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Environmental policy

Learning from the ozone solution

21 May 2018 James Dacey

In the May episode of our Physics World Stories podcast, Andrew Glester is in conversation with the Nobel laureate Mario Molina. The Mexican researcher shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on understanding formation and decomposition of ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere. He talks about how winning the award transformed his status as a scientist, giving him a unique platform to influence politicians.

The banning of substances (mainly CFC chemicals) that deplete the ozone under the 1987 Montreal Protocol is hailed as a shining example of coordinated global action in tackling an environmental issue. Molina talks about how industries in the 1980s paid attention to the scientists at a relatively early stage, and sought alternative products and processes to CFCs. He engages with the reasons why it is harder today when dealing with the more multifaceted issue of climate change.

Later in the podcast, Glester picks up the story with Lorraine Whitmarsh, a social scientist at the Tyndall Centre – a network of universities seeking sustainable responses to climate change. Whitmarsh is interested in why the general public responds to the science of climate change in particular ways. She is also interested in practical solutions for shifting to a lower carbon lifestyles and offers her top tips for reducing your carbon impact.

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