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World : EC OKs Strong Ozone Layer Pact

<i> From Times wire services </i>

European Community environment ministers agreed today on a surprise pact that would virtually eliminate household gases used in refrigerators and spray cans that are destroying the Earth’s protective ozone layer.

An EC spokesman said the ministers had agreed to eliminate chlorofluorocarbon production and consumption by the year 2000, and to an 85% cut as soon as possible.

“This is a quantum leap forward,” Britain’s Lord Caithness told reporters. The ministers had originally expected to agree only on an 85% cut by the end of the century.

About 40 countries agreed in a treaty signed in Montreal in 1987 to halve CFC production by 1998. Diplomats said the 12-nation community wants to take the lead in pushing the world toward total cuts.

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