)), 803.

NAS (1976). Halocarbons: Effects on Stratospheric Ozone (NAS NRC Scientific Panel Report No. National Academy of Science National Research Council Panel on Atmospheric Chemistry.

Nelkin, D. (1987). Selling Science: How the Press Covers Science and Technology. New York: W.H. Freeman.

NRC (1984). Causes and Effects of Changes in Stratospheric Ozone: Update 1983. In Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

NRDC (1985). "Plaintiff's and Defendant's Joint Motion for Entry of Order". In Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. Lee Thomas.

Ornstein, R. E., & Ehrlich, P. R. (1989). New World New Mind: Moving Toward Conscious Evolution. New York: Doubleday.

Parson, E. A. (1993). Protecting the Ozone Layer. In P. M. Hass, R. O. Keohane, & M. A. Levy (Eds.), Institutions for the Earth (pp. 448). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Project 88 - Round II (1991). Environmental Policy for the 1990's. In Incentives for Action: Designing Market-Based Environmental Strategies (pp. 1-13). Washington, D.C.: Public Policy Study.

Stoel, T., Michelman, D., & Compton, R. (1975). Proposed Ozone Depletion Suit. In NRDC files.

Stolarski, R. S., & Cicerone, R. J. (1974). Stratospheric Chlorine: a Possible Sink for Ozone. Canadian Journal of Chemistry, 52, 1610-15.

U.S. Congress (1977a). Clean Air Act. In Washington, D.C.: US GPO.

U.S. Congress (1977b). U.S. Clean Air Act. In Washington, D.C.: US GPO.

U.S. Congress (1978). Toxic Substances Control Act. In pp. 11301-19). Washington, D.C.: US GPO.

UN Conference on the Human Environment (1972). Report of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment No. UN Doc. A/Conf. 48/14, 1972.). United Nations.

UNEP (1986). Revised Draft Protocol on Chlorofluorocarbons Submitted by the U.S. (Draft Protocol No. UNEP/WG.151/L.2). UNEP.

UNEP (1987). Ad Hoc Scientific Meeting to Compare Model-Generated Assessments of Ozone layer Change for Various Strategies for CFC Control No. UNEP/WG.167/INF.1.). United Nations Environment Programme.

US EPA (1986). Stratospheric Ozone Protection Plan. In Washington, D.C.: US GPO.

US EPA (1987). Assessing the Risks of Trace Gasses that Can Modify the Stratosphere (Risk Assessment No. US Environmental Protection Agency.

US House (1987). Ozone Layer Depletion (Congressional Hearing Report No. U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce.

US IMOS (1975). Fluorocarbons and the Environment: Report of Federal Task Force on Inadvertent Modification of the Stratosphere (IMOS) (Interagency Task Force No. Interagency Task Force on Inadvertent Modification of the Stratosphere, Council on Environmental Quality and Federal Council for Science and Technology.

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US Senate (1985b). UN Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. In Washington, D.C.: US GPO.

US Senate (1987a). Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Message from the President of the United States No. Treaty Doc. 100-10). US Senate.

US Senate (1987b). Senate Resolution 226 - Relating to International Negotiations to Protect the Ozone Layer. In Congressional Record-Senate (pp. 14864 and 14817-14831). Washington, DC: US GPO.

US Senate (1991). Preventing Ozone Depletion (Hearing No. S. Hrg. 102-137). Subcommittee on Environmental Protection of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, US Senate.

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WMO (1986). Atmospheric Ozone 1985. In Geneva: WMO Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project.

Wood, W. B., Demko, G. J., & Mofson, P. (1989). Ecopolitics in the Global Greenhouse US Department of State, Office of the Geographer.

Yanshin, A. L., & Yanshina, F. T. (1990). The Scientific Heritage of Vladimir Vernadsky. Impact of Science on Society, 151, 283-296.


My principal focus is on the period between the Vienna Convention (March 1985) and the Montreal Protocol (September 1987).

On the Heels of the Vienna Convention

Following the signing of the Vienna Convention, UNEP's Egyptian Director, Mostafa Tolba, called for two workshops before resuming formal negotiations toward a protocol. The first was held in Rome in May of 1986, and the second was scheduled for Washington, DC for September of the same year. Hosted by the EC and chaired by Britain, the Rome workshop fell into stubborn disagreements among the delegates, with the two camps defending their old positions.

