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Environment Act. 20 Dec 2017

Fronteras del conocimiento (Frontiers of knowledge) Award for Veerabhadran Ramanathan: “Climate change is a moral problem”

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards have  distinguished, in the Climate Change category, a scientist who has devoted his career to investigating agents that cause global warming: Veerabhadran Ramanathan.

This reputed Indian climatologist is the discoverer of the existence of other gases and pollutants that are responsible for altering the climate on Earth, in addition to the known CO2. These elements have enormous power, but can be acted on and short-term results can be obtained.

In 1975, Ramanathan had already discovered that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), previously associated with the destruction of the ozone layer, were also very potent greenhouse gases and were contributing to climate change. His discovery caused a huge impact on the scientific world and helped to discover that other gases, such as methane and HFCs, replacements for CFCs in refrigerators because they did not damage the ozone layer, were agents that caused the greenhouse effect.

The findings did not end there. Ramanathan and other scientists found that these gases called “trace” are responsible for 45% of the greenhouse effect attributable to human activity. In the nineties, after working for NASA and now as a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego (USA), Ramanathan further progressed in his research, focusing on the role of particles in suspension on climate change.

Today his commitment to the fight against global warming and his concern for the most vulnerable populations in the event of the natural disasters that it generates is unquestionable. “It’s a moral problem, which requires us to change our behavior as a society and start thinking beyond ourselves and even our children. We must start thinking about the planet and those who live far away.”

The jury highlighted the work of Ramanathan who “has inspired to propose and evaluate practical actions to mitigate climate change and improve both air quality and human health, especially in the poorest regions of the planet” and recalls that his work is essential when it comes to “evaluating the strategies proposed to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.”

Ramanathan  joins the prestigious list of individuals awarded by the BBVA Foundation in this category.

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