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The Montreal Protocol has halted 99% of global production of chemical substances that deplete stratospheric ozone, which protects life on earth from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UVB) radiation. UVB causes skin cancer and cataracts, suppresses the human immune system, destroys plastics, and damages agricultural crops and natural ecosystems. Because ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) are powerful greenhouse gases, the Montreal Protocol also protects climate. From the authors’ perspectives in multiple roles as environmental entrepreneurs, practitioners, and authorities, this paper explains how individuals, companies, and military organizations researched, developed, commercialized and implemented alternatives to ODSs that are also safer for climate. With the benefit of hindsight, the authors reflect on what was neglected or done badly under the Montreal Protocol and present lessons learned on how Montreal Protocol institutions can be renewed and revitalized to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).