29 November 1987

North Korean agents plant a bomb on Korean Air Flight 858, which kills all 115 passengers and crew.

Korean Air Flight 858
Korean Air Lines Boeing 707 Fitzgerald.jpg
A Korean Air Boeing 707 similar to the one that was destroyed in the Korean Air Flight 858 bombing, wearing an older livery.
Date29 November 1987 (1987-11-29)
SummaryBombing, state terrorism
SiteAndaman Sea
14°33′N 97°23′E / 14.55°N 97.38°E / 14.55; 97.38Coordinates: 14°33′N 97°23′E / 14.55°N 97.38°E / 14.55; 97.38
Aircraft typeBoeing 707-3B5C
OperatorKorean Air
IATA flight No.KE858
ICAO flight No.KAL858
Call signKOREAN AIR 858
Flight originSaddam International Airport (Now Baghdad International Airport), Baghdad, Iraq
1st stopoverAbu Dhabi International Airport, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
2nd stopoverDon Mueang International Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
DestinationGimpo International Airport,
Gangseo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Korean Air Flight 858 was a scheduled international passenger flight between Baghdad, Iraq and Seoul, South Korea. On 29 November 1987, the aircraft flying that route exploded in mid-air upon the detonation of a bomb planted inside an overhead storage bin in the airplane's passenger cabin by two North Korean agents.

The agents, acting upon orders from the North Korean government, planted the device before disembarking from the aircraft during the first stop-over, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. While the aircraft was flying over the Andaman Sea to its second stop-over, in Bangkok, Thailand, the bomb detonated and destroyed the Korean Air Boeing 707-3B5C. Everyone aboard the airliner was killed, a total of 104 passengers and 11 crew members (almost all were South Koreans). The attack occurred 34 years after the Korean Armistice Agreement that ended the hostilities of the Korean War on 27 July 1953.

The two bombers were traced to Bahrain, where they both took ampules of cyanide hidden in cigarettes when they realized they were about to be taken into custody. The man died, but the woman, Kim Hyon-hui, survived and later confessed to the bombing. She was sentenced to death after being put on trial for the attack, but was later pardoned by the President of South Korea, Roh Tae-woo, because it was deemed that she had been brainwashed in North Korea. Kim's testimony implicated Kim Jong-il, who at that time was the future leader of North Korea, as the person ultimately responsible for the incident. The United States Department of State specifically refers to the bombing of KAL 858 as a "terrorist act" and, except between 2008 and 2017, has included North Korea on its State Sponsors of Terrorism list.

Since the attack, diplomatic relations between North Korea and South Korea have not significantly improved, although some progress has been made in the form of four Inter-Korean summits. Kim Hyon-hui later released a book, The Tears of My Soul, in which she recalled being trained in an espionage school run by the North Korean army, and being told personally by Kim Jong-il to carry out the attack. She was branded a traitor by North Korea, and became a critic of North Korea after seeing South Korea. Kim now resides in exile, and under constant tight security, fearing that the North Korean government wants to kill her.[1] "Being a culprit I do have a sense of agony with which I must fight", she said at a press conference in 1990. "In that sense I must still be a prisoner or a captive—of a sense of guilt."[2]


On 12 November 1987, the two North Korean agents traveled from Pyongyang, North Korea, on an airliner to Moscow, capital of the Soviet Union.[3] From there, the agents left for Budapest, Hungary, the following morning, where they stayed in the home of a North Korean agent for six days.[3] On 18 November, the pair traveled to Vienna, Austria, by car. After crossing the Austrian border, the guidance officer with whom they had stayed in Budapest gave the pair two forged Japanese passports. Posing as tourists staying in the Am Parkring Hotel in Vienna, the two purchased tickets from Austrian Airlines for flights which would take them from Vienna to Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia), then on to Baghdad, Abu Dhabi, and finally Bahrain.[3] They also purchased tickets from Abu Dhabi to Rome, Italy, for use in escaping after planting the bomb on the KAL flight.[3]

On 27 November, two guidance officers who had arrived in Yugoslavia by train from Vienna gave them the time bomb, a Panasonic transistor radio made in Japan, which contained explosives, a detonator, and a bottle of liquid explosive intended to intensify the blast, disguised as a liquor bottle.[4][5] The next day, they left Belgrade for Saddam International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq, on an Iraqi Airways flight.[4] At the airport, they waited three hours and 30 minutes for the arrival of KAL 858—the target of their operation—which took off at around 11:30 p.m.[4] The two bombers planted the improvised explosive device above their seats, 7B and 7C, and disembarked the aircraft at Abu Dhabi International Airport.[4]

After the attack, the bombers attempted to fly from Abu Dhabi to Amman, Jordan—the first leg of their planned escape route—but there were complications with airport authorities regarding their travel visas; therefore, they were forced to fly to Bahrain, where they agreed they would travel to Rome.[4] However, the bombers' passports were identified as forgeries at the airport in Bahrain.[4] Realising that they were about to be taken into custody, they both attempted suicide by ingesting cyanide hidden inside cigarettes.[6] Kim Sung-il was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, but the female, 25-year-old Kim Hyon-hui, survived.[7][6] The body of Kim Sung-il was sent to South Korea and subsequently buried in the Cemetery for North Korean and Chinese Soldiers.[8]


The aircraft operating Korean Air Flight 858 was a Boeing 707-3B5C, registered HL7406. It made its first flight in 1971, and at the time of its destruction, the aircraft was 16 years of age and had accumulated 36,047 flying hours.[9] By 1987, it had been painted in the new Korean Air livery with an official airline sticker for the upcoming 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.

Flight and explosion

The aircraft took off from Saddam International Airport (later renamed Baghdad International Airport) in Baghdad, Iraq around 11:30 p.m., flying to Gimpo International Airport in Gangseo-gu, Seoul, South Korea, with stops at Abu Dhabi International Airport in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand.

On the second leg of the flight, from Abu Dhabi to Thailand, KAL 858 was carrying 104 passengers and 11 crew members.[10] At around 2:05 p.m. Korea Standard Time (KST),[4] nine hours after the bomb had been planted and near the end of the flight, the bomb detonated and the aircraft exploded over the Andaman Sea (14°33′00″N 97°23′00″E / 14.55°N 97.3833°E / 14.55; 97.3833), killing all 115 on board.[6] The pilot transmitted his final radio message shortly before the explosion: "We expect to arrive in Bangkok on time. Time and location normal."[4] One hundred thirteen of the people aboard were South Korean nationals, along with an Indian national and a Lebanese national.[11] Many of the 113 South Korean nationals were young workers who were returning to their home country after working for several years in the construction industry in the Middle East.[11] A South Korean diplomat, who worked at the embassy in Baghdad, and his wife, were also aboard the flight,[11] though it is not known if they were the prime targets of the attack.[12] Wreckage from the flight was found inland in Thailand[13] around 140 km (87 mi) from where the detonation is thought to have occurred. The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were not located.[12]


According to testimony at a United Nations Security Council meeting, on December 15, 1987, Kim was transferred to Seoul, South Korea, where she recovered from the poison and, initially, said she was a Chinese orphan who grew up in Japan, and said that she was not connected to the attack.[6][14] Authorities grew more suspicious when, while being questioned in Bahrain, she attacked a police officer and attempted to grab his firearm, before being apprehended.[6] At the hearing, the main evidence against Kim was the cigarettes, which, analysis showed, were the type used by a number of other North Korean agents apprehended in South Korea.[6][14]

In January 1988, Kim said at a press conference that the government of North Korea ordered the attack to frighten teams from attending the 1988 Seoul Olympics.[15]

Speaking at the United Nations Security Council, Choi Young-jin, representing South Korea, said that after eight days of interrogation in South Korea, she was permitted to see a film of life in the country on a television screen, and realized that "life ... on the streets of Seoul was entirely different from what she had been led to believe." She had been taught that South Korea was an American puppet state that was fraught with poverty and corruption. However, when she saw how South Koreans actually lived, Choi said, "she began to realize that what she had been told while living in the North was totally untrue."[14] Kim then "threw herself into the arms of a female investigator" and confessed to the bombing.[14] In Korean, she said, "Forgive me. I am sorry. I will tell you everything,"[14] and said that she had been "exploited as a tool for North Korean terrorist activities", and made a detailed and voluntary confession.[14]

Workers and businessmen alike, government officials and diplomats, all stake their lives on the wings of civil airliners ... Therefore, any State-directed terrorist threat ... is naturally fraught with dangers for world stability and peace.

— Choi Young-jin, representing South Korea, speaking at the United Nations Security Council inquest into the attacks[14]

The escape route, she said, was to be from Abu Dhabi via Amman to Rome, but the pair were diverted to Bahrain due to visa complications.[4] She added that she had been travelling undercover for three years preparing for the attack.[6] Kim told investigators that when she was sixteen, she was chosen by the Workers' Party of Korea and trained in a number of languages.[6] Three years later, she was educated at a secret and elite espionage school run by the North Korean Army, where she was trained to kill with her hands and feet and to use rifles and grenades.[6] Training at the school involved enduring several years of gruelling physical and psychological conditioning. In 1987, aged 25, Kim was ordered to detonate a bomb aboard a South Korean jetliner, an attack that she was told would reunify her divided country forever.[6]

In January 1988, Kim announced at a press conference held by the Agency for National Security Planning, the South Korean secret services agency, that both she and her partner were North Korean operatives. She said that they had left a radio containing 350 grams of C-4 explosive and a liquor bottle containing approximately 700 ml of PLX explosive, with a timer set to go off nine hours after departure from Baghdad,[16] in an overhead rack in the passenger cabin of the aircraft. Kim expressed remorse at her actions and asked for the forgiveness of the families of those who had died. She also said that the order for the bombing had been "personally penned" by Kim Jong-il, the son of North Korean president Kim Il-sung, who had wanted to destabilize the South Korean government, disrupt its upcoming 1988 parliamentary elections, and frighten international teams from attending the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul later that year.[15] "It is natural that I should be punished and killed a hundred times for my sin," she said.[5] Writing in The Washington Post on 15 January 1988, journalist Peter Maass stated that it was not clear to him if Kim was coerced in her remarks or was motivated by remorse for her actions.[17] Kim was subsequently sentenced to execution for the bombing of KAL 858, but she was later pardoned by the President of South Korea, Roh Tae-woo.[12] "The persons who ought to be on trial here are the leaders of North Korea," he said. "This child is as much a victim of this evil regime as the passengers aboard KAL 858."[6]

