We are delighted to announce that Anthony Leiserowitz and Edward Maibach have been named by Climate One as this year’s winners of the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication. The award is given to a natural or social scientist who has made extraordinary scientific contributions and communicated that knowledge to a broad public in a clear and compelling fashion. This year it will be shared between the two. The award was established in honor of Stephen Henry Schneider, one of the founding fathers of climatology who died suddenly in 2010.
The award jurors are Naomi Oreskes (Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University), Cristine Russell (Senior Fellow, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Harvard University), and J. Marshall Shepherd (Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Georgia). The jurors decided that the work of Leiserowitz and Maibach exemplifies the rare ability to be both superb scientists and powerful communicators in the mold of Stephen Schneider.
The award will be presented in December by Climate One, a project of The Commonwealth Club of California, and is underwritten by Tom R. Burns, Nora Machado and Michael Haas.
Statement from Juror Oreskes
“No one has done more to help us understand how the American people understand climate change than Tony Leiserowitz and Ed Maibach. Their work has set the standard for social scientific investigations of what Americans think about climate change and why they think it.”
Statement from Juror Russell
"The outstanding work of Leiserowitz and Maibach is the gold standard for public opinion polling on climate change and energy. They have provided a long-term picture of the slow but growing support among the American public for action to combat the devastating impacts of human-caused climate change and effectively communicated their results through the media. Their important Six Americas research on climate change has documented a strong shift toward 'alarmed' and 'concerned' and a drop in the 'doubtful' and 'dismissive' groups."
Statement from Dr. Leiserowitz
I am so honored to receive the 2020 Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication with my dear friend and colleague Dr. Ed Maibach. It’s an enormous honor to join such an amazing, pioneering, and courageous group of climate science communicators.
Ed and I have devoted our careers to connecting the worlds of climate science, policy, and civil society and are very grateful for the support of the many scientists, students, staff, and funders who have made our work possible, as well as the many individuals and organizations who have used our research insights to advance climate science and solutions.
This award is especially meaningful to me as Steve Schneider had an enormous influence on my early career. I had the great privilege of working with him at the Aspen Global Change Institute, right after my undergraduate degree. Steve was a mentor and a role model of how to be both a great scientist and a great communicator, unafraid to patiently, calmly, but firmly speak truth to power. It’s an incredible honor to now, years later, receive this award in his name!
Statement from Dr. Maibach
Receiving this award—especially with my colleague and dear friend Anthony Leiserowitz—is a wonderful honor. I never met Professor Schneider, although I’m acutely aware of the fact that I’ve been standing on his shoulders throughout my journey. So many of the people who welcomed me into what Steve called “the battle to save Earth’s climate,” and who coached me on how to be useful, credit Steve for his mentorship and role modeling—including many past Schneider Award winners.
As a public health professional, I’m battling to save earth’s climate because doing so is necessary to protect the health and wellbeing of everyone alive today, and all who are yet to come—especially the least privileged of us, who are the most vulnerable. For even the chance to be useful in this way is an honor beyond measure.
About Dr. Leiserowitz
Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D. is the founder and Director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and a Senior Research Scientist at the Yale School of the Environment. He is an expert on public climate change and environmental beliefs, attitudes, policy preferences, and behavior, and the psychological, cultural, and political factors that shape them.
Dr. Leiserowitz conducts research at the global, national, and local scales, including many studies of the American public. He conducted the first global study of public values, attitudes, and behaviors regarding sustainable development and has published more than 200 scientific articles, chapters, and reports. He has served as a contributing author, panel member, advisor or consultant to diverse organizations including the IPCC (AR6), the National Academy of Sciences (America’s Climate Choices), the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Harvard Kennedy School, the United Nations Development Program, the Gallup World Poll, and the World Economic Forum, among others.
Dr. Leiserowitz is a recipient of the Friend of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education and a Mitofsky Innovator Award from the American Association of Public Opinion Research. He is also the host of Climate Connections, a radio program broadcast each day on more than 600 stations and frequencies nationwide.
About Dr. Maibach
Edward Maibach is a Distinguished University Professor at George Mason University and the Founding Director of Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication
. Defining himself “first, foremost and always” as a public health professional, Dr. Maibach’s exclusive focus since 2007 has been on climate change as the world’s most pressing threat to public health and wellbeing.
His research—funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA and private foundations—focuses on public understanding and engagement in climate change. With Anthony Leiserowitz (Yale Program on Climate Change Communication), Dr. Maibach co-directs the Climate Change in the American Mind polling project, a research program currently in its 12th year. The project is best known for identifying and tracking the ongoing evolution of Global Warming’s Six Americas—six groups of Americans with distinct views, behaviors and policy preferences regarding climate change. Insights from Climate Change in the American Mind polls led him to explore and develop various avenues to enhance public understanding and engagement in climate change. Notable examples include Climate Matters, and the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health.
Dr. Maibach earned his PhD in communication science at Stanford University, his MPH at San Diego State University, and his BA at University of California, San Diego. Prior to coming to Mason, he served as Associate Director of the National Cancer Institute, Worldwide Director of Social Marketing at Porter Novelli, and Board Chairman for Kidsave International. He is currently a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
About Dr. Schneider
Dr. Stephen H. Schneider was the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, professor of biological sciences, professor (by courtesy) of civil and environmental engineering, and a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Schneider received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and plasma physics from Columbia University in 1971. He studied the role of greenhouse gases and suspended particulate material on climate as a postdoctoral fellow at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in 1972 and was a member of the scientific staff of NCAR from 1973-1996, where he co-founded the Climate Project. In 2002, Schneider was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Internationally recognized for research, policy analysis and outreach in climate change, Schneider focused on climate change science, integrated assessment of ecological and economic impacts of human-induced climate change, and identifying viable climate policies and technological solutions. He also consulted with federal agencies and/or White House staff in the Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and both Bush administrations. His work is chronicled at climatechange.net.
Past Winners of The Stephen H. Schneider Award Presented by Climate One
- 2019 Dr. Robert Bullard, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy, Texas Southern University
- 2018 Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, Professor and Director, Climate Science Center, Texas Tech University
- 2017 Dr. Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Penn State University
- 2016 Dr. Naomi Oreskes, Professor of History of Science and affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University
- 2015 Dr. Chris Field, Director, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science
- 2014 Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Distinguished Professor, Oregon State University
- 2013 Dr. Nicholas Stern, Chair, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change
- 2012 Dr. James Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
- 2011 Dr. Richard Alley, Professor of Geosciences, Penn State University
Climate One is a special project at The Commonwealth Club of California, a nonprofit and nonpartisan public forum founded in San Francisco in 1903. Climate One conversations feature energy companies and environmentalists, Republicans and Democrats, the exciting and the scary aspects of the climate challenge. Hosted by founder Greg Dalton, the show is broadcast on NPR Now, public radio stations around the country, and released every Friday as a podcast, reaching over 50,000 listeners per episode. Learn more at Climate One
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