It’s highly likely that recent extreme weather events around the world were the result of man-made global warming, according to Nobel Prize-winning scientist Mario Molina.
Molina, who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his part in the discovery that CFCs were depleting the ozone layer, said that extreme weather events were now strongly linked with man-made global warming.
Speaking at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, he said: “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."
Molina, who lectures at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, emphasised that there is no "absolute certainty" that global warming is causing extreme weather events.
But he said that scientific insights during the last year or so strengthen the link. Even if the scientific evidence continues to fall short of the absolute certainty measure, the heat, drought, severe storms and other weather extremes may prove beneficial in making the public more aware of global warming and the need for action, said Molina.
"It's important that people are doing more than just hearing about global warming," he said. "People may be feeling it, experiencing the impact on food prices, getting a glimpse of what everyday life may be like in the future, unless we as a society take action."
Molina said that it's not certain what will happen to the Earth if nothing is done to slow down or halt climate change.
"But there 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."
Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, told The Huffington Post UK: "It is significant that the world’s leading scientists from outside the field of climate research, such as Mario Molina, are drawing attention to the growing evidence that global warming is already having an impact on the distribution, frequency and intensity of some extreme weather events.
"We can expect the effect of global warming on extreme weather to strengthen over the next few decades as the climate gradually responds to the elevated levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
"Beyond that, we have a clear choice about whether we want to deal with the increasing financial and social cost of more extreme weather, or instead take steps to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving these trends.”
Molina's comments come after a Manhattan-sized iceberg broke away from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier in July, sparking fears that man-made global warming is having a devastating effect on the Arctic environment.
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more