Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Steve Schneider in Memoriam

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Noted climate scientist and a great friend of Australia, Steve Schneider, died twelve months ago on a flight from Göteborg to London. This week he is being remembered on the anniversary of his death and next month his memory will be celebrated at the Steve Schneider Symposium in Boulder Colorado.

Steve was a great communicator of risk, understanding its emotion but never losing sight of the science. In explaining his views on risk he always separated his views on whether or not to act from the scientific evidence supporting his understanding those risks. He was in Australia at the end of June 2010 at the largest conference on climate adaptation ever held, organised by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility on the Gold Coast. He also did a great session on SBS’s Insight with an audience not so enamoured of climate science.

One of my memories of the adaptation conference was when I was sitting on a panel offering an alternate view to something or other (this is not unusual), Steve and Kris Ebi are sitting in the front row grinning like Cheshire cats with Steve saying “No-one else thinks like you, Roger”.

Despite health problems over the past decade Steve continued to travel, go to meetings, give talks, answer requests, meet people and tell stories. An email list SHS-friends has been set up by a colleague (Kudos: J-P Ypersele) that shares photos, reminiscences and notices of events, encouraging us all to keep up our efforts set by his great example. He was travelling against doctor’s orders and had cut back on physio because of time. The embolism that ended it all was quite possibly as a result of this. His wife Terry thought the travel was crazy (Steve would have agreeded but he did it anyway), and his family said recently, “He fought to save our planet for our children. Now it’s up to us. We miss you Steve.” Ditto.

Andy Revkin at Dot Earth NY Times has written a great piece: Steve Schneider’s Climate View. Worth a look.

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Written by Roger Jones

July 21, 2011 at 12:35 am

Posted in Climate change

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