By RTCC staff
The 1995 Nobel prize winner in Chemistry says it’s vital an international agreement that puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions is implemented urgently.
Mario J. Molina won the award for helping save the world from the consequences of ozone depletion, and says it is now increasingly clear that man-made climate change is causing extreme weather events across the world.
Speaking on Monday at the American Chemical Society, Molina said a global agreement based on the Montreal Protocol, which helped phase out substances responsible for depleting the ozone layer, could be an answer.
“The new agreement should put a price on the emission of greenhouse gases, which would make it more economically favorable for countries to do the right thing. The cost to society of abiding by it would be less than the cost of the climate change damage if society does nothing,” he said.
“[T]here is no doubt that the risk is very large, and we could have some consequences that are very damaging, certainly for portions of society,” he said. “It’s not very likely, but there is some possibility that we would have catastrophes.”
While acknowledging there could be no “absolute certainty” that global warming is causing extreme weather events, Molina said that the weight of evidence over the last year suggested a strong link between global emissions and climate change.
“People may not be aware that important changes have occurred in the scientific understanding of the extreme weather events that are in the headlines.
“They are now more clearly connected to human activities, such as the release of carbon dioxide ― the main greenhouse gas ― from burning coal and other fossil fuels.”
But he acknowledged that despite the relative success of the Montreal Protocol, it would be impossible to replicate what they had achieved in the climate change talks because the issue is so politically charged.
“Climate change is a much more pervasive issue,” he explained.
“Fossil fuels, which are at the centre of the problem, are so important for the economy, and it affects so many other activities. That makes climate change much more difficult to deal with than the ozone issue.”