The US EPA's John Hoffman noticed that the only time the workshop delegates made any progress was at an informal dinner held in a villa out of town where participants were able to relax and get off the topic. This observation became influential in planning the subsequent US hosted workshop four months later (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

In planning the Washington, DC workshop, Hoffman decided that it was more important "to change the character of how the people involved in the meetings were relating to each other." (Cagin & Dray, 1993), than to focus narrowly on regulatory strategies. Together with Richard Benedick, the State Department's chief negotiator, Hoffman set the US workshop in a conference center in rural Leesburg, Virginia instead of "official" Washington, DC. In addition, they

... scheduled numerous informal events, including a barbecue and a square dance, to help create a mood of congeniality. Their most strategic maneuver, however, was to announce on the first day of the workshop that the United States no longer believed an international aerosol ban was a viable control policy. Deprived of the issue that had been the focus of their resistance, the Europeans were left with no option but to approach the issue from a fresh perspective. The shift in the U.S. position and the relaxed mood of the conference succeeded in creating a new, less confrontational atmosphere for future negotiations. Ambassador Benedick, in his closing address to the participants, dubbed it "the spirit of Leesburg." (Cagin & Dray, 1993)

In his own account of the UNEP workshop at Leesburg, Benedick relates that

Participants examined alternative control strategies in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, with the luxury of not being bound by official positions. Concerns over economic equity, problems of administration and monitoring, implications for developing nations, and similar issues were freely aired. It was possible to query, to interrupt, and to assume heretical positions just for the sake of argument, in a way that would have been impossible under the traditional etiquette of intergovernmental diplomacy. For the first time, for example, Soviet and Japanese representatives conceded that, at least personally, they could accept the need for international regulation. ... There was ... a growing general belief that some kind of international regime was required, that past national positions would have to be modified, and that every country would have to make concessions (Benedick, 1991).

Progress at the Sept 1986 Leesburg UNEP workshop was not confined to breakthroughs on the "warm fuzzy" front. Edward Parson relates several other sorts of breakthroughs:

The Leesburg workshop on regulatory strategies represented several firsts: environmental NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) participated in the international negotiating process for the first time; the USSR presented CFC production data for the first time; and several novel regulatory approaches were presented. The Canadian delegation presented an innovative proposal to restructure the debate over CFC controls by considering all CFCs comprehensively, deciding on an acceptable global emission limit, and allocating this limit to countries according to population and GNP in shares to be negotiated. Thought the proposal was not adopted, many participants credit it with refocusing the control debate more broadly and breaking the long-standing deadlock between the EC and the Toronto Group. An EPA report at Leesburg was the first to shift focus from ozone depletion to chlorine concentration, arguing that stabilizing the present chlorine levels would require an 85 percent cut in CFC emissions. (Parson, 1993).

While most analysts seem to think the "spirit of Leesburg" was an important turning point, they also recognize numerous other factors contributing to progress in resolving the international conflict on ozone depletion:

After two years as Reagan's EPA administrator, the hard-line anti-regulation, Ann Gorsuch, resigned in 1983, removing a significant barrier to US leadership on the issue. Gorsuch was replaced by Bill Ruckleshaus, who was actually a respected environmentalist.

In late 1984, Ambassador Richard Benedick, who would later join the Conservation Foundation, took over as head of the American delegation to the UNEP negotiations on the Vienna Convention.

Ruckleshaus, in turn, was replaced by Lee Thomas in 1985 (US Senate, 1985a). Though less well known than Ruckleshaus, Thomas, together with Benedick from the State Department, brought the US into the role of world leader on the ozone issue starting in 1986.

June 9, 1986, the New Yorker published an article by Paul Brodeur, highly critical of the industry and their unabated production of CFCs. Brodeur quoted Rowland extensively, the founder of the CFC/ozone depletion theory. He also recalled Du Pont's 1974 commitment to cease production of CFCs if it was shown that they posed a threat to human health.

Just following the Leesburg workshop, on September 16, 1986, the industry Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy issued a statement requesting that the U.S. government "work in cooperation with the world community under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program to consider establishing a reasonable global limit on the future rate of growth of fully halogenated CFC production capacity." (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

Later in September, Du Pont also issued a surprising turn-around statement, "Because of the new questions and concerns, the inability of science to define a safe, sustainable emissions growth rate for CFCs, and the fact that resolution of these and other uncertainties is not likely in the near term, we have concluded that it would now be prudent to take further precautionary measures to limit CFCs worldwide while science works to provide policymakers with better guidance." (Glas, 1986). Just a year earlier, Du Pont planned a major expansion of its CFC production capacity in Japan.