Possible discovery of aircraft wreckage

In January 2020, a South Korean television news team from Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation reported that they may have found the main wreckage at a depth of 170 ft under the Andaman Sea. Tipped off by local fishing crews they conducted sonar scans which found a wing shaped object 33 ft long and a 90 ft long section believed to be fuselage.[18] Grainy images from underwater cameras were shown on South Korean TV[19] and, although there was no official confirmation that this was KAL 858 or its location, some families of the victims held a news conference demanding the fuselage be salvaged.[20]


North Korea

Kim Hyon Hui's testimony implicated Kim Jong-il, the son of North Korean President Kim Il-sung, to be ultimately responsible for the bombing[15]

The United States State Department specifically refers to the bombing of KAL 858 as a "terrorist act" and, until 2008, included North Korea on its State Sponsors of Terrorism list[21] based on the results of the South Korean investigation; North Korea was reclassified as a terrorist state in 2017. Charles E. Redman, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, said in January 1988 that the incident was an "act of mass murder," adding that the administration had "concluded that the evidence of North Korean culpability is compelling. We call on all nations to condemn North Korea for this terrorist action."[22] The action was discussed at length in at least two United Nations Security Council meetings where the allegations and evidence was aired by all sides,[23][24] but no resolution was passed.[25] North Korea continues to deny involvement in the attack on KAL 858, saying that the incident was a "fabrication" by South Korea and other countries.[6][12]

Kim Jong-il became the leader of North Korea in 1994, succeeding his father.[26] In 2001, right-wing activists and relatives of the victims killed in the attack demanded that Kim Jong-il be arrested for terrorism offences when he visited Seoul later in the year.[27] Two petitions were filed against him, with the activists and relatives stating that there was strong evidence—namely Kim's testimony—to suggest he was ultimately responsible for the bombing. They also called for him to make a public apology for the incident and formally compensate the victims' families.[27] The leader of a right-wing South Korean group, lawyer Lee Chul-sung, said, "Kim Jong-il must be arrested and punished if he comes to Seoul without admitting his criminal acts and offering an apology and compensation."[27] Kim Jong-il was not arrested, however. He died in December 2011, and was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-un.[28]

Kim Hyon Hui

I am guilty of a heinous crime. How do I dare to think of marriage? ... Being a culprit I do have a sense of agony with which I must fight. In that sense I must still be a prisoner or a captive—of a sense of guilt.

— Kim Hyon-hui, asked about marriage[2]

In 1993, William Morrow and Company published The Tears of My Soul, Kim's account of how she was trained as a North Korean espionage agent and carried out the bombing of KAL 858. As a gesture of contrition for her crime, she donated all of the proceeds from this book to the families of the victims of KAL 858.[29] The book details her early training and life in China, Macao, and across Europe, carrying out the bombing, her consequent trial, reprieve, and integration into South Korea. In the book, Kim states that Kim Jong-il masterminded the bombing, and gave her the order to carry out the attack.[6] It is also believed that Kim Jong-il masterminded the Rangoon bombing of 1983, in which North Korea attempted to assassinate South Korean president, Chun Doo-hwan.[6] Her story has also been turned into a motion picture, Mayumi, directed by Shin Sang-ok in 1990.[30]

In 2010, Kim Hyon-hui visited Japan, where she met the families of Japanese people abducted by North Korea during the 1970s and 1980s who were forced to teach North Korean spies to disguise themselves as Japanese—some of whom, it was reported, may have trained Kim Hyon-hui.[31] The Japanese government waived immigration rules in order for the visit to take place, since Kim is regarded as a criminal in the country for her use of the false Japanese passport in the attack. The Japanese press, however, criticized the visit, for which security was tight over fears that she might be attacked.[31] Kim arrived in the country on a private jet chartered by the Japanese government, and was ushered into a car shielded by large umbrellas. During the visit, she stayed in a holiday home owned by Yukio Hatoyama, prime Minister of Japan.[31] Kim today resides in an undisclosed location and remains under constant protection for fear of reprisals, from either victims' families or the North Korean government, which has described her as a traitor to their cause.[6]

In South Korean politics

In 2007, an association of families of victims released their suspicions on the official version of the events.[32] The Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigated the matter and found out that the bombing was "not a manipulation" by the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS).[33] In 2016, Kim Kwang-jin, a member of the National Assembly raised the suspicion that the bombing was done by the NIS during the unsuccessful filibuster of the anti-terrorism bill.[33]

Continuing tension

A South Korean checkpoint at the Korean Demilitarized Zone in August 2005. Tension between North Korea and South Korea has not improved since the signing of the Korean War armistice in 1953.[34]

Tension between North Korea and South Korea have not subsided since the signing of the armistice in 1953, and no formal peace treaty permanently ending the conflict has been signed.[34] In 2000, however, both countries held the first Inter-Korean summit, in which the leaders of both countries signed a joint declaration, stating that they would hold a second summit, in 2007. Furthermore, both countries were involved in militarily and ministerial discussions in Pyongyang, Seoul and Jeju Island in that year. On 2 October 2007, South Korean president, Roh Moo-hyun, walked across the Korean Demilitarized Zone in travelling to Pyongyang for talks with Kim Jong-il.[35] Both leaders reaffirmed the spirit of the 2000 joint declaration and had discussions on various issues related to realizing the advancement of South-North relations, peace on the Korean Peninsula, common prosperity of the Korean people, and the reunification of Korea. On 4 October 2007, South Korean president, Roh Moo-hyun, and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, signed the peace declaration.[36] The document called for international talks to replace the armistice, which ended the Korean War, with a permanent peace treaty.[36]


KAL-858 incident was investigated by Shin Sung-guk for over 15 years and in his investigation alleges that South Korean diplomat received a phone call which caller urged the dplomat not to board the KAL-858 flight and that he knows identity of diplomat in question. Shin said he is prepared to risk libel suit in order to persuade diplomat to testify on the record. Shin presented Kim Hyon-hui's counterfeit Japanese passport and stated "Passport is fake, but the stamps it contains are real and include a departure date from Tokyo's Narita airport on Nov 14 in 1987—at which time Kim claims she was in Budapest preparing for KAL 858 bombing.". Shin states that counterfeits of Japanese passports were widely circulated in the 1980s, not only among spies, but also by people outside the realm of espionage. It is likely that Kim Hyon-hui was stationed in Japan and that is certain that Kim Hyon-hui was born in North Korea, but has left North Korea before age of 17. Kim has no proof of North Korean citizenship, which North Koreans receive at age of 17, nor has she prove of having affiliation with Workers Party of Korea as a member of North Korean government.[37][38] In investigative documentary on KAL 858 bombing produced and broadcasted by Seoul Broadcasting System, inconsistencies involving testimonies of Kim Hyon-hui were covered such as dates and time given for events along number of the room and name of the hotel that Kim was as evident in differences between written admission and her biography as pointed out by Japanese journalist Noda Mineo. Another involves claims made by National Intelligence Service (South Korea) that Kim Hyon-hui was part of North Korean elite for which as evidence NIS used footage from North Korean documentaries that she was present in, first and second claim were debunked due to difference in ear lobe and second claim made by Kim Hyon-hui was disproven by North Korean woman that went public with images of herself that disprove Kim's claim of girl in question being Kim.[39] Occurence of KAL-858 bombing was used by then South Korean dictatorship under Operation Rainbow to influence 1987 South Korean presidential election in favor of Roh Tae-woo that was close to dictator Chun Doo-hwan, South Korean government prioritized extradition of Kim Hyon-hui over search and rescue of passengers of KAL-858. This is also evident by declassified documents of transcripts and documents between Foreign Ministry and Blue House.[40][41] CNA (TV network) interviewed Shin Sung-guk about KAL-858 in which he stated that only 2 pages ouf of 5 involving Operation Rainbow were declassified.[42] Civil rights committee for Korean Air Flight 858 which consists primarily of family members and relatives of passengers have defined the status of passengers as missing.[43]

See also

External images
image icon Photograph of HL7406 prior to the bombing
image icon Image of Kim Hyon Hui, one of the two North Korean agents responsible for planting the bomb, in 2009
image icon Panasonic transistor radio c. 1987, likely similar to the model used to conceal the bomb

North Korea

Similar incidents


  1. ^ "North Korean ex-spy who blew up jetliner: Don't trust Kim Jong Un". NBC News. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b "KAL Bomber Tells Agony, Stints on Buying Dresses". Los Angeles Times. 20 June 1990. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d United Nations Security Council Verbatim Report 2791. S/PV.2791 page 11. 16 February 1988. Retrieved 16 October 2010
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i United Nations Security Council Verbatim Report 2791. S/PV.2791 page 12. 16 February 1988. Retrieved 16 November 2007
  5. ^ a b "115 Died in Nov. 29 Crash N. Korea Agent Confesses, Says She Put Bomb on Jet". Los Angeles Times. 15 January 1988. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Bombing of Korean Air Flight 858". X-ray Screener. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  7. ^ "The Mystery of Flight 858". Time. 14 December 1987. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  8. ^ "South Korean cemetery keeps Cold War alive". Reuters. 10 September 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  9. ^ "KAL858 Criminal Occurrence description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  10. ^ Criminal Occurrence description at the Aviation Safety Network
  11. ^ a b c United Nations Security Council Verbatim Report 2791. S/PV.2791 page 6. 16 February 1988. Retrieved 16 October 2010
  12. ^ a b c d "Seoul Pardons North Korean in Bombing of Airliner Killing 115". Los Angeles Times. 13 April 1990. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  13. ^ "Thais Report Finding Korean Jet Wreckage". Los Angeles Times. 30 November 1987.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g United Nations Security Council Verbatim Report 2791. S/PV.2791 page 10. 16 February 1988. Retrieved 16 November 2007
  15. ^ a b c French, Paul (2007). North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula: A Modern History. Zed Books. p. 244. ISBN 978-1-84277-905-7.
  16. ^ Willacy, Mark (10 April 2013). "Exclusive: My life as a North Korean super spy". ABC News. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  17. ^ Maass, Peter. "Woman Says She Sabotaged Plane on Orders from N. Korean Leader". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 7 November 2006. 15 January 1988 Retrieved 6 January 2010
  18. ^ Curran, Andrew (24 January 2020). "Korean Air Flight 858 may have been found". Simple Flying. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  19. ^ "Fuselage of crashed KAL jet found". Yonhap News Agency. 23 January 2020. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  20. ^ "Families of 1987 jet crash victims demand fuselage be salvaged". Yonhap News Agency. 30 January 2020. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Country Reports on Terrorism 2004" (PDF). State Department. April 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2010
  22. ^ Kempster, Norman (21 January 1988). "U.S. Ends Thaw With N. Korea, Cites Terrorism". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  23. ^ United Nations Security Council Verbatim Report 2791. S/PV.2791 16 February 1988. Retrieved 25 November 2007
  24. ^ United Nations Security Council Verbatim Report 2792. S/PV.2792 17 February 1988. Retrieved 25 November 2007
  25. ^ United Nations Security Council Verbotim Report 3627. S/PV/3627 page 8. Mr. Park Republic of Korea 31 January 1996 at 15:30. Retrieved 25 November 2007
  26. ^ "Obituary: Kim Jong-il". BBC News. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  27. ^ a b c "North Korea leader accused of terrorism". BBC News. 1 February 2001. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  28. ^ "North Korean leader Kim Jong-il dies 'of heart attack'". BBC News. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  29. ^ Kim, Hyon Hui (1993). The Tears of My Soul. William Morrow & Co. ISBN 978-0-688-12833-3.
  30. ^ "Mayumi Virgin Terrorist". Complete Index to World Film. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  31. ^ a b c Buerk, Roland (20 July 2010). "Former N Korea spy in Japan to tackle abductee issue". BBC News. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  32. ^ "진실·화해 위한 과거사정리위원회 KAL858기 사건에 대한 조사개시 결정을 환영한다". 연합뉴스. 11 July 2007.
  33. ^ a b "[뉴스 따라잡기] 한진 총수 일가 갑질, 87년 KAL 858기 폭파사건으로 불똥". 뉴스워치. 9 May 2018.
  34. ^ a b Howard, Keith (29 June 2002). "Analysis: Korea's unresolved conflict". BBC News. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  35. ^ "Korean leaders in historic talks". BBC News. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  36. ^ a b "Korean leaders issue peace call". BBC News. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  37. ^ http://m.tongilnews.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=122653
  38. ^ http://m.tongilnews.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=109899
  39. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5egsDfyzm5g
  40. ^ https://www.nocutnews.co.kr/news/5129417
  41. ^ https://newstapa.org/article/8gQVz
  42. ^ https://www.youtube.com/k0ScapZwa6s
  43. ^ http://m.ohmynews.com/NWS_Web/Mobile/at_pg.aspx?CNTN_CD=A0000305304

