We were greatly saddened to learn that our revered colleague Stephen Schneider passed away this morning.
We are posting a personal account by Ben Santer of Steve’s amazing accomplishments and contributions. Ben’s account provides a glimpse into what made Steve so special, and why he will be so deeply missed:
Today the world lost a great man. Professor Stephen Schneider – a climate scientist at Stanford University – passed away while on travel in the United Kingdom.
Stephen Schneider did more than any other individual on the planet to help us realize that human actions have led to global-scale changes in Earth’s climate. Steve was instrumental in focusing scientific, political, and public attention on one of the major challenges facing humanity – the problem of human-caused climate change.
Some climate scientists have exceptional talents in pure research. They love to figure out the inner workings of the climate system. Others have strengths in communicating complex scientific issues to non-specialists. It is rare to find scientists who combine these talents.
Steve Schneider was just such a man.
Steve had the rare gift of being able to explain the complexities of climate science in plain English. He could always find the right story, the right metaphor, the right way of distilling difficult ideas and concepts down to their essence. Through his books, his extensive public speaking, and his many interactions with the media, Steve did for climate science what Carl Sagan did for astronomy.
But Steve was not only the world’s pre-eminent popularizer of climate science. He also made remarkable contributions to our scientific understanding of the nature and causes of climate change. He performed pioneering research on the effects of aerosol particles on climate. This work eventually led to investigation of how planetary cooling might be caused by the aerosol particles arising from large-scale fires generated by a nuclear war. This clear scientific warning of the possible climatic consequences of nuclear war may have nudged our species onto a different – and hopefully more sustainable – pathway.
Steve was also a pioneer in the development and application of the numerical models we now use to study climate change. He and his collaborators employed both simple and complex computer models in early studies of the role of clouds in climate change, and in research on the climatic effects of massive volcanic eruptions. He was one of the first scientists to address what we now call the “signal detection problem” – the problem of determining where we might expect to see the first clear evidence of a human effect on global climate.
After spending many years at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Steve moved to Stanford in 1996. At Stanford, Steve and his wife Terry Root led ground-breaking research on the impacts of human-caused climate change on the distribution and abundance of plant and animal species. More recently, Steve kept intellectual company with some of the world’s leading experts on the economics of climate change, and attempted to estimate the cost of stabilizing our planet’s climate. Until his untimely death, he continued to produce cutting-edge scientific research on such diverse topics as abrupt climate change, policy options for mitigating and adapting to climate change, and whether we can usefully identify levels of planetary temperature increase beyond which we risk “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system.
Steve Schneider helped the world understand that the burning of fossil fuels had altered the chemistry of Earth’s atmosphere, and that this change in atmospheric composition had led to a discernible human influence on our planet’s climate. He worked tirelessly to bring this message to the attention of fellow scientists, policymakers, and the general public. His voice was clear and consistent, despite serious illness, and despite encountering vocal opposition by powerful forces – individuals who seek to make policy on the basis of wishful thinking and disinformation rather than sound science.
Steve Schneider epitomized scientific courage. He was fearless. The pathway he chose – to be a scientific leader, to be a leader in science communication, and to fully embrace the interdisciplinary nature of the climate change problem – was not an easy pathway. Yet without the courage of leaders like Stephen Schneider, the world would not be on the threshold of agreeing to radically change the way we use energy. We would not be on the verge of a global treaty to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases.
It was a rare privilege to call Steve Schneider my colleague and friend. It was a privilege to listen to Steve jamming on his beloved 12-string guitar; to sing Bob Dylan songs with him. It was a privilege to share laughter, and good food, and a good glass of red wine. It was a privilege to hear his love of science, and his deep passion for it.