Simultaneously, Du Pont announced that environmentally and commercially viable alternatives were within reach, given the proper regulatory incentives. "If the necessary incentives were provided, we believe alternates could be introduced in volume in a time frame of roughly five years." (Glas, 1986).

Forming the U.S. Position

While the EPA was responsible for promulgating and implementing U.S. regulations to protect the ozone layer, the Clean Air Act (CAA) specifically required that "the president through the Secretary of State and the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, shall negotiate multilateral treaties for these purposes." (U.S. Congress, 1977b), (Benedick, 1991).

Following the Leesburg workshop, in preparation for the upcoming UNEP negotiations on a control protocol to the Vienna Convention, and as outlined in the CAA, Secretary of State Schultz authorized his Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OIES) to establish an interagency process to set a U.S. position and negotiating strategy. This interagency process drew upon input from two dozen government agencies. Throughout this "low-level interagency review" (Parson, 1993), EPA and State Department representatives reported to a senior-level working group of the White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC)[18].

The OIES-led interagency working group:

Decided that the 1985 U.S. position calling for a global aerosol ban had to be dropped because it would never be accepted by the EC.

Developed a consensus that to protect the ozone layer, overall emissions limits (as proposed by the EC) were needed, leaving the market to decide how to achieve them.

Agreed (contrary to the EC) that a freeze on emissions of CFCs 11 and 12 was not enough for several reasons:

Other ozone depleting chemicals needed to be controlled.

Some countries would not comply with the protocol.

Some increases in CFC use would have to be allowed for developing countries to get them to participate.

There had to be a large enough cut in CFC production to force industry to search for alternatives (Benedick, 1991).

The OIES-led interagency working group went through the established procedure for the approval of a U.S. position for an international negotiation. An administrative document "circular 175", laying out the proposed U.S. negotiating position was formally cleared by the Departments of State, Energy and Commerce, the Council on Environmental Policy, EPA, NASA, NOAA, OMB, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the DPC (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

The position thus established in circular 175 included three key elements:

1. A near-term freeze on the combined emissions of the most ozone-depleting substances;

2. A long-term scheduled reduction of emissions of these chemicals down to the point of eliminating emissions from all but limited uses for which no substitutes are commercially available (such reduction could be as much as 95%), subject to #; and

3. Periodic review of the protocol provisions based upon regular assessment of the science. The review could remove or add chemicals, or change the schedule or the emission reduction target. (US House, 1987)

Circular 175 also included a draft protocol text for review by the other parties at the negotiations. The draft text called for a production freeze at 1986 levels with "illustrative" scheduled reductions in phases: 20%, 50%, and 95%, with the timing left open to negotiation, and to be linked to periodic scientific reassessments. The draft text also included an important provision for trade-restrictions against non-parties and violators to create incentives for adherence to the protocol and to protect U.S. industry against competition from non-party nations (Benedick, 1991).


The principles of circular 175 were to form the basis of the .S. position in the negotiations following the Rome and Leesburg workshops. There were three formal rounds of negotiations, December 1986 in Geneva, and February 1987 in Vienna, and back to Geneva in April.

At the first round, the U.S. introduced a draft protocol (UNEP, 1986) based on circular 175, calling for a near-term freeze on CFC and halon production, a cut back over the long-term, periodic assessments, trade restrictions, and reporting requirements. The three Nordic nations offered an amendment to the U.S. proposal, calling for immediate 25% cuts instead of a freeze on production levels. The Canadians brought back their Leesburg proposal for a global limit, with national quotas based on a formula of population and GNP. The EC Commission reiterated its proposal for a cap on production capacity (Cagin & Dray, 1993), (Parson, 1993). Citing a lack of a negotiating mandate from the EC until the March 1987 meeting of its council of environment ministers, EC and U.K. representatives asked that the second negotiating round, scheduled for February, be postponed until April. This request for a delay was denied and the EC and U.K. delegations left the negotiations early (Benedick, 1991).

Most commentators credit the December Geneva meeting with little progress. However, for the first time, with the change in the U.S./Toronto group position, all parties were calling for some sort of overall limitation on CFCs. The differences were now between an immediate 25% cut, a freeze, and allowing production to increase up to the level of existing capacity.

U.S. Diplomacy

Ambassador Benedick, chief negotiator for the U.S. delegation, later commented that he felt one reason for the European position was that the issue had not caught the imagination of the general public in Europe as it had in the United States. Together with EPA head Thomas and other U.S. officials, he led an intensive campaign to build international support for a serious long-term control strategy.