External links

19 October 1987

Black Monday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls by 22%, 508 points.

Black Monday (1987)
Black Monday Dow Jones.svg
DJIA (June 19, 1987, to January 19, 1988)
DateOctober 19, 1987
TypeStock market crash
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 508 points (22.6%), making it the highest one-day drop by percentage in the index's history
  • Federal Reserve provides market liquidity to meet unprecedented demands for credit
  • Dow Jones begins to recover in November 1987
  • NYSE institutes rule regarding trading curbs in 1988
FTSE 100 Index of the London Stock Exchange (June 19, 1987, to January 19, 1988)

Black Monday is the name commonly attached to the global, sudden, severe, and largely unexpected[1] stock market crash on October 19, 1987. In Australia and New Zealand, the day is also referred to as Black Tuesday because of the time zone difference from the United States.

All of the twenty-three major world markets experienced a sharp decline in October 1987. When measured in United States dollars, eight markets declined by 20 to 29%, three by 30 to 39% (Malaysia, Mexico and New Zealand), and three by more than 40% (Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore).[2][A] The least affected was Austria (a fall of 11.4%) while the most affected was Hong Kong with a drop of 45.8%. Out of twenty-three major industrial countries, nineteen had a decline greater than 20%.[3] Worldwide losses were estimated at US$1.71 trillion.[4] The severity of the crash sparked fears of extended economic instability[5] or even a reprise of the Great Depression.[6]

The degree to which the stock market crashes spread to the wider economy (the "real economy") was directly related to the monetary policy each nation pursued in response. The central banks of the United States, West Germany and Japan provided market liquidity to prevent debt defaults among financial institutions, and the impact on the real economy was relatively limited and short-lived. However, refusal to loosen monetary policy by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand had sharply negative and relatively long-term consequences for both financial markets and the real economy in New Zealand.[7]

The crash of 1987 also altered implied volatility patterns that arise in pricing financial options. Equity options traded in American markets did not show a volatility smile before the crash but began showing one afterward.[8]

United States


Timeline compiled by the Federal Reserve

From August 1982 to its peak in August 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose from 776 to 2,722, including a 44% year-to-date rise as of August 1987. The rise in market indices for the nineteen largest markets in the world averaged 296% during this period. The average number of shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange rose from 65 million shares to 181 million shares.[9]

In late 1985 and early 1986, the United States economy shifted from a rapid recovery from the early 1980s recession to a slower expansion, resulting in a brief "soft landing" period as the economy slowed and inflation dropped.

On the morning of Wednesday, October 14, 1987, the United States House Committee on Ways and Means introduced a tax bill that would reduce the tax benefits associated with financing mergers and leveraged buyouts.[10][11] Also, unexpectedly high trade deficit figures announced by the United States Department of Commerce had a negative impact on the value of the US dollar while pushing interest rates upward and also put downward pressure on stock prices.[10]

However, sources questioned whether these news events led to the crash. Nobel-prize winning economist Robert J. Shiller surveyed 889 investors (605 individual investors and 284 institutional investors) immediately after the crash regarding several aspects of their experience at the time. Only three institutional investors and no individual investors reported a belief that the news regarding proposed tax legislation was a trigger for the crash. According to Shiller, the most common responses were related to a general mindset of investors at the time: a "gut feeling" of an impending crash, perhaps brought on by "too much indebtedness".[12]

On Wednesday, October 14, 1987, the DJIA dropped 95.46 points (3.81%) to 2,412.70, and it fell another 58 points (2.4%) the next day, down over 12% from the August 25 all-time high. On Friday, October 16, the DJIA fell 108.35 points (4.6%) to close at 2,246.74 on record volume.[13] Though the markets were closed for the weekend, significant selling pressure still existed. The computer models of portfolio insurers continued to dictate very large sales.[14] Moreover, some large mutual fund groups had procedures that enabled customers to easily redeem their shares during the weekend at the same prices that existed at the close of market on Friday.[15] The amount of these redemption requests was far greater than the firms' cash reserves, requiring them to make large sales of shares as soon as the market opened on the following Monday. Finally, some traders anticipated these pressures and tried to get ahead of the market by selling early and aggressively Monday, before the anticipated price drop.[14]

The crash

Before the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) opened on Black Monday, October 19, 1987, there was pent-up pressure to sell stocks. When the market opened, a large imbalance immediately arose between the volume of sell orders and buy orders, placing considerable downward pressure on stock prices. Regulations at the time permitted designated market makers (also known as "specialists") to delay or suspend trading in a stock if the order imbalance exceeded that specialist's ability to fulfill orders in an orderly manner.[16] The order imbalance on the 19th was so large that 95 stocks on the S&P 500 Index (S&P) opened late, as also did 11 of the 30 DJIA stocks.[17] Importantly, however, the futures market opened on time across the board, with heavy selling.[17]

On Black Monday, the DJIA fell 508 points (22.6%), accompanied by crashes in the futures exchanges and options markets.[18] This was one of the largest one-day percentage drops in the history of the DJIA. Significant selling created steep price declines throughout the day, particularly during the last 90 minutes of trading.[19] The S&P 500 Index dropped 20.4%, falling from 282.7 to 225.06. The NASDAQ Composite lost only 11.3%, not because of restraint on the part of sellers, but because the NASDAQ market system failed. Deluged with sell orders, many stocks on the NYSE faced trading halts and delays. Of the 2,257 NYSE-listed stocks, there were 195 trading delays and halts during the day.[20] The NASDAQ market fared much worse. Because of its reliance on a "market making" system that allowed market makers to withdraw from trading, liquidity in NASDAQ stocks dried up. Trading in many stocks encountered a pathological condition where the bid price for a stock exceeded the ask price. These "locked" conditions severely curtailed trading. Trading in Microsoft shares on the NASDAQ lasted a total of 54 minutes. Total trading volume was so large that the computer and communications systems in place at the time were overwhelmed, leaving orders unfilled for an hour or more. Large funds transfers were delayed for hours and the Fedwire and NYSE SuperDot systems shut down for extended periods of time, further compounding traders' confusion.[21]

De-linked markets and index arbitrage

Under normal circumstances the stock market and those of its main derivatives–futures and options–are functionally a single market, given that the price of any particular stock is closely connected to the prices of its counterpart in both the futures and options market.[22] Prices in the derivative markets are typically tightly connected to those of the underlying stock, though they differ somewhat (as for example, prices of futures are typically higher than that of their particular cash stock).[23] During the crisis this link was broken.[24]

When the futures market opened while the stock market was closed, it created a pricing imbalance: the listed price of those stocks which opened late had no chance to change from their closing price of the day before. The quoted prices were thus "stale" and did not reflect current economic conditions; they were generally listed higher than they should have been[25] (and dramatically higher than their respective futures, which are typically higher than stocks).[25]

The decoupling of these markets meant that futures prices had temporarily lost their validity as a vehicle for price discovery; they no longer could be relied upon to inform traders of the direction or degree of stock market expectations. This had harmful effects: it added to the atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion at a time when investor confidence was sorely needed; it discouraged investors from "leaning against the wind" and buying stocks since the discount in the futures market logically implied that investors could wait and purchase stocks at an even lower price; and it encouraged portfolio insurance investors to sell in the stock market, putting further downward pressure on stock prices.[26]

The gap between the futures and stocks was quickly noted by index arbitrage traders who tried to profit through sell at market orders. Index arbitrage, a form of program trading,[27] added to the confusion and the downward pressure on prices:[17]

...reflecting the natural linkages among markets, the selling pressure washed across to the stock market, both through index arbitrage and direct portfolio insurance stock sales. Large amounts of selling, and the demand for liquidity associated with it, cannot be contained in a single market segment. It necessarily overflows into the other market segments, which are naturally linked. There are, however, natural limits to intermarket liquidity which were made evident on October 19 and 20.[28]

Although arbitrage between index futures and stocks placed downward pressure on prices, it does not explain why the surge in sell orders that brought steep price declines began in the first place.[29] Moreover, the markets "performed most chaotically" during those times when the links that index arbitrage program trading creates between these markets was broken.[30]

Portfolio insurance hedges

Portfolio insurance is a hedging technique which attempts to manage risk and limit losses by buying and selling financial instruments (for example, stocks or futures) in reaction to changes in market price rather than changes in market fundamentals. Specifically, they buy when the market is rising, and sell when the market is falling, without regard for any fundamental information about why the market is rising or falling.[31] Thus it is an example of an "informationless trade"[32] that has the potential to create a market-destabilizing feedback loop.[33]