We honor the memory of Steve Schneider by continuing to fight for the things he fought for – by continuing to seek clear understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change. We honor Steve by recognizing that communication is a vital part of our job. We honor Steve by taking the time to explain our research findings in plain English. By telling others what we do, why we do it, and why they should care about it. We honor Steve by raising our voices, and by speaking out when powerful “forces of unreason” seek to misrepresent our science. We honor Steve Schneider by caring about the strange and beautiful planet on which we live, by protecting its climate, and by ensuring that our policymakers do not fall asleep at the wheel.
107 Responses to "A Eulogy to Stephen Schneider"
Paul Clements says
Peter Sinclair (Greenman3610 on YouTube) has a short clip of Dr. Schneider from 1979. It’s worth a watch:
or, a more direct and perhaps more permanent link:
Condolences to family, friends, colleagues, former students and all who will miss him.
Richard Tol says
Sad news and a great loss
Marc Hudson says
Thanks for the wonderful eulogy to an amazing man, Ben. As an earlier poster said- this does flat out suck. As another poster said – now the rest of us have to step up to the plate that bit more.
Steve was an inspiration for me since my student days and he later became a good friend. Not only was he a friend in science, but I will always remember his warm support when I was going through a hard time in my personal life a decade ago. I’ll surely miss his humor and those lively dinners with him and a good bottle of red! This is deeply saddening news that will take some time to digest. Not just a personal loss, but one for the planet.
My thanks to Ben for finding good and fitting words.
John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) says
In his passing may we all take the banner and hold it higher.
May we all carry the standards of his/this communication.
To raise the voice of reason above the noise of confusion.
His voice, is our voice as well
‘We’ must carry on this/his message
and equal the courage of conviction that science allows
That the rigor of science in the face of uncertainty
provides us the foundation for relevant conclusions
and the reason for the cause.
In all this time for those that are raising their voices
We are one voice
Stephen Schneider was not alone but he was a clarion call
We are all in this together
Never truer could be said
‘United we stand divided we fall’
Now, we pick up the standard of those fallen
and raise it higher to answer the call
With confidence and courage
we rise in the face of lies fired at the fortress of sound science
We must raise the banner higher and stand strong
as those that have fallen would have us do
The message is clear
We have only one planet
We are one people
And when discussing the ramifications and
the inertias involved to varying degrees of consequence
We have only one real chance to protect our standards and our democracy. Our:
– Self determination
for all will degrade as this problem worsens
We must convert our energy base to sustainable renewable sources and reduce our consumption or we begin to lose all that we wish to protect, our freedom, prosperity and independence. All these things will erode due to latitudinal shift of the jet-stream, soil moisture content drop, ocean acidification, economic degradation due to all of the above, and needed infrastructure shift. Some of this can be offset by efficient reinvestment in clean technology for our energy infrastructure. I continue to push for responsible action to protect our standards as best as possible in a degrading situation. Anyone voting for any other option is simply voting for a more degraded system where we lose that which we cherish most, our freedom and independence.
These facts remain, it’s a global problem that requires global solutions, individuals and nations can contribute to the solutions. We don’t have to wait for every country to agree, we are all part of the solution if we simply take action:
My condolences to Steve’s family and friends. Thank you Ben for the touching words. May Steve’s family be heartened in this: that we will all carry his/this message onward in our communities, and states, to our leaders and acquaintances, and that science will prevail over the cacophony of lies that are invented on a seemingly daily basis.
It is up to ‘all’ of us.
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mauri pelto says
There are some people you have total confidence in, that they will do their utmost and with integrity. Stephen Schneider was one of these for me. His explanation of the greenhouse effect at a conference in 1983 at Northwestern University inspired me to pursue observations of climate change as a career. Thanks for all your leadership and inexhaustible explanations.
Barton Paul Levenson says
My only personal contact with Stephen Schneider was when he peer-reviewed a paper of mine submitted to Icarus and turned it down. But I never held that against him. He was passionately concerned about getting the science right, and in that paper I hadn’t. He will be missed.