U.S. negotiators, EPA officials, and scientists met extensively with foreign officials and scientists, and conducted live video discussions via satellite. Representatives of American environmental NGOs also travelled, encouraging European and Japanese NGOs to become active in the issue. Friends of the Earth U.K. ran an aggressive campaign through 1987, culminating in a boycott threat against twenty specific CFC-aerosol products. (Parson, 1993)

At the second round of negotiations, in Vienna in February 1987, Canada and the Nordics formally embraced the U.S. position, along with Egypt, Mexico, New Zealand, and Switzerland. In anticipation of the March meeting of their council of environment ministers, the EC representatives put forward an informal proposal for a 10 to 20% reduction in CFC emissions over ten years.[19]

Immediately following the negotiating session, Benedick stepped up the U.S. diplomatic campaign. At a press conference in Vienna, and in separate interviews with Austrian and West German television and radio, the New York Times, and NBC, he characterized the EC position as "ridiculous" and "Totally unacceptable" from the standpoint of protecting the ozone layer. He expressed disappointment at the slow pace of the talks and regret that "some participants at these negotiations seem to be concentrating more on short-term profits than on (a) common responsibility to conserve the environment for future generations." (Benedick, 1987), (Benedick, 1991).

The February meeting in Vienna did produce some progress. A firm date of September 1987 was set for the final negotiations on an ozone protection protocol. There was also support for a U.S. proposal to hold a scientific conference in West Germany in early April to evaluate models of the likely outcomes of various regulatory strategies.

Following this second negotiating round West Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark reportedly pressured Britain and France to move toward the American position. And Japan was said to be so impressed by the threat of U.S. trade sanctions that they began reconsidering their refusal to yield on CFC-113 (used as a solvent in cleaning electronics boards) (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

Meanwhile, amidst (and perhaps because of) all these signs of progress in the international negotiations, late but serious high-level opposition was surfacing within the Reagan Administration...

In between the February Vienna round and the April Geneva round, a conflict was played out within the Reagan administration with one side calling for a reduction of CFC production of up to 95% and the other side opposing any government action at all.

In March of 1987, one month before the third and final negotiating round before the September meeting in Montreal, David Gibbons, a senior OMB official, opened the "antiregulatory backlash" against the U.S. negotiating position. He established an interagency working group of the President's Domestic Policy Council (DPC) in order to reexamine the U.S. position independently of the State Department process. His opposition group included officials in the Departments of Interior, Commerce, and Agriculture, together with the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and parts of the White House staff. In addition to Gibbons, Interior Secretary Donald Hodel, Secretary of Commerce Malcom Baldrige, and Presidential Science Advisor William Graham were key players.

March 9, 1987, Michigan congressman Dingell, concerned about the need for CFCs in automobile air conditioners, charged that Ambassador Benedick and his EPA support staff were "negotiating on a seat-of-the-pants basis" lacking "adequate technical and policy support within the administration" (Cagin & Dray, 1993), (US House, 1987).

At the first of the meetings of the DPC's interagency working group on the ozone negotiating position, Gibbons (from OMB) announced that the DPC would henceforth set U.S. policy on CFCs, and that the U.S. delegation to the UNEP negotiations in Geneva next month (April 27-30) was to advocate nothing more than a freeze (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

This group met at the end of the working day, often late into the night, for a period of three or four weeks. They called in State Department and EPA officials, along with numerous experts from NASA, NOAA, and the academic research community to brief them on the issues (Cagin & Dray, 1993), (Benedick, 1991).

Industry was upset that the administration's negotiating position had gone so far beyond limits on production growth. However, the primary interest behind this last minute reassessment appears to have been ideological rather than economic. Administration conservatives wanted to present Reagan with a non-regulatory policy option and thought that industry itself had caved in too much.

This conservative libertarian approach led to the assertion by Gibbons that skin cancer was a self-inflicted disease of sunbathers and individuals choosing to live in the South. The government should not enact regulations costly to industry and society just to protect individuals from their hazardous lifestyle and locational choices. The obvious policy option was a personal protection plan advocated by Interior Secretary Donald Hodel. Hodel's plan called for individuals to avoid the sun, and to wear protective wide-brimmed hats, sun screen, and sun glasses.

