Molina, McKenna win Climate and Clean Air Awards

By Dario Belluomini, Oct 03, 2018, 16:08 2 minute reading

Chemist Mario Molina and Canadian Minister Catherine McKenna were among those recognized by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition for helping to reduce HFCs.

From left: Helena Molin Valdes, CCAC; Mario Molina; and California State Senator Ricardo Lara. Photo from CCAC.

At a ceremony in San Francisco, Calif., last month, the Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) presented Nobel Prize-winning chemist Mario Molina and Canadian environmental minister Catherina McKenna with Climate and Clean Air Awards in the individual prize category, praising their efforts in combating HFCs.

They were among the individuals honored at the ceremony for actions taken to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) – which include HFCs – and protect the climate; the event took place on September 12 during the Global Climate Action Summit. The CCAC is a global platform supporting fast action and research on climate under the UNEP framework, particularly targeting SLCPs.

A Mexican-born chemist, Mario Molina won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pivotal role on the discovery of the harmful effect of CFCs on the atmosphereic ozone layer. His studies paved new way for research into environmentally friendly alternatives to synthetic refrigerants. “When it comes to climate change you can either be pessimistic or optimistic,” he said. “I choose to be optimistic. There’s a lot we can do to rapidly reduce warming.”

Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change since 2015, has been at the forefront of reducing the country’s climate impact. A major result was achieved on April 16, when the government of Canada launched an HFC phase-down plan; in line with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, it aims to limit the consumption of HFC by 85% by 2036 (read more here). “Canada’s work to address short-lived climate pollutants is a key part of our fight against climate change and has been an area that I take seriously”, she said in a video message.

The awards were delivered in the presence of California State Senator Ricardo Lara, who authored the California Cooling Act (entered into force on August 30) to incentivize natural refrigerant systems (read more here).

Besides Molina and McKenna, other award recipients in the individual category were:  actor Leonardo DiCaprio (for raising awareness of climate change), scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan (for his research on super pollutants) and environmentalist Hal Harvey (for his philanthropic investments in climate actions).

Other awards were given in the Policy and Innovation categories. (See

By Dario Belluomini

Oct 03, 2018, 16:08

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