John Church says
The passing of a great spokesperson for the future
A great forward thinker and communicator who alerted the world to many issues. The World is richer as a result of his contribution but poorer with his passing.
Great Words Ben
Diana Liverman says
Steve was my PhD co-supervisor and was my mentor and friend for 28 years. I heard about his death while preparing to brief the USGCRP on the America’s Climate Choices study (for which his was a reviewer) and it cast a shadow over the day because I kept thinking about the massive loss this is to global change research and how I and the research community owe so much to him. He was an amazing person; brilliant, kind and passionate about his work and without doubt the most important influence on my career. I think he knew how much we all cared about him – a few years ago his wife Terry and others organized a conference to celebrate him, and many were able to go to Stanford and thank him publicly for his support and inspiration. I am so glad we did that while he was still with us (and also that I recently sent him a copy of an essay to be published in a geography journal where also acknowledge the ways he changed my life for the better). Many of us recently say Steve speak at the Adaptation summit in Australia. He gave a really good talk and as usual was balancing talking to fellow scientists, policy makers, the media and young scientists. I will miss his counsel and the opportunity to introduce my own students to him – to their intellectual grandfather as we would joke…but of course this is a much larger loss to science and to the planet.
David K says
A wonderful tribute to a man who contributed both to the science and the communication of that science.
Bruce Tabor says
I attended a public lecture given by Stephen at Maquarie University in Sydney only a week ago (and asked him questions from the floor). It was such a privilege to hear him in person.
I did not know him before that lecture, but I soon realised I was listening to a truly great man: a courageous warrior for the truth and for a realistic view of the dangers of climate change – and against the public deceit and spin that currently results in delay and inaction.
I was shocked to read of his sudden passing today.
Ron Taylor says
What a terrible loss. And at a time when he is terribly needed. We must be thankful that the world had him as long as it did.
May the realization of his loss inspire everyone to double our efforts.
My sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Rod B says
Robert Sausen says
The early death of Stephen Schneider is a great loss for the science community. My condolences to his family, friends and co-workers.
Tenney Naumer says
Last night, the news stunned me. This morning, I feel the loss even more, and I had never met him.
Let us remember that one person can change the world, and Stephen Schneider was an example to us all.
All who are able must step forward and carry his standard.
Dan Kammen says
Steve was a close friend and a wonderful, fearless, soul. He was a public intellectual who served the truth, and served up the truth.
I miss him already,
University of California, Berkeley
Don Thieme says
I only heard Stephen speak once and that was over a decade ago. Nonetheless, the experience was memorable and I have also enjoyed many of his extremely accessible explanations of both the scientific and policy issues in climate change research. The entire world and the scientific community in particular has suffered a great loss.
Natasha Andronova says
.. great words, great sorrow.
i feel like a scientific gathering is needed to tribune that generation of scientists of 70th-80th who gave such a great push to development of the climate science. i feel that it is so important for the recent and future generation of scientists to have such a gathering — the gathering, which brings the history of climate science by the scientists who made such history!
here is a nice video of steve in 1979 — just cannot stop listening to it.
JoAnn Valenti says
Sad & shocked. I can’t imagine the climate change battle without him at the helm. Another hole in the world without his voice and intellect — and ability to un-confound it all for us.
Julie Brigham-Grette says
What a horrible loss for us all!
I had never really met Steve Schneider in person, but of course he was a household name to me. So here is some rare trivia. In 1992, I was on the coast of Chukotka studying coastal bluffs of sediments recording the glacial and interglacial history of the Bering Straits. One evening after hard work moving camp along the coast, my mentor and colleague, Dave Hopkins had a heart attack. He fell down and lost all of his strength. We set up his tent for him and he laid there for days with his lungs filled up with fluid etc. He couldn’t breath well etc. And as luck would have it, the weather was horrible and we couldn’t get a Russian helicopter to our coastal camp site facing the raging Bering Sea. We waited for the weather or some other form of rescue for him. There wasn’t much we could do but pass the time talking about life and what it means. But what I will never forget is that at Dave’s request, it was Steve Schneider’s Global Warming book (1989 release) that I read to Dave as he lay there in his tent on the coast of Chukotka. I read him this book over the course of 2-3 days while we waited to get him to a hospital. Eventually, a Russia nuclear ice breaker appeared off the coast, a skiff was launched to the beach in the waves, and they took Dave away to Providenyia where he then got a chartered medivac on Bering Airlines back to Nome hospital and eventually to Fairbanks. Dave insisted I stay and finish the field work, which I did.