This strategy became a source of downward pressure when portfolio insurers whose computer models noted that stocks opened lower and continued their steep price. The models recommended even further sales.[17] The potential for computer-generated feedback loops that these hedges created has been discussed as a factor compounding the severity of the crash, but not as an initial trigger.[34] Economist Hayne Leland argues against this interpretation, suggesting that the impact of portfolio hedging on stock prices was probably relatively small.[35] Similarly, the report of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange found the influence of "other investors - mutual funds, broker-dealers, and individual shareholders - was thus three to five times greater than that of the portfolio insurers" during the crash.[36] Numerous econometric studies have analyzed the evidence to determine whether portfolio insurance exacerbated the crash, but the results have been unclear.[37] Markets around the world that did not have portfolio insurance trading experienced as much turmoil and loss as the U.S. market.[38] More to the point, the cross-market analysis of Richard Roll, for example, found that markets with a greater prevalence of computerized trading (including portfolio insurance) actually experienced relatively less severe losses (in percentage terms) than those without.[39]

Noise trading

The crisis affected markets around the world; however, no international news event or change in market fundamentals has been shown to have had a strong effect on investor behavior.[40] Instead, contemporaneous causality and feedback behavior between markets increased dramatically during this period.[41] In an environment of increased volatility, confusion and uncertainty, investors not only in the US but also across the world[42] were inferring information from changes in stock prices and communication with other investors[43] in a self-reinforcing contagion of fear.[44] This pattern of basing trading decisions largely on market psychology is often referred to as one form of "noise trading", which occurs when ill-informed investors "[trade] on noise as if it were news".[45] If noise is misinterpreted as bad news, then the reactions of risk-averse traders and arbitrageurs will bias the market, preventing it from establishing prices that accurately reflect the fundamental state of the underlying stocks.[46] For example, on October 19 rumors that the New York Stock Exchange would close created additional confusion and drove prices further downward, while rumors the next day that two Chicago Mercantile Exchange clearinghouses were insolvent deterred some investors from trading in that marketplace.[47]

A feedback loop of noise-induced-volatility has been cited by some analysts as the major reason for the severe depth of the crash. It does not, however, explain what initially triggered the market break.[48] Moreover, Lawrence A. Cunningham has suggested that while noise theory is "supported by substantial empirical evidence and a well-developed intellectual foundation", it makes only a partial contribution toward explaining events such as the crash of October 1987.[49] Informed traders, not swayed by psychological or emotional factors, have room to make trades they know to be less risky.[50]

Margin calls and liquidity

Frederic Mishkin suggested that the greatest economic danger was not events on the day of the crash itself, but the potential for "spreading collapse of securities firms" if an extended liquidity crisis in the securities industry began to threaten the solvency and viability of brokerage houses and specialists. This possibility first loomed on the day after the crash.[51] At least initially, there was a very real risk that these institutions could fail.[52] If that happened, spillover effects could sweep over the entire financial system, with negative consequences for the real economy as a whole.[53]

The source of these liquidity problems was a general increase in margin calls; after the market's plunge, these were about 10 times their average size and three times greater than the highest previous morning variation call.[54] Several firms had insufficient cash in customers' accounts (that is, they were "undersegregated"). Firms drawing funds from their own capital to meet the shortfall sometimes became undercapitalized; 11 firms received margin calls from a single customer that exceeded that firm's adjusted net capital, sometimes by as much as two-to-one.[52] Investors needed to repay end-of-day margin calls made on the 19th before the opening of the market on the 20th. Clearinghouse member firms called on lending institutions to extend credit to cover these sudden and unexpected charges, but the brokerages requesting additional credit began to exceed their credit limit. Banks were also worried about increasing their involvement and exposure to a chaotic market.[55] The size and urgency of the demands for credit placed upon banks was unprecedented.[56] In general, counterparty risk increased as the creditworthiness of counterparties and the value of collateral posted became highly uncertain.[57]

The Black Monday decline was, and currently remains, the biggest drop on the List of largest daily changes in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (Saturday, December 12, 1914, is sometimes erroneously cited as the largest one-day percentage decline of the DJIA. In reality, the ostensible decline of 24.39% was created retroactively by a redefinition of the DJIA in 1916.[58] [59])

Federal Reserve response

The Federal Reserve acted as the lender of last resort to counter the crisis.[60] The Fed used crisis management via public pronouncements, supplied liquidity through open market operations,[61][B] persuading banks to lend to securities firms, and intervening directly.[63]

On the morning of October 20, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan made a brief statement: "The Federal Reserve, consistent with its responsibilities as the Nation's central bank, affirmed today its readiness to serve as a source of liquidity to support the economic and financial system".[64] Fed sources suggested that the brevity was deliberate, in order to avoid misinterpretations.[61] This "extraordinary"[65] announcement probably had a calming effect on markets[66] that were facing an equally unprecedented demand for liquidity[56] and the immediate potential for a liquidity crisis.[67]

The Fed then acted to provide market liquidity and prevent the crisis from expanding into other markets. It immediately began injecting its reserves into the financial system via purchases on the open market. This rapidly pushed the federal funds rate down by 0.5%. The Fed continued its expansive open market purchases of securities for weeks. The Fed also repeatedly began these interventions an hour before the regularly scheduled time, notifying dealers of the schedule change on the evening beforehand. This was all done in a very high-profile and public manner, similar to Greenspan's initial announcement, to restore market confidence that liquidity was forthcoming.[68] Although the Fed's holdings expanded appreciably over time, the speed of expansion was not excessive.[69] Moreover, the Fed later disposed of these holdings so that its long-term policy goals would not be adversely affected.[61]

The Fed successfully met the unprecedented demands for credit[70] by pairing a strategy of moral suasion that motivated nervous banks to lend to securities firms alongside its moves to reassure those banks by actively supplying them with liquidity.[71] As economist Ben Bernanke (who was later to become Chairman of the Federal Reserve) wrote:

The Fed's key action was to induce the banks (by suasion and by the supply of liquidity) to make loans, on customary terms, despite chaotic conditions and the possibility of severe adverse selection of borrowers. In expectation, making these loans must have been a money-losing strategy from the point of view of the banks (and the Fed); otherwise, Fed persuasion would not have been needed.[72]

The Fed's two-part strategy was thoroughly successful, since lending to securities firms by large banks in Chicago and especially in New York increased substantially, often nearly doubling.[73]


Despite fears of a repeat of the Great Depression, the market rallied immediately after the crash, gaining 102.27 points the very next day and 186.64 points on Thursday October 22. It took two years for the Dow to recover completely and by September 1989, the market had regained all of the value it had lost in the 1987 crash. The DJIA gained 0.6% during calendar year 1987.


On Friday, October 16, all the markets in London were unexpectedly closed due to the Great Storm of 1987. After they re-opened, the speed of the crash accelerated, partially attributed by some to the storm closure. By 9:30AM, the FTSE 100 Index had fallen over 136 points.[74] It was down 23% in two days, roughly the same percentage that the NYSE dropped on the day of the crash. Stocks then continued to fall, albeit at a less precipitous rate, until reaching a trough in mid-November at 36% below its pre-crash peak. Stocks did not begin to recover until 1989.[75]


In Japan, the October 1987 crash is sometimes referred to as "Blue Tuesday", in part because of the time zone difference, and in part because its effects after the initial crash were relatively mild.[4] In both places, according to economist Ulrike Schaede, the initial market break was severe: the Tokyo market declined 14.9% in one day, and Japan's losses of US$421 billion ranked next to New York's $500 billion, out of a worldwide total loss of $1.7 trillion. However, systemic differences between the US and Japanese financial systems led to significantly different outcomes during and after the crash on Tuesday, October 20. In Japan the ensuing panic was no more than mild at worst. The Nikkei 225 Index returned to its pre-crash levels after only five months. Other global markets performed less well in the aftermath of the crash, with New York, London and Frankfurt all needing more than a year to achieve the same level of recovery.[76]

Several of Japan's distinctive institutional characteristics already in place at the time, according to economist David D. Hale, helped it dampen volatility. These included trading curbs such as a sharp limit on price movements of a share of more than 10–15%; restrictions and institutional barriers to short-selling by domestic and international traders; frequent adjustments of margin requirements in response to changes in volatility; strict guidelines on mutual fund redemptions; and actions of the Ministry of Finance to control the total shares of stock and exert moral suasion on the securities industry.[77] An example of the latter occurred when the ministry invited representatives of the four largest securities firms to tea in the early afternoon of the day of the crash.[78] After tea at the ministry, these firms began to make large purchases of stock in Nippon Telegraph and Telephone.[78]

New Zealand

The crash of the New Zealand stock market was notably long and deep, continuing its decline for an extended period of time after other global markets had recovered.[79] Unlike other nations, moreover, for New Zealand the effects of the October 1987 crash spilled over into its real economy, contributing to a prolonged recession.[80]

The effects of the worldwide economic boom of the mid-1980s had been amplified in New Zealand by the relaxation of foreign exchange controls and a wave of banking deregulation. Deregulation in particular suddenly gave financial institutions considerably more freedom to lend, though they had little experience in doing so.[81] The finance industry was in a state of increasing optimism that approached euphoria.[82] This created an atmosphere conducive to greater financial risk taking including increased speculation in the stock market and real estate. Foreign investors participated, attracted by New Zealand's relatively high interest rates. From late 1984 until Black Monday, commercial property prices and commercial construction rose sharply, while share prices in the stock market tripled.[81]

New Zealand's stock market fell nearly 15% on the first day of the crash.[83] In the first three-and-a-half months following the crash, the value of New Zealand's market shares was cut in half.[84] By the time it reached its trough in February 1988, the market had lost 60% of its value.[83] The financial crisis triggered a wave of deleveraging with significant macro-economic consequences. Investment companies and property developers began a fire sale of their properties, partially to help offset their share price losses, and partially because the crash had exposed overbuilding. Moreover, these firms had been using property as collateral for their increased borrowing. Thus when property values collapsed, the health of balance sheets of lending institutions was damaged.[83] The Reserve Bank of New Zealand declined to loosen monetary policy in response to the crisis, however, which would have helped firms settle their obligations and remain in operation.[7] As the harmful effects spread over the next few years, major corporations and financial institutions went out of business, and the banking systems of New Zealand and Australia were impaired.[84] Access to credit was reduced.[83] The combination of these contributed significantly to a long recession running from 1987 until 1993.[83]

Possible causes

No definitive conclusions have been reached about the reasons for the 1987 crash. Stocks had been in a multi-year bull run and market price–earnings ratios in the U.S. were above the post-war average. The S&P 500 was trading at 23-times earnings, a postwar high and well above the average of 14.5-times earnings.[85] Herd behavior and psychological feedback loops play a critical part in all stock market crashes but analysts have also tried to look for external triggering events. Aside from the general worries of stock market overvaluation, blame for the collapse has been apportioned to such factors as program trading, portfolio insurance and derivatives, and prior news of worsening economic indicators (i.e. a large U.S. merchandise trade deficit and a falling United States dollar, which seemed to imply future interest rate hikes).[86]

