Climate One Honors Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf

JUNE 13, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO — Climate One, a project from The Commonwealth Club of California, today announced the recipient of the twelfth annual Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication: Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf, Co-Head of Research, Department on Earth System Analysis of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor of Physics of the Oceans at the University of Potsdam.

Each year, Climate One grants the $20,000 award 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, underwritten by Tom R. Burns, Nora Machado and Michael Haas, was established in honor of Stephen Henry Schneider, one of the founding fathers of climatology, who died suddenly in 2010. 

“I have followed the important contributions of Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf and have been inspired by his approach to science and engagement,” said J. Marshall Shepherd, Schneider Award juror and Professor and Director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the University of Georgia. “Dr. Schneider's work was global and to honor a colleague whose international reach is so significant is fitting this year."

“I feel thrilled and honored to have been selected for this prize, named after Steve Schneider, who has been one of my heroes since I was a student,” said Dr. Rahmstorf. "I was fortunate to spend quite a bit of time with Steve during the course of my career, and he has been an inspiration both for my research and for my public science communication. I am also humbled by the great line-up of previous laureates, many of whom have inspired my work as well. 

As climate scientists we have the often-unpleasant role of bringing inconvenient news to the public and policy makers - something that isn’t always gratefully received with open arms. It is all the more important for me to get recognition by this prize. It provides a huge support and encouragement to carry on, for which I am extremely grateful,” he said.

“As an outstanding global champion for communicating climate science to the public, Stefan Rahmstorf has been a powerful force in promoting international action to combat the climate crisis. His prolific and wide-ranging outreach includes books, newspaper commentaries, public lectures, blogging, television and Twitter," said Schneider Award juror Cristine Russell, a science journalist and Harvard Kennedy School Senior Fellow.

All jurors believe that the work of Dr. Rahmstorf exemplifies the rare ability to be both a superb scientist and a powerful communicator in the mold of Stephen Schneider. 

About Dr. Rahmstorf 

Stefan Rahmstorf is professor of Physics of the Oceans at Potsdam University and Co-Head of Research Department on Earth System Analysis of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany. 

He is a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher and has published over 140 scientific papers (30 of which appear in the journals Nature, Science and PNAS), and has co-authored four books, two of which are in English (Our Threatened Oceans and The Climate Crisis).

Rahmstorf was a lead author of the 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC and advised the German government from 2004-2013 in the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). In 2007 he became an Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales and in 2010 a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union

In 2017 he was the first scientist outside the US to be awarded the Climate Communication Prize of the American Geophysical Union.  He co-founded the blog as well as the German blog KlimaLounge. Rahmstorf regularly comments in the German news magazine and is Europe’s most-followed climate scientist on Twitter.

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 gasses 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 

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

2021: Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Co-Founder, Urban Ocean Lab & The All We Can Save Project

2020: Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, Director and Senior Research Scientist, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, and Dr. Edward Maibach, Director, George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

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

About Climate One

Climate One is a special project from The Commonwealth Club of California, a nonprofit and nonpartisan public forum founded in San Francisco in 1903. Climate One features empowering conversations on all aspects of the climate emergency - the individual and the systemic, the scary and the exciting – to deepen your understanding of the most critical issue of our time. Hosted by founder Greg Dalton, the show is broadcast on public radio stations around the country, and released every Friday as a podcast, reaching over 140,000 listeners per episode. Learn more at Climate One.