Nearly 200 nations will gather on Sept. 15 to discuss the Montreal Protocol, a 20-year-old treaty put into place to phase out the nasty chemicals that contribute to the thinning of the ozone layer. At the meeting, a dozen countries plan to suggest that participating nations move up the deadline for a full phaseout of refrigerating chemicals called HCFCs; the most ambitious plan will be presented by the Bush administration. No joke. The U.S. hopes to move up the deadline by a decade, to 2020 for industrial nations and 2030 for developing nations. U.S. chemical companies are in favor of the plan, hoping a stricter timetable will drive up demand for newer, less ozone-effing refrigerants. But China, which has taken in some $4 billion in profits by reducing emissions at its many refrigerant factories and selling credits on the global carbon market, is likely to strongly oppose the U.S. plan. So, uh: USA! USA! USA! Or whatever the kids say these days.

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