Resulting regulation

One of the consequences of the 1987 crash was the introduction of the circuit breaker or trading curb, allowing exchanges to temporarily halt trading in instances of exceptionally large price declines in some indexes. Based upon the idea that a cooling off period would help dissipate panic selling, these mandatory market shutdowns are triggered whenever a large pre-defined market decline occurs during the trading day.[87] These trading curbs were used multiple times during the 2020 stock market crash.[88]

See also


  1. ^ The markets were: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.
  2. ^ Discount window borrowing did not play a major role in the Federal Reserve's response to the crisis.[62]


  1. ^ Bates 1991; Seyhun 1990.
  2. ^ Roll 1988, pp. 20 (table 1), 21.
  3. ^ Sornette, Didier Sornette (2003). "Critical Market Crashes". Physics Reports. 378 (1): 1–98. arXiv:cond-mat/0301543. Bibcode:2003PhR...378....1S. doi:10.1016/S0370-1573(02)00634-8. S2CID 12847333.
  4. ^ a b Schaede 1991, p. 42.
  5. ^ Group of 33.
  6. ^ Lobb 2007.
  7. ^ a b Grant 1997, p. 330; Hunt 2009.
  8. ^ Hull 2003, p. 335.
  9. ^ "Preliminary Observations on the October 1987 Crash" (PDF). Government Accountability Office. January 1988.
  10. ^ a b Carlson 2007, p. 6.
  11. ^ Carlson 2007, p. 6; Malliaris & Urrutia 1992, p. 354.
  12. ^ Shiller 1988, pp. 292-293.
  13. ^ Bernhardt & Eckblad 2013, pp. 2, 6 note 5.
  14. ^ a b Lindsey & Pecora 1998, pp. 3-4.
  15. ^ Brady Report 1988, p. 29.
  16. ^ Carlson 2007, p. 8, note 11.
  17. ^ a b c d Carlson 2007, p. 8.
  18. ^ Brady Report 1988, p. 1.
  19. ^ Carlson 2007, pp. 8–9.
  20. ^ U.S. GAO op. cit. p.55
  21. ^ Carlson 2007, p. 9; Bernanke 1990, p. 146.
  22. ^ Kleidon & Whaley 1992, pp. 851–52; Brady Report 1988, p. 55 & 57.
  23. ^ Kleidon & Whaley 1992, p. 851.
  24. ^ Kleidon & Whaley 1992, pp. 851–52.
  25. ^ a b Kleidon & Whaley 1992, pp. 859–60.
  26. ^ Macey, Mitchell & Netter 1988, p. 832.
  27. ^ Carlson 2007, p. 5.
  28. ^ Brady Report 1988, p. 56.
  29. ^ Harris 1988, p. 933.
  30. ^ Miller et al. 1989, pp. 12-13.
  31. ^ Leland 1988; Leland 1992.
  32. ^ Macey, Mitchell & Netter 1988, p. 819, note 84.
  33. ^ Leland 1992, p. 55.
  34. ^ Brady Report 1988, p. v.
  35. ^ Leland 1988, pp. 83–84.
  36. ^ Miller et al. 1989, p. 6.
  37. ^ MacKenzie 2004, p. 10.
  38. ^ Miller et al. 1989, pp. 6-7.
  39. ^ Roll 1988, pp. 29–30.
  40. ^ Shiller 1987, p. 23; Bernanke 1990, p. 133.
  41. ^ Malliaris & Urrutia 1992, pp. 362–63.
  42. ^ King & Wadhwani 1990.
  43. ^ Shiller 1987, p. 23.
  44. ^ Goodhart 1988.
  45. ^ Black 1988, pp. 273–74.
  46. ^ Cunningham 1994, p. 10.
  47. ^ Carlson 2007, pp. 9, 10, 17.
  48. ^ Shleifer & Summers 1990, p. 30; Black 1988, pp. 273–74.
  49. ^ Cunningham 1994, pp. 3, 10.
  50. ^ Cunningham 1994, p. 26.
  51. ^ Mishkin 1988, pp. 29–30.
  52. ^ a b Brady Report 1988, Study VI, p. 73
  53. ^ Cecchetti & Disyatat 2009, p. 1; Carlson 2007, p. 20.
  54. ^ Brady Report 1988, Study VI, p. 70; Carlson 2007, pp. 12–13.
  55. ^ Carlson 2007, pp. 12–13.
  56. ^ a b Garcia 1989, p. 153.
  57. ^ Kohn 2006; Bernanke 1990, pp. 146–47.
  58. ^ Setting Record Straight 1987.
  59. ^ Bialik 2008.
  60. ^ Garcia 1989.
  61. ^ a b c Garcia 1989, p. 151.
  62. ^ Carlson 2007, p. 18, note 17; Garcia 1989, p. 159.
  63. ^ Bernanke 1990, p. 148.
  64. ^ Greenspan 1987, p. 915.
  65. ^ Mishkin 1988, p. 30.
  66. ^ Carlson 2007, p. 10.
  67. ^ Mishkin 1988, pp. 29–30; Brady Report 1988, Study VI, p. 73
  68. ^ Carlson 2007, pp. 17–18.
  69. ^ Carlson 2007, p. 18.
  70. ^ Carlson 2007, pp. 13–14; Garcia 1989, p. 153.
  71. ^ Garcia 1989, p. 153; Bernanke 1990, p. 149.
  72. ^ Bernanke 1990, p. 149.
  73. ^ Carlson 2007, p. 14; Bernanke 1990, p. 149.
  74. ^ Black Monday 10th 1997.
  75. ^ Roberts 2008, pp. 53–54.
  76. ^ Schaede 1991, pp. 42–45.
  77. ^ Hale 1988, pp. 182–83.
  78. ^ a b Schaede 1991, p. 45.
  79. ^ Grant 1997, p. 329.
  80. ^ Hunt 2009, p. 36; Grant 1997, p. 337.
  81. ^ a b Hunt 2009, p. 35; Reddell & Sleeman 2008, p. 14.
  82. ^ Hunt 2009, p. 35.
  83. ^ a b c d e Hunt 2009, p. 36.
  84. ^ a b Reddell & Sleeman 2008, p. 14.
  85. ^ U.S. GAO op. cit. p.37
  86. ^ "What caused the Stock Market Crash of 1987?".
  87. ^ Bernhardt & Eckblad 2013, p. 3; Lindsey & Pecora 1998.
  88. ^ Shieber 2020.


Further reading

External links

16 September 1987

The Montreal Protocol is signed to protect the ozone layer from depletion.

Signed26 August 1987
Effective26 August 1989 if 11 states have ratified by then.
Conditionratification by 20 states
Ratifiers197 (all United Nations members, as well as Niue, the Cook Islands, the Holy See and the European Union)
DepositarySecretary-General of the United Nations
LanguagesArabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
Retrospective video on the Montreal Protocol and the collaboration between policy-makers, scientists, and industry leaders to regulate CFCs.
The largest Antarctic ozone hole recorded as of September 2006

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, also known simply as the Montreal Protocol, is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. Signed 26 August 1987, it was made pursuant to the 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, which established the framework for international cooperation in addressing ozone depletion.[1] The Montreal Protocol entered into force on 26 August 1989, and has since undergone nine revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), 1998 (Australia), 1999 (Beijing) and 2016 (Kigali).[2][3][4]

As a result of the international agreement, the ozone hole in Antarctica is slowly recovering.[5] Climate projections indicate that the ozone layer will return to 1980 levels between 2050 and 2070.[6][7][8] The Montreal Protocol's success is attributed to its effective burden sharing and solution proposals, which helped mitigate regional conflicts of interest, compared to the shortcomings of the global regulatory approach of the Kyoto Protocol.[9] However, global regulation was already being installed before a scientific consensus was established, and overall public opinion was convinced of possible imminent risks with the ozone layer.[10][11]

The Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol have each been ratified by 196 nations and the European Union,[12] making them the first universally ratified treaties in United Nations history.[13] Due to its widespread adoption and implementation, the Montreal Protocol has been hailed as an example of exceptional international cooperation, with Kofi Annan describing it as "perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date".[14][15]

The treaties are also notable in the unique expedience of global action, with only 14 years lapsing between a basic scientific research discovery (1973) and the international agreement signed (1985 and 1987).

Terms and purposes

The treaty[Notes 1] is structured around several groups of halogenated hydrocarbons that deplete stratospheric ozone. All of the ozone depleting substances controlled by the Montreal Protocol contain either chlorine or bromine (substances containing only fluorine do not harm the ozone layer). Some ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) are not yet controlled by the Montreal Protocol, including nitrous oxide (N2O) For a table of ozone-depleting substances controlled by the Montreal Protocol see:[16]

For each group of ODSs, the treaty provides a timetable on which the production of those substances must be shot out and eventually eliminated. This included a 10-year phase-in for developing countries[17] identified in Article 5 of the treaty.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) Phase-out Management Plan

The stated purpose of the treaty is that the signatory states

Recognizing that worldwide emissions of certain substances can significantly deplete and otherwise modify the ozone layer in a manner that is likely to result in adverse effects on human health and the environment. Determined to protect the ozone layer by taking precautionary measures to control equitably total global emissions of substances that deplete it with the ultimate objective of their elimination on the basis of developments in scientific knowledge

Acknowledging that special provision is required to meet the needs of developing countries

shall accept a series of stepped limits on CFC use and production, including:

  • from 1991 to 1992 its levels of consumption and production of the controlled substances in Group I of Annex A do not exceed 150 percent of its calculated levels of production and consumption of those substances in 1986;
  • from 1994 its calculated level of consumption and production of the controlled substances in Group I of Annex A does not exceed, annually, twenty-five percent of its calculated level of consumption and production in 1986.
  • from 1996 its calculated level of consumption and production of the controlled substances in Group I of Annex A does not exceed zero.

There was a faster phase-out of halon-1211, -2402, -1301, There was a slower phase-out (to zero by 2010) of other substances (halon 1211, 1301, 2402; CFCs 13, 111, 112, etc.)[contradictory] and some chemicals were given individual attention (Carbon tetrachloride; 1,1,1-trichloroethane). The phasing-out of the less damaging HCFCs only began in 1996 and will go on until a complete phasing-out is achieved by 2030.

There were a few exceptions for "essential uses" where no acceptable substitutes were initially found (for example, in the past metered dose inhalers commonly used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were exempt) or Halon fire suppression systems used in submarines and aircraft (but not in general industry).

