Noteworthy Press Releases from Japan

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The Asahi Glass Foundation



This year marks the 30th awarding of the Blue Planet Prize, the international environmental award sponsored by the Asahi Glass Foundation, chaired by Takuya Shimamura.  Every year, the Foundation selects two winners, individuals or organizations who have made significant contributions to the resolution of global environmental problems.  The Board of Directors have selected the following 2021 Blue Planet Prize recipients.

1.   Prof. Veerabhadran Ramanathan (USA)  Born in India, Date of Birth: 24 November, 1944

Edward A. Frieman Endowed Presidential Chair in Climate Sustainability
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Professor Ramanathan has spent decades investigating the climate effects of non-CO2 pollutants, including the role of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs): methane, tropospheric ozone, halocarbons (HFCs*1), and black carbon*2. His contributions include the discovery of the super greenhouse effect of halocarbons (CFCs*3), and clarifying the climate effects of black carbon through an international field project he led on Atmospheric Brown Clouds (ABCs). He showed that reductions in SLCPs can rapidly reduce warming and significantly improve air pollution. He later took the initiative in global actions to reduce SLCPs.

*1 Hydrofuorocarbons (CFC alternatives), no ozone depletion potential but much greater global warming potential than CO2.
*2 Commonly known as soot; formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel, and biomass.
*3 Chlorofluorocarbons, large ozone depletion potential and much greater global warming potential than CO2.

2.  Prof. Mohan Munasinghe (Sri Lanka)   Born in Sri Lanka, Date of Birth: 25 July, 1945

Founder Chairman, Munasinghe Institute for Development (MIND)

Professor Munasinghe pioneered the integrative, transdisciplinary ‘Sustainomics’ framework which views development issues from environmental, social, and economic perspectives. Innovative concepts like ‘balanced inclusive green growth (BIGG)’ and ‘millennium consumption goals (MCGs)’ emerged from Sustainomics. BIGG calls for each country to take a sustainable development path in accordance with its development stage, while the MCGs ask the affluent, who consume most global output, to adopt consumption goals to reduce the burden on the planet. He has been developing practical activities using environmental economics and policy to implement these concepts worldwide.

•Each recipient is presented with a certificate of merit, a commemorative trophy, and 50 million Japanese yen in prize money.

•We’d like to hold the Blue Planet Prize Award Ceremony and commemorative lectures, which could well be on a smaller scale, while taking proper measures to prevent infection with the new coronavirus. The Award Ceremony is scheduled on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at Tokyo Kaikan. Commemorative lectures will be given on October 7 and 9, 2021, at United Nations University (Shibuya Ward, Tokyo) and at Kyoto University, respectively.

•This press release and the photo of each recipient will be published 11 a.m. on Wednesday June 16 on the website of the Asahi Glass Foundation (

For more information, please contact: Toshihiro Tanuma, PhD
2nd Floor, Science Plaza, 5-3 Yonbancho Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 102-0081 Japan
Phone +81-3-5275-0620, Fax +81-3-5275-0871
e-mail:, URL:

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