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Climate Change: Scientific Authority Meets Moral Authority

Thanks to Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s┬áVeerabhadran Ramanathan, a “second front” of climate change mitigation has emerged, reviving hopes that the most dangerous consequences of climate change can at least be delayed for several decades. (If you haven’t already, you can follow his remarkable journey and landmark discoveries in the first three episodes of UCTV Prime’s series Lifting the Blanket: The Pursuit of a Climate Solution.”)

But when an African teenager attending a United Nations event for high schoolers asked him what he is doing personally about climate change, Ramanathan realized that his recognized authority within the climate science community could only get him so far in affecting change. That encounter set Ramanathan off on the next phase of his career, forming meaningful alliances with religious and spiritual leaders who offer the moral authority to help make the matter of global warming — and the simple steps he’s helped develop to effectively reduce it — resonate on a personal level with today’s global citizens.

With enough involvement from policymakers and individuals around the world, Ramanathan projects that society can reduce the rate of global warming by as much as 50% during our lifetimes, which could help slow down the melting of the Himalayan glaciers, arctic sea ice, and sea level rise, while possibly saving as many as 4 million lives per year among those living under the blanket of pollutants that contribute to 40% of the current global warming problem.

Find out where Ramanathan’s journey has taken him — and us — in the fourth and final episode of the series, “Scientific Authority Meets Moral Authority.”

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