Dr. Ram Ramanathan

Distinguished professor (emeritus) of climate sustainability, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Ramanathan is the Distinguished professor (emeritus) of climate sustainability at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego; and Cornell Climate Solutions Scholar at Cornell University. In 1975, He discovered the greenhouse effect of chlorofluorocarbons and other heat trapping pollutants. In 1980, he teamed up with R. Madden and predicted that global warming would be detected by 2000. This prediction was verified by IPCC in 2001. He led international field campaigns, developed unmanned aircraft platforms for tracking brown clouds worldwide. He was the chief-scientist for the Indian Ocean Experiment, which discovered the wide-spread Atmospheric Brown Clouds over Asia and the Indian Ocean. His findings on super pollutants (Methane, HFCs, Ozone and black carbon) have led to several successful climate mitigation actions worldwide, including the formation of Climate and Clean Air Coalition by the United Nations to mitigate these pollutants. His findings also led to several successful climate mitigation actions in California and worldwide.

He served as the science advisor for Pope Francis’ Holy See delegation to the 2015 UN Paris climate summit and the 2016 UN climate summit in Marrakech. He also advised CA Governor Jerry Brown on Climate Actions. He was the founding chair of University of California’s Bending the Curve: Climate solutions education protocol, taught at many campuses. His focus now is on bouncing back from the climate crisis to climate resilience. In 2023, coedited and coauthored a book on Resilience Of People and Ecosystems Under Climate stress, published by the Vatican Press. He is now co-organizing a summit of Mayors and Governors at the Vatican in May 2024 to produce a Planetary Climate Resilience Protocol.

He has received many global honors including the 1997 Volvo Prize, 2009 Tyler Prize, 2013 UN’s Champion of Earth, 2014 Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foriegn policy, 2018 Tang Laureate, and the 2021 Blue Planet Prize for his work on Short Lived Climate Pollutants. His other honors include: Elected member of Pontifical Academy of Science (council member); Royal Swedish Academy of Science (which awards the Nobel prizes), the American Philosophical Society and the US National Academy of Science; and the Honorary Doctor of Science degree from UMASS_Boston in 2023.