2016 Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication Bestowed Upon Dr. Naomi Oreskes

Media Advisory from

Climate One at

The Commonwealth Club

the nation’s premier public affairs forum


2016 Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication


July 13, 2016


SAN FRANCISCO --- Climate One at The Commonwealth Club announced today that Dr. Naomi Oreskes, will be awarded the sixth annual Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication. The $15,000 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. 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 Professor Larry Goulder (Economics Professor, Stanford University), Dr. Ben Santer (Climate Researcher, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), and Cristine Russel (Senior Fellow, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Harvard University). The jury solicited nominations from a broad spectrum of anonymous experts in the fields of science and communication. The jurors decided that Dr. Oreskes exemplifies the rare ability to be both a superb scientist and powerful communicator in the mold of Stephen Schneider.


“Professor Naomi Oreskes is one of the world’s pre-eminent historians of science,” said juror Santer.  “Her 2004 Science paper helped to quantify, for the first time, the broad scientific consensus on climate change. Her recent research unmasked the forces behind denial of human effects on climate and improved our chances of having a responsible, science-based discussion of climate change solutions,” said Santer.

Juror Russell praised Dr. Oreskes’ communication prowess: "Her defining work has had a significant impact on public understanding of human-caused climate change. Her masterful 2010 popular book, Merchants of Doubt (with co-author Erik M. Conway), and the subsequent documentary film (co-produced by Robby Kenner and Melissa Robledo), drew widespread media attention to the ideological and industrial efforts by climate denialists to undermine climate science.”


Dr. Oreskes will receive the award in San Francisco on Thursday, Dec. 15th at The Commonwealth Club of California. The award is presented by Climate One, a project of The Commonwealth Club, and underwritten by Tom R. Burns, Nora Machado, and Michael Haas.


Dr. Naomi Oreskes  

Naomi Oreskes, Professor of History of Science and affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, is an internationally renowned historian of science and author of numerous books and peer-reviewed papers. For the past decade, Professor Oreskes has primarily been interested in the problem of anthropogenic climate change, with a particular interest in understanding scientific consensus and dissent. She is the co-founder of the Climate Accountability Institute and is investigating the ethical and legal obligations of the individuals and groups who have attempted to discredit the scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change.


Dr. Oreskes started her career as a geologist and received her BS (1st class Honours) from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College London. She worked for three years as an exploration geologist in the Australian outback, and then returned to the United States to receive an inter-disciplinary PhD in geological research and history of science from Stanford University.


Professor Oreskes has lectured widely in diverse venues ranging from the Madison, Wisconsin Civics Club to the Air Force Research Laboratory, and has won numerous prizes including the 2009 Francis Bacon Medal in recognition of outstanding scholarship in the history of science and technology, and the 2011 Climate Change Communicator of the Year. Her 2004 essay “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” where she published her findings on the first quantitative analysis of the scientific consensus on climate change. This made her the first person to point out publicly that the press and some public officials were misrepresenting the state of scientific debate. Her paper has since been widely cited, both in the United States and abroad, including in the Royal Society’s publication, “A Guide to Facts and Fictions about Climate Change” and in Ian McEwan’s novel, Solar.


Professor Oreskes and her work were thrust into the public light, when it was juxtaposed with Max and Jules Boykoff’s work, “Balance as Bias,” in the Academy-award winning film, An Inconvenient Truth. Her 2010 book, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming, co-authored with Erik M. Conway, was the basis of a documentary film and has helped shape the national narrative about the politics of the fossil fuel industry.  


Dr. Stephen H. 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 in the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Dr. 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, Dr. Schneider was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.


Internationally recognized for research, policy analysis and outreach in climate change, Dr. 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, G.H.W. Bush, Clinton and G.W. Bush administrations. His work is chronicled at climatechange.net.


Past Winners of The Stephen H. Schneider Award Presented By Climate One

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

Climate One is the sustainability initiative at The Commonwealth Club of California, a nonprofit and nonpartisan public forum founded in San Francisco in 1903. Climate One produces live events with climate leaders from business, government, academia and advocacy in conversations about energy, economy, and the environment.  Its programs, hosted by founder Greg Dalton, are broadcast on KQED FM and other public radio stations around the country. Climate One’s monthly TV program is broadcast on KRCB TV 22 in Northern California. Climate One. http://www.climate-one.org


Media Contact:  

Riki Rafner

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The Commonwealth Club

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