The substances in Group I of Annex A are:

The provisions of the Protocol include the requirement that the Parties to the Protocol base their future decisions on the current scientific, environmental, technical, and economic information that is assessed through panels drawn from the worldwide expert communities. To provide that input to the decision-making process, advances in understanding on these topics were assessed in 1989, 1991, 1994, 1998 and 2002 in a series of reports entitled Scientific assessment of ozone depletion, by the Scientific Assessment Panel (SAP).[18]

In 1990 a Technology and Economic Assessment Panel was also established as the technology and economics advisory body to the Montreal Protocol Parties.[19] The Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) provides, at the request of Parties, technical information related to the alternative technologies that have been investigated and employed to make it possible to virtually eliminate use of Ozone Depleting Substances (such as CFCs and Halons), that harm the ozone layer. The TEAP is also tasked by the Parties every year to assess and evaluate various technical issues including evaluating nominations for essential use exemptions for CFCs and halons, and nominations for critical use exemptions for methyl bromide. TEAP's annual reports are a basis for the Parties’ informed decision-making.

Numerous reports have been published by various inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations to catalogue and assess alternatives to the ozone depleting substances, since the substances have been used in various technical sectors, like in refrigeration, air conditioning, flexible and rigid foam, fire protection, aerospace, electronics, agriculture, and laboratory measurements.[20][21][22]

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP)

Under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, especially Executive Committee (ExCom) 53/37 and ExCom 54/39, Parties to this Protocol agreed to set year 2013 as the time to freeze the consumption and production of HCFCs for developing countries. For developed countries, reduction of HCFC consumption and production began in 2004 and 2010, respectively, with 100% reduction set for 2020. Developing countries agreed to start reducing its consumption and production of HCFCs by 2015, with 100% reduction set for 2030.[23]

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons, commonly known as HCFCs, are a group of man-made compounds containing hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine and carbon. They are not found anywhere in nature. HCFC production began to take off after countries agreed to phase out the use of CFCs in the 1980s, which were found to be destroying the ozone layer. Like CFCs, HCFCs are used for refrigeration, aerosol propellants, foam manufacture and air conditioning. Unlike the CFCs, however, most HCFCs are broken down in the lowest part of the atmosphere and pose a much smaller risk to the ozone layer. Nevertheless, HCFCs are very potent greenhouse gases, despite their very low atmospheric concentrations, measured in parts per trillion (million million).

The HCFCs are transitional CFCs replacements, used as refrigerants, solvents, blowing agents for plastic foam manufacture, and fire extinguishers. In terms of ozone depletion potential (ODP), in comparison to CFCs that have ODP 0.6 – 1.0, these HCFCs have lower ODPs (0.01 – 0.5). In terms of global warming potential (GWP), in comparison to CFCs that have GWP 4,680 – 10,720, HCFCs have lower GWPs (76 – 2,270).

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

On January 1, 2019 the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol came into force.[24] Under the Kigali Amendment countries promised to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by more than 80% over the next 30 years.[25] By December 27, 2018, 65 countries had ratified the Amendment.[26]

Produced mostly in developed countries, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) replaced CFCs and HCFCs. HFCs pose no harm to the ozone layer because, unlike CFCs and HCFCs, they do not contain chlorine. They are, however, greenhouse gases, with a high global warming potential (GWP), comparable to that of CFCs and HCFCs.[27][28] In 2009, a study calculated that a fast phasedown of high-GWP HFCs could potentially prevent the equivalent of up to 8.8 Gt CO2-eq per year in emissions by 2050.[29] A proposed phasedown of HFCs was hence projected to avoid up to 0.5C of warming by 2100 under the high-HFC growth scenario, and up to 0.35C under the low-HFC growth scenario.[30] Recognizing the opportunity presented for fast and effective phasing down of HFCs through the Montreal Protocol, starting in 2009 the Federated States of Micronesia proposed an amendment to phase down high-GWP HFCs,[31] with the U.S., Canada, and Mexico following with a similar proposal in 2010.[32]

After seven years of negotiations, in October 2016 at the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, the Parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali Amendment whereby the Parties agreed to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.[33] The amendment to the legally-binding Montreal Protocol will ensure that industrialised countries bring down their HFC production and consumption by at least 85 per cent compared to their annual average values in the period 2011–2013. A group of developing countries including China, Brazil and South Africa are mandated to reduce their HFC use by 85 per cent of their average value in 2020-22 by the year 2045. India and some other developing countries — Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and some oil economies like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait — will cut down their HFCs by 85 per cent of their values in 2024-26 by the year 2047.

On 17 November 2017, ahead of the 29th Meeting of the Parties of the Montreal Protocol, Sweden became the 20th Party to ratify the Kigali Amendment, pushing the Amendment over its ratification threshold ensuring that the Amendment would enter into force 1 January 2019.[34]


In 1973, the chemists Frank Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina, who were then at the University of California, Irvine, began studying the impacts of CFCs in the Earth's atmosphere. They discovered that CFC molecules were stable enough to remain in the atmosphere until they got up into the middle of the stratosphere where they would finally (after an average of 50–100 years for two common CFCs) be broken down by ultraviolet radiation releasing a chlorine atom. Rowland and Molina then proposed that these chlorine atoms might be expected to cause the breakdown of large amounts of ozone (O3) in the stratosphere. Their argument was based upon an analogy to contemporary work by Paul J. Crutzen and Harold Johnston, which had shown that nitric oxide (NO) could catalyze the destruction of ozone. (Several other scientists, including Ralph Cicerone, Richard Stolarski, Michael McElroy, and Steven Wofsy had independently proposed that chlorine could catalyze ozone loss, but none had realized that CFCs were a potentially large source of chlorine.) Crutzen, Molina and Rowland were awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their work on this problem.

The environmental consequence of this discovery was that, since stratospheric ozone absorbs most of the ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation reaching the surface of the planet, depletion of the ozone layer by CFCs would lead to an increase in UV-B radiation at the surface, resulting in an increase in skin cancer and other impacts such as damage to crops and to marine phytoplankton.

But the Rowland-Molina hypothesis was strongly disputed by representatives of the aerosol and halocarbon industries. The chair of the board of DuPont was quoted as saying that ozone depletion theory is "a science fiction tale...a load of rubbish...utter nonsense". Robert Abplanalp, the president of Precision Valve Corporation (and inventor of the first practical aerosol spray can valve), wrote to the Chancellor of UC Irvine to complain about Rowland's public statements (Roan, p. 56.)

After publishing their pivotal paper in June 1974, Rowland and Molina testified at a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives in December 1974. As a result, significant funding was made available to study various aspects of the problem and to confirm the initial findings. In 1976, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a report that confirmed the scientific credibility of the ozone depletion hypothesis.[35] NAS continued to publish assessments of related science for the next decade.

Then, in 1985, British Antarctic Survey scientists Joe Farman, Brian Gardiner and Jon Shanklin published results of abnormally low ozone concentrations above Halley Bay near the South Pole. They speculated that this was connected to increased levels of CFCs in the atmosphere. It took several other attempts to establish the Antarctic losses as real and significant, especially after NASA had retrieved matching data from its satellite recordings. The impact of these studies, the metaphor 'ozone hole', and the colourful visual representation in a time lapse animation proved shocking enough for negotiators in Montreal, Canada to take the issue seriously.[36]

Also in 1985, 20 nations, including most of the major CFC producers, signed the Vienna Convention, which established a framework for negotiating international regulations on ozone-depleting substances.[37] After the discovery of the ozone hole by SAGE 2 it only took 18 months to reach a binding agreement in Montreal, Canada.

But the CFC industry did not give up that easily. As late as 1986, the Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy (an association representing the CFC industry founded by DuPont) was still arguing that the science was too uncertain to justify any action. In 1987, DuPont testified before the US Congress that "We believe there is no imminent crisis that demands unilateral regulation."[38] And even in March 1988, Du Pont Chair Richard E. Heckert would write in a letter to the United States Senate, "we will not produce a product unless it can be made, used, handled and disposed of safely and consistent with appropriate safety, health and environmental quality criteria. At the moment, scientific evidence does not point to the need for dramatic CFC emission reductions. There is no available measure of the contribution of CFCs to any observed ozone change..."[39]

Multilateral Fund

The main objective of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol is to assist developing country parties to the Montreal Protocol whose annual per capita consumption and production of ozone depleting substances (ODS) is less than 0.3 kg to comply with the control measures of the Protocol. Currently, 147 of the 196 Parties to the Montreal Protocol meet these criteria (they are referred to as Article 5 countries).

It embodies the principle agreed at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 that countries have a common but differentiated responsibility to protect and manage the global commons.

The Fund is managed by an Executive Committee with an equal representation of seven industrialized and seven Article 5 countries, which are elected annually by a Meeting of the Parties. The Committee reports annually to the Meeting of the Parties on its operations. The work of the Multilateral Fund on the ground in developing countries is carried out by four Implementing Agencies, which have contractual agreements with the Executive Committee:[40]

Up to 20 percent of the contributions of contributing parties can also be delivered through their bilateral agencies in the form of eligible projects and activities.

The fund is replenished on a three-year basis by the donors. Pledges amounted to US$3.1 billion over the period 1991 to 2005. Funds are used, for example, to finance the conversion of existing manufacturing processes, train personnel, pay royalties and patent rights on new technologies, and establish national ozone offices. As of December 2019, the fund stood at just over US$4.1 billion in income and US$3.8 billion in disbursements.[41]


As of 23 June 2015, all countries in the United Nations, the Cook Islands, Holy See, Niue as well as the European Union have ratified the original Montreal Protocol (see external link below),[42] with South Sudan being the last country to ratify the agreement, bringing the total to 197. These countries have also ratified the London, Copenhagen, Montreal, and Beijing amendments.[12]


Ozone-depleting gas trends

Since the Montreal Protocol came into effect, the atmospheric concentrations of the most important chlorofluorocarbons and related chlorinated hydrocarbons have either leveled off or decreased.[43] Halon concentrations have continued to increase, as the halons presently stored in fire extinguishers are released, but their rate of increase has slowed and their abundances are expected to begin to decline by about 2020. Also, the concentration of the HCFCs increased drastically at least partly because of many uses (e.g. used as solvents or refrigerating agents) CFCs were substituted with HCFCs. While there have been reports of attempts by individuals to circumvent the ban, e.g. by smuggling CFCs from undeveloped to developed nations, the overall level of compliance has been high. Statistical analysis from 2010 show a clear positive signal from the Montreal Protocol to the stratospheric ozone.[44] In consequence, the Montreal Protocol has often been called the most successful international environmental agreement to date. In a 2001 report, NASA found the ozone thinning over Antarctica had remained the same thickness for the previous three years,[45] however in 2003 the ozone hole grew to its second largest size.[46] The most recent (2006) scientific evaluation of the effects of the Montreal Protocol states, "The Montreal Protocol is working: There is clear evidence of a decrease in the atmospheric burden of ozone-depleting substances and some early signs of stratospheric ozone recovery."[47] However, a more recent study seems to point to a relative increase in CFCs due to an unknown source.[48]

Reported in 1997, significant production of CFCs occurred in Russia for sale on the black market to the EU throughout the 90s. Related US production and consumption was enabled by fraudulent reporting due to poor enforcement mechanisms. Similar illegal markets for CFCs were detected in Taiwan, Korea, and Hong Kong.[49]

The Montreal Protocol is also expected to have effects on human health. A 2015 report by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the protection of the ozone layer under the treaty will prevent over 280 million cases of skin cancer, 1.5 million skin cancer deaths, and 45 million cataracts in the United States.[50]

However, the hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFCs, and hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, are now thought to contribute to anthropogenic global warming.[51] On a molecule-for-molecule basis, these compounds are up to 10,000 times more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. The Montreal Protocol currently calls for a complete phase-out of HCFCs by 2030, but does not place any restriction on HFCs. Since the CFCs themselves are equally powerful greenhouse gases, the mere substitution of HFCs for CFCs does not significantly increase the rate of anthropogenic climate change, but over time a steady increase in their use could increase the danger that human activity will change the climate.[52]

Policy experts have advocated for increased efforts to link ozone protection efforts to climate protection efforts.[53][54][55] Policy decisions in one arena affect the costs and effectiveness of environmental improvements in the other.

