Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development

NRP: Remembering Mario Molina

November 2, 2020

Back in 1974 scientists started calling for the protection of the ozone layer, much as they are sounding the alarm today to protect our climate. At the time chemicals known as Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, were used in everything from refrigeration to hair spray. CFCs were making holes in the thin layer of ozone high in the sky that protects life on Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The discovery linking CFCs to ozone depletion was made by two scientists at the University of California at Irvine named Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina, and they shared many prizes for their work. Professor Rowland has been dead since 2012, but Mario Molina died at the beginning of October just this year. We pause to remember Mario Molina for his part of the discovery and also the hard work he did to help convince the world to ban those chemicals, and after a dozen years the whole world finally listened to science and acted to ban CFCs in 1987 under the Montreal Protocol.

Professor Molina continued to work on the climate change problem to his last days. His final article was published after he passed away. It was an Op-Ed written with Durwood Zaelke that laid out a 10 year plan to reduce HFCs and mitigate climate change.

NPR Living on Earth’s Paloma Beltran has more.

Listen here.

Air Date: Week of October 30, 2020