The head of the independent scientific review panel for the EPA's risk assessment study, Dr. Margaret Kripke, head of the Department of Immunology at the University of Texas Cancer Center in Houston, appeared before one of the DPC working group meetings. She was "most taken aback by the hostility of the audience and the nature of the questioning." and "incensed" at the suggestion that skin-cancer was a self-inflicted disease. She later wrote to Gibbons that "The majority of the cases we see...cannot be characterized as belonging to the leisure or sun-worshiping sets.", continuing, "Most of our patients with skin cancer are farmers, ranchers, oil field workers and people who work on offshore oil rigs..." (US House, 1987). At the DPC interagency working group meeting, Kripke explained that skin cancer received the most attention because it was spectacular and had the most documentation, but that it was not the greatest area of concern in ozone depletion. Of greater concern were potential impacts on the global food supply and widespread outbreaks of disease due to the effects of UV radiation on the human immune system.

On May 20, 1987 the issue of the U.S. negotiating position went from the interagency working group, up to the full DPC, but no agreement was reached. On May 29th, Hodel proposed his personal protection plan at a White House meeting. The Wall Street Journal quoted him as saying, "People who don't stand out in the sun - it doesn't affect them". His aids leaked the story of Hodel's "common-sense" approach to the press, hoping to generate public opposition to the costly international regulations under negotiation (Benedick, 1991). Unfortunately for Hodel, news of his plan had the opposite effect.

Congress-persons responded with "bizarre," "absurd," "startling," "laughable," and a "band-aid approach." (Benedick, 1991). Even Dingell broke ranks with Hodel, supporting a protocol in September, and urging Hodel to abandon his personal protection plan. Hodel retreated, claiming he had been misquoted.

June 5, 1987, the Senate passed (by a vote of 80-2) a resolution urging President Reagan "to strongly endorse the United States' original position ... continue to seek aggressively ... an immediate freeze ... a prompt automatic reduction of not less than fifty percent ... and virtual elimination of (ozone depleting) chemicals." (US Senate, 1987b).

Secretary of State Schultz publicly proclaimed his support for the protocol for the first time on June 15th in the Washington Post, stating that he would continue to work for the protocol unless the president personally instructed him to do otherwise. DPC chair Attorney General Edwin Meese was reportedly impressed by Schultz's explanation that the U.S. would be required to adopt stringent CFC controls under the Clean Air Act, with or without a similar international agreement.

Benedick also reports that "A major break in the interagency debate came in the form of a cost-benefit study from the President's Council of Economic Advisors. The analysis concluded that, despite the scientific uncertainties, the monetary benefits of preventing future deaths from skin cancer far outweighed costs of CFC controls as estimated either by industry or by EPA." (Benedick, 1991).

The DPC met with the president June 18th. Going against his conservative supporters, Reagan accepted every point of the State Department/EPA negotiating position. The U.S. would continue to call for a 95 percent cutback in CFC emissions but ultimately would settle for an agreement on 50 percent.


1. The definition of this paper assignment in the syllabus calls for twenty- nine areas of description and analysis within a target of 4,500 words. Add an introduction and conclusion and that works out to 145 words per section, ie, one-half page. In most sections, this is quite a squeeze. I have combined these areas into fifteen sub-headings, allowing for one to two pages each. Where additional detail was necessary or desirable, I have used footnotes and appendices to augment the text, which, alone, is close to 4,500 words.

2. Boeing's chief engineer on the SST, John Swihart, accused Harrison of being "scientifically dishonest if not treasonous" for publishing research critical of the SST (Dotto & Schiff, 1978)!

3. In 1929 125 people were killed in a Cleveland hospital due to a methyl chloride refrigerant leak following an explosion (Cagin & Dray, 1993). Ammonia and sulphur dioxide were also used as refrigerants.

4. CFC production was increasing at 8.7% per year then (1961-1971) (Lovelock, et al., 1973). These stable, inert compounds were thought safe and were routinely released to the atmosphere, both from refrigeration equipment and in a wide variety of aerosol sprays. As their concentration increased in the atmosphere, atmospheric scientists began to wonder about "sinks" for CFCs, ie, where would they go? how would nature deal with/dispose of them? Molina and Rowland theorized that CFCs would last 40 - 150 years in the lower atmosphere, but that they would be broken down by sunlight (photodissociation) as they were carried up into the stratosphere. They theorized that in the process of breaking down, chlorine atoms would be released in the stratosphere. These added chlorine atoms, in turn, cause ozone to break down (Molina & Rowland, 1974). Stratospheric ozone is important because it absorbs the sun's harmful (deadly) ultra violet radiation, making possible life on earth.