Ozone protection efforts have not only the potential to effect climate protection but in the case of the Montreal Protocol it has already helped to significantly slow global warming as studies have argued.[56]

Regional detections of non-compliance

In 2018, scientists monitoring the atmosphere following the 2010 phaseout date have reported evidence of continuing industrial production of CFC-11, likely in eastern Asia, with detrimental global effects on the ozone layer.[57][58] A monitoring study detected fresh atmospheric releases of carbon tetrachloride from China's Shandong province, beginning sometime after 2012, and accounting for a large part of emissions exceeding global estimates under the Montreal Protocol.[59]

25th anniversary celebrations

The year 2012 marked the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol. Accordingly, the Montreal Protocol community organized a range of celebrations at the national, regional and international levels to publicize its considerable success to date and to consider the work ahead for the future.[60] Among its accomplishments are: The Montreal Protocol was the first international treaty to address a global environmental regulatory challenge; the first to embrace the "precautionary principle" in its design for science-based policymaking; the first treaty where independent experts on atmospheric science, environmental impacts, chemical technology, and economics, reported directly to Parties, without edit or censorship, functioning under norms of professionalism, peer review, and respect; the first to provide for national differences in responsibility and financial capacity to respond by establishing a multilateral fund for technology transfer; the first MEA with stringent reporting, trade, and binding chemical phase-out obligations for both developed and developing countries; and, the first treaty with a financial mechanism managed democratically by an Executive Board with equal representation by developed and developing countries.[61]

Within 25 years of signing, parties to the MP celebrate significant milestones. Significantly, the world has phased-out 98% of the Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) contained in nearly 100 hazardous chemicals worldwide; every country is in compliance with stringent obligations; and, the MP has achieved the status of the first global regime with universal ratification; even the newest member state, South Sudan, ratified in 2013. UNEP received accolades for achieving global consensus that "demonstrates the world’s commitment to ozone protection, and more broadly, to global environmental protection".[62]


  1. ^ The full terms of the Montreal Protocol are available from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Ozone Secretariat Archived 3 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document: "2003 edition".(referred to as Ozone Layer Protection)

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  28. ^ Canada, Environment and Climate Change (2 December 2008). "Ozone-depleting substances". aem. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
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  31. ^ "Proposed amendment to the Montreal Protocol" (PDF). United Nations Environment Programme. 4 May 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
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  42. ^ "2. a Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer Montreal, 16 September 1987". United Nations. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  43. ^ "Has the Montreal Protocol been successful in reducing ozone-depleting gases in the atmosphere?" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2006.
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  45. ^ "Top Story – 2001 Antarctic Ozone Hole Similar in Size to Holes of Past Three Years, NOAA and NASA Report – October 16, 2001". www.gsfc.nasa.gov. Archived from the original on 31 December 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  46. ^ "NOAA News Online (Story 2099)". www.noaanews.noaa.gov. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  47. ^ Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2006, http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/csd/assessments/2006/report.html
  48. ^ "A Mystery Source is Producing Banned Ozone-Destroying Chemicals, Shocking Scientists".
  49. ^ Landers, Fredrick Poole (1997). "The Black Market Trade in Chlorofluorocarbons: The Montreal Protocol Makes Banned Refrigerants a Hot Commodity". Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  50. ^ Updating Ozone Calculations and Emissions Profiles for Use in the Atmospheric and Health Effects Framework Model http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/effects/AHEF_2015_Update_Report-FINAL_508.pdf
  51. ^ Rishav Goyal, Matthew H England, Alex Sen Gupta, and Martin Jucker. "Reduction in surface climate change achieved by the 1987 Montreal Protocol" Environmental Research Letters 2019 14 (12) 124041; doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab4874
  52. ^ "EIA – Emissions of the Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2005". www.eia.doe.gov. Archived from the original on 21 April 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  53. ^ Mario Molina, Durwood Zaelke, K. Madhava Sarma, Stephen O. Andersen, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, and Donald Kaniaru. "Reducing abrupt climate change risk using the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions" PNAS 2009 106 (49) 20616-20621; doi:10.1073/pnas.0902568106
  54. ^ CS Norman, SJ DeCanio and L Fan. "The Montreal Protocol at 20: Ongoing opportunities for integration with climate protection." Global Environmental Change Volume 18, Issue 2, May 2008, Pages 330–340; doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2008.03.003
  55. ^ UNEP press release, 2008 http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=593&ArticleID=6250&l=en&t=long
  56. ^ Rishav Goyal; Matthew H England; Alex Sen Gupta; Martin Jucker1 (6 December 2019). "Reduction in surface climate change achieved by the 1987 Montreal Protocol". Environmental Research Letters. 14 (12).
  57. ^ "Banned Ozone-Depleting Chemical Is Still Being Produced Somewhere, Scientists Say". NPR. 17 May 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
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  59. ^ M. F. Lunt; et al. (28 September 2018). "Continued Emissions of the Ozone‐Depleting Substance Carbon Tetrachloride From Eastern Asia". Geophysical Research Letters. 45 (20): 11, 423–11, 430. Bibcode:2018GeoRL..4511423L. doi:10.1029/2018GL079500. PMC 7526663. PMID 33005064.
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Further reading

  • Andersen, S. O. and K. M. Sarma. (2002). Protecting the Ozone Layer: the United Nations History, Earthscan Press. London.
  • Andersen, S. O., K. M. Sarma and K. N. Taddonio. (2007). Technology Transfer for the Ozone Layer: Lessons for Climate Change. Earthscan Press, London.
  • Benedick, Richard E. (1991). Ozone Diplomacy. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-65001-8 (Ambassador Benedick was the Chief U.S. Negotiator at the meetings that resulted in the Protocol.)
  • Brodeur, Paul (1986). "Annals of Chemistry: In the Face of Doubt." The New Yorker, 9 June 1986, pp. 70–87.
  • Chasek, Pam, David Downie, and J.W. Brown (2013 – forthcoming). Global Environmental Politics, 6th Edition, Boulder: Westview Press.
  • Dotto, Lydia and Harold Schiff (1978). The Ozone War. New York: Double Day.
  • Downie, David (1993). "Comparative Public Policy of Ozone Layer Protection." Political Science (NZ) 45(2): (December): 186–197.
  • Downie, David (1995). "Road Map or False Trail: Evaluating the Precedence of the Ozone Regime as Model and Strategy for Global Climate Change," International Environmental Affairs, 7(4):321–345 (Fall 1995).
  • Downie, David (1999). "The Power to Destroy: Understanding Stratospheric Ozone Politics as a Common Pool Resource Problem", in J. Barkin and G. Shambaugh (eds.) Anarchy and the Environment: The International Relations of Common Pool Resources. Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • David L. Downie (2012). "The Vienna Convention, Montreal Protocol and Global Policy to Protect Stratospheric Ozone", in P. Wexler et al. (eds.) Chemicals, Environment, Health: A Global Management Perspective. Oxford: Taylor & Francis.
  • Downie, David (2013) "Stratospheric Ozone Depletion." The Routledge Handbook of Global Environmental Politics. New York: Routledge.
  • Farman, J.C., B.G. Gardiner, and J.D. Shanklin (1985). "Large Losses of Total Ozone in Antarctica Reveal Seasonal ClOx/NOx Interaction." Nature 315: 207–210, 16 May 1985.
  • Gareau, Brian J. (2013). From Precaution to Profit: Contemporary Challenges to Environmental Protection in the Montreal Protocol. New Haven & London: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300175264
  • Grundmann, Reiner. (2001). Transnational Environmental Policy: Reconstructing Ozone, London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-22423-3
  • Litfin, Karen T. (1994). Ozone Discourses. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-08137-5
  • Molina, Mario and F. Sherwood Rowland (1974). "Stratospheric Sink for Chlorofluoromethanes: Chlorine Atomic Catalyzed Destruction of Ozone." Nature 249: 810–12, 28 June 1974.
  • Morissette, P.M. (1989). "The evolution of policy responses to stratospheric ozone depletion." Natural Resources Journal 29: 793–820.
  • Parson, Edward (2003). Protecting the Ozone Layer: Science and Strategy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Roan, Sharon (1989). Ozone Crisis: The 15-Year Evolution of a Sudden Global Emergency. New York, John Wiley and Sons
  • United Nations Environmental Programme. (2012). The Montreal Protocol and The Green Economy.
  • Velders, G. J. M., S. O. Andersen, J. S. Daniel, D. W. Fahey, and M. McFarland. (2007). The Importance of the Montreal Protocol in Protecting the Climate. Proc. of the Natl. Acad. Of Sci., 104(12), 4814–4819, doi:10.1073/pnas.0610328104.
  • Velders, G. J. M., D. W. Fahey, J. S Daniel, M. McFarland, and S. O. Andersen. (2009). The Large Contribution of Projected HFC Emissions to Future Climate Forcing. Proc. of the Natl. Acad. Of Sci., 106(27), doi:10.1073/pnas.090281716.
  • Velders, G. J. M., A. R. Ravishankara, M. K. Miller, M. J. Molina, J. Alcamo, J. S. Daniel, D. W. Fahey, S. A. Montzka, and S. Reimann. (2012). Preserving Montreal Protocol Climate Benefits by Limiting HFCs. Science, 335(6071), 922–923, doi:10.1126/science.1216414.

