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Nations agree on plan to get rid of ozone-depleting chemical

THE CANADIAN PRESS

MONTREAL — The governments of almost 200 countries have agreed to speed up a plan to eliminate an ozone-depleting substance.

Officials met in Montreal this week to discuss hydrochlorofluorocarbons — or HCFCs — used in home appliances, some refrigeration equipment and air conditioners.

Countries agreed Friday night to freeze production and consumption of HCFCs in 2013 and phase them out by 2030 — 10 years sooner than an earlier agreement.

Environment Minister John Baird says HCFCs damage the ozone layer and contribute to climate change.

Baird says he is proud Canada played a role in the “huge consensus.”

The conference came on the 20th anniversary of what is known as the Montreal Protocol, a United Nations agreement negotiated by 191 countries to cut back on chemicals blamed for destroying the ozone layer.

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