5. The Burgesses group parties to a conflict into four categories:

First Parties: Activists or protesters who believe that existing social policies as enforced by governmental or other administrative authorities are unjust.

Second Parties: Opponents of the first parties--those that defend current social or political policies.

Third Parties: Official intermediaries, including police, administrators, professional intervenors (e.g., arbitrators, mediators, ombudsmen).

Fourth Parties: Bystanders who do not feel strongly about the issue but who are often caught up in the controversy.

6. Interestingly enough, for business and industry wishing to be free from restrictive national and international environmental controls, an obvious option is to refrain from creating the need for such controls; to take a pro- active approach by operating in a comprehensively sustainable manner.

7. The "Toronto Group" consisted of Canada, the United States, Switzerland, and the "Nordics", ie, Sweden, Norway, and Finland (Benedick, 1991) (Cagin & Dray, 1993).

8. Two months after publication of the Molina and Rowland article, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a petition with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), requesting a ban on CFC propellants in aerosol consumer products. The CPSC decided to defer judgement on such a ban on the grounds that it was waiting for the results of a study on both the science issues and agency jurisdiction.

The study was being conducted by the federal Interagency Task Force on the Inadvertent Modification of the Stratosphere (IMOS). Formed in January 1974, IMOS was made up of representatives of seven cabinet departments and five agencies. The study was chaired by Dr. Russell Peterson, chair of the President's Council on Environmental Quality. In June 1975, the IMOS found "a legitimate cause for concern." (US IMOS, 1975) and suggested regulatory action, but only if the upcoming April 1976 National Academy of Sciences study concurred (NAS, 1976). This study, finally released in September 1976, also supported regulatory action to ban CFC aerosols. Later that month IMOS met and voted unanimously to begin the federal rulemaking process to ban CFCs in aerosols (Cagin & Dray, 1993). The ban on CFC propellants in non-essential aerosol uses would phase-in, from production, to use in manufacturing, and finally to interstate shipment, from October 1978 to April 1979. What the NRDC wanted to accomplish in six months took four and a half years.

9. Declining due to consumer boycotts, national bans, and an economic recession.

10. This is the same sort of escalation that Wood, et al, refer to as moving up the ecopolitical hierarchy. As a problem increases in scale from subnational, to national, to international, to global, it is likely to become substantially more complex due to four factors: 1) increasing number of political jurisdictions, 2) increasing number of actors, 3) increasing complexity of ecological cause and effect relationships, and 4) greater institutional obstacles to enforcement (Wood, Demko, & Mofson, 1989).

11. I wonder to what degree the two groups are conscious of the interaction of their different yet interdependent strategies, roles, and perspectives.

12. Commentators point to two reasons for Reagan's surprising decision: 1) the strong and clearly expressed support of Secretary of State Schultz, and 2) The President had twice recently had skin cancers removed (Benedick, 1991).

13. A number of organizations are at work on this, such as the Pugwash and Student Pugwash organizations, started by Albert Einstein.

14. This sounds like grounds for proposals for more international, intersectoral, interdisciplinary conferences, especially in person, but augmented by e-mail and individual and small-group visitation programs. This may be a greater need in the environmental NGOs and third world members of all six groups, due to their more recent involvement in international affairs and/or relative poverty.

15. It is modeled on the earlier UNEP Regional Seas program, and it is often cited as a model for the global warming/climate change problem (Morrisette, 1989).

16. Major environmental advocacy groups now support the selective use of economic incentive mechanisms. These groups include the Environmental Defense Fund, the Wilderness Society, the National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Conservation Law Foundation (Project 88 - Round II, 1991).

17. I am interested in developing and researching this idea of pro-active environmental planning and development referred to alternately as an "ecological transition" (Cook, 1986), the "noosphere" (Boulding, Boulding, & Burgess, 1977), (Moiseev, 1989), (Yanshin & Yanshina, 1990), and "conscious evolution" (McWaters, 1981), (Ornstein & Ehrlich, 1989).

18. The DPC, chaired by Attorney General Edwin Meese, was a cabinet level body established by President Reagan to advise him on domestic issues. Its membership included nine cabinet secretaries from domestic departments, the Director of the OMB, the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Vice-President. For the ozone negotiations issue, the Secretary of State and EPA administrator were added to the group, along with representatives from the National Security Council, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Policy Development, and the Council of Economic Advisors (Benedick, 1991).

19. Around this time there was a growing scientific consensus that an 85% cut in CFC emissions was needed to reduce the dangerous level of ozone depleting chlorine in the stratosphere.