External links

20 March 1987

The FDA approves the anti-AIDS drug, AZT.

On March 20, 1987, the HIV/AIDS community received news that a powerful breakthrough in HIV treatment had been achieved. On that day, the Food and Drug Administration approved zidovudine, the most effective drug to date for combating HIV/AIDS and the first anti-HIV drug approved for use in the United States.

Soon thereafter, HRSA launched its AZT Drug Reimbursement Program. This program brought life-prolonging treatment to people who lacked the financial or insurance resources to acquire AZT on their own.

AZT Drug Reimbursement Program grants were awarded via letters to the governors in all 50 States, “It had the least amount of paperwork associated with it of any grant I’ve ever seen in my life,” says Director of the HAB Division of Training and Technical Assistance, Steven Young. “All we had to do was sign a letter of commitment and that was it!” Young was at the New Jersey State Department of Health, Division of AIDS Prevention and Control when the AZT program was launched.

Award levels were based on the percentage of U.S. AIDS patients living in the State. Five hard-hit States—New York, California, Texas, Florida, and New Jersey—received 71 percent of the funds, or about $21.1 million.

HRSA’s AZT Drug Reimbursement Program laid the foundation for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program authorized under the CARE Act of 1990. ADAP was designed to pay for HIV treatments for low-income, underserved people living with HIV/AIDS, and it reflected HRSA’s effort to help the medical community offset the cost of treating PLWHA. Today, some 20 years later, ADAP is the biggest budget initiative in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.

29 June 1987

The painting, the Le Pont de Trinquetaille by Vincent Van Gogh, was bought for $20.4 million at an auction in London, England.

LONDON — Dutch-born artist Vincent van Gogh’s “The Bridge at Trinquetaille” was sold at auction Monday for the equivalent of $20.2 million, the second-highest price ever paid for a painting.

The winning bid in the sale at Christie’s auction house that took just over one minute came in a telephone call from an unidentified German-speaking collector in Europe.

The bidding–in British pounds–was raised in increments equivalent to $800,000. The total price includes a 10% commission charged to the buyer.

Last March in London, Van Gogh’s dazzling yellow painting called “Sunflowers” became the most expensive auctioned picture when a Japanese firm, Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co., paid $39.9 million for the painting.

“Le Pont de Trinquetaille,” portrays an iron bridge that spans the Rhone River in southern France between Arles and its suburb of Trinquetaille. It was painted in a single afternoon in 1888–less than two years before its impoverished creator committed suicide at the age of 37. Van Gogh thought it might be worth $100, according to Christie’s Impressionist expert, James Roundell.

The painting was sent for sale by an American, Sonja Kramarsky, of New York, a descendant of Siegfried Kramarsky of Amsterdam who bought it at a Paris sale in 1932 for about $18,000.

The entire Kramarsky collection, including the Van Gogh bridge, was sent from Holland to the United States for safekeeping just before World War II.

For the past three years, the painting had been on loan to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

17 June 1987

The dusky seaside sparrow becomes extinct.

he dusky seaside sparrow, Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens, was a non-migratory subspecies of the seaside sparrow, found in Florida in the natural salt marshes of Merritt Island and along the St. Johns River. The last definite known individual died on June 17, 1987, and the subspecies was officially declared extinct in December 1990.

The dusky seaside sparrow was first categorized as a species in 1873, after its discovery on March 17, 1872, by Charles Johnson Maynard. Its dark coloration and distinct song are what separates it as a subspecies of other seaside sparrows. Found in the marshes of Florida’s Atlantic Coast on Merrit Island and the upper St. Johns River, the dusky seaside sparrow was geographically isolated from other seaside sparrows. It was categorized as a subspecies in 1973. Even though the dusky’s mitochondrial DNA is the same as the mitochondrial DNA of other seaside sparrow populations, DNA testing by itself does not demonstrate that its subspecies classification is undeserving. In 1981, only five dusky seaside sparrows remained, all being males. Conservation efforts were made by trying to breed the remaining duskies with Scott’s seaside sparrows in order to create half dusky hybrid offspring. “Unfortunately, although the Fish and Wildlife Service initially supported the crossbreeding program, it withdrew its support due to Interior’s hybrid policy”. Due to only the males being left, even though duskies could be crossbred with other seaside sparrows, there would never be another pure dusky seaside sparrow again.

When Merritt Island was flooded with the goal of reducing the mosquito population around the Kennedy Space Center, the sparrows’ nesting grounds were devastated, and their numbers plummeted. Later, the marshes surrounding the river were drained to facilitate highway construction; this was a further blow. Eventually, pollution and pesticides took such a high toll that by 1979, only six dusky seaside sparrows were known to exist — all of whom were males; a female was last sighted in 1975.

Captive breeding of all remaining dusky seaside sparrows with the Scott’s seaside sparrow from Florida’s gulf coast was approved in 1979. By 1980 five dusky seaside sparrows were in a captive breeding facility in Gainesville, Florida. One, banded in 1978 with an orange leg band was unique.

“Orange Band” was left by himself on the St. Johns Unit of the St. Johns NWR[5] after a yellow-leg-banded dusky was captured in 1979. Field observations of color banded sparrows from 1975 to 1979 indicated that dusky seaside sparrows seldom traveled more than a mile or two in their lifetimes. In April 1980, “Orange Band” was again observed on the St. Johns Unit, but was surprisingly captured in June eight miles south on the Beeline Unit in the company of a dusky with a green leg band. Before finding “Green Band”, “Orange Band” passed the general vicinity of the two unbanded dusky seaside sparrows.

In 1983 the last four living dusky seaside sparrows were taken to the Walt Disney World Resort, to continue crossbreeding and living out their days in a protected habitat on the Discovery Island nature reserve. By March 31, 1986, only “Orange Band” remained.

Despite being blind in one eye, “Orange Band” reached extreme old age for a sparrow, living at least nine years, and possibly as many as thirteen, before dying on June 17, 1987.

After the death of the final “pure” dusky sparrow, the breeding program was discontinued due to the fact that it was thought the hybrids that exist could not reproduce to create dusky sparrows, since they did not share the proper mtDNA that dusky sparrows possess. However, research done on a similar species known as Passerella iliaca, or the fox sparrow, was able to show that some subspecies of one plumage group had the plumage of another despite having the “wrong” mtDNA type. This potentially meant that if the breeding program was continued with the dusky sparrow hybrids, sparrows with the same color plumage as the dusky sparrows would eventually be produced. Unfortunately, shortly after the breeding program was halted, the remaining hybrid sparrows either died or escaped captivity, leading to the final extinction of the taxon.
“Green Band” proved elusive, and was never recaptured after having been banded. He was last seen on July 23, 1980.

20 March 1987

The Food and Drug Administration approves the anti-AIDS drug, AZT.

On March 20, 1987, the HIV/AIDS community received news that a powerful breakthrough in HIV treatment had been achieved. On that day, the Food and Drug Administration approved zidovudine, the most effective drug to date for combating HIV/AIDS and the first anti-HIV drug approved for use in the United States.

Soon thereafter, HRSA launched its AZT Drug Reimbursement Program. This program brought life-prolonging treatment to people who lacked the financial or insurance resources to acquire AZT on their own.

AZT Drug Reimbursement Program grants were awarded via letters to the governors in all 50 States, “It had the least amount of paperwork associated with it of any grant I’ve ever seen in my life,” says Director of the HAB Division of Training and Technical Assistance, Steven Young. “All we had to do was sign a letter of commitment and that was it!” Young was at the New Jersey State Department of Health, Division of AIDS Prevention and Control when the AZT program was launched.

Award levels were based on the percentage of U.S. AIDS patients living in the State. Five hard-hit States—New York, California, Texas, Florida, and New Jersey—received 71 percent of the funds, or about $21.1 million.

HRSA’s AZT Drug Reimbursement Program laid the foundation for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program authorized under the CARE Act of 1990. ADAP was designed to pay for HIV treatments for low-income, underserved people living with HIV/AIDS, and it reflected HRSA’s effort to help the medical community offset the cost of treating PLWHA. Today, some 20 years later, ADAP is the biggest budget initiative in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.

27 November 1987

South African Airways Flight 295 crashes all on board were killed.


South African Airways Flight 295, a Boeing 747 named Helderberg, was a commercial flight from Taiwan to South Africa that suffered a catastrophic in-flight fire in the cargo area and crashed into the Indian Ocean east of Mauritius on 28 November 1987, killing everyone on board. An extensive salvage operation was mounted to try to recover the flight data recorders, one of which was recovered from a depth of 4,900 metres (16,100 ft)—the deepest successful salvage operation ever conducted.

The official inquiry, headed by Judge Cecil Margo, was unable to determine the cause of the fire, leading to a number of conspiracy theories being advanced in the following years.

South African Airways Flight 295 was a Boeing 747-200B Combi, named The Helderberg that was delivered to the airline in 1980. The aircraft took off on 27 November 1987 from Taipei Chiang Kai Shek International Airport, on a flight to Johannesburg via Mauritius. Dawie Uys served as the captain of the flight.

The Boeing 747-200B Combi is a variant of the aircraft that permits the mixing of passengers and airfreight on the main deck according to load factors on any given route and Class B cargo compartment regulations. Flight 295 had 140 passengers and six pallets of cargo on the main deck. The master waybills stated that 47,000 kilograms of baggage and cargo were loaded on the plane. A Taiwanese customs official performed a surprise inspection of some of the cargo; he did not find any cargo that could be characterised as suspicious.

At some point during the flight, a fire developed in the cargo section on the main deck; the fire was probably not extinguished before impact. The ‘smoke evacuation’ checklist calls for the aircraft to be depressurised, and for two of the cabin doors to be opened. No evidence exists that the checklist was followed, or the doors opened. A crew member might have gone into the cargo hold to try to fight the fire. A charred fire extinguisher was later recovered from the wreckage on which investigators found molten metal.

6 October 1987

Fiji becomes a republic.


In October 06, 1987. Fiji finally became a republic. It is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean. The Fijian Islands were given independence as a Dominion after the British rule which ended in 1970. The Republic of Fiji, has removed Elizabeth II as head of state which was proclaimed on 6 October 1987 after two military coups. Following the election of the Indian-dominated government of Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra on 13 April 1987, Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka carried out the first of two military coups on 14 May 1987. At first, Rabuka expressed loyalty to Queen Elizabeth II. However, Governor-General Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, uphold Fiji’s constitution, refused to swear in the new government headed by Rabuka, and so Rabuka declared a republic on 6 October 1987. This was accepted by the British government on 15 October 1987, and Ganilau resigned on the same day.