Dave died years later in 2001 of course, but I will never forget those days reading to him, and I still have Schneider’s book in my office, tattered a bit from weeks in a tent! Dave was endlessly inspired by Schneider’s views, as was I, if only from a distance.
I assume the AGU should plan a memorial for him, in place of his planned Bjerknes lecture! I think Alan Robock mentioned that Schneider was to give this year’s lecture? …. Julie BG
Jim & Lynda Groom says
What terrible news. Both of us are saddened by the loss of Stephen Schneider. We never had the pleasure of meeting the gentlemen, but we’ve read some of his offerings and of course we loved his blog. Our condolences to the family. What a loss for us all.
Jim DiPeso says
I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Dr. Schneider a couple of times at climate conferences, and always appreciated his booming voice, wicked wit, and his native New Yorker’s impatience with beating around the bush.
We owe Dr. Schneider a great deal for his willingness to stand in the often dangerous intersection where science, politics, and journalism meet in order to build greater public understanding of the colossal climate challenge that we face and to prod us and our elected leaders to act on this knowledge. He will be greatly missed.
Tom Levenson says
Oh damn. I last saw Steve about a year ago. He was a great and relentlessly courageous man, willing to do what most folks (and scientists) won’t for years in defense of something much larger than himself.
He was an enormously kind patron of my first real attempt at a large scale work, and I owe him in proportion. Damn, I’m sorry he’s gone.
Thanks for the piece, Ben.
Greenman has a video clip of Stephen Schneider in 1979. Such a clear articulation of the problem, as it was still emerging – amazing man.
Lynn Vincentnathan says
It was the docu “Is It Hot Enough for You?” in the late 80s that roused me to start taking personal responsibility for AGW, and start mitigating and telling others about it. In that film, Stephen Schneider speaks out about it. He says (I badly paraphrase) we don’t know what nasty surprises might lie in store for us in the future if we fail to mitigate; we might luck out, but it could turn out very bad.
That was the appropriate way to look at the problem and still is today, except now 20+ years later we know a lot more about the bad that lies in store for us. The studies keep coming back “It’s worse than we thought,” and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see which way the wind is blowing on this issue. But Stephen Scheider will always be right — it could get very bad.
I read his LABORATORY EARTH: THE PLANETARY GAME WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE (1997). It is a terrific book for laypersons. Right up there with Hansen’s STORMS OF MY GRANDCHILDREN. The metaphor (or the actuality) that we are conducting an experiment on earth…well, that wouldn’t pass the Institutional Review Board at my U, that’s for sure.
I feel very sad the we and the earth have lost a very valiant champion.
Lee Kump says
A perhaps lesser-recognized attribute of Steve’s was his open mind. I’m thinking about the efforts he put into bringing Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis into the scientific limelight. He wrestled with the concept but knew there was something there worth devoting time to. Sponsored two AGU sessions that led to two books “Scientists on Gaia”.
The engineer in him was also fascinating; the renovations to his home in Boulder, with air that circulated over his pool, through a chlorine filter, then through his house; the argon-sealed windows (way ahead of his time), fluorescent lighting, intelligent air handlers that mixed the upstairs air and basement air when necessary, and the view from his top-floor office “not this view, Lee, sit at my desk and look up (into the flatirons only seen when sitting in his chair).
Richard Alley says
Rest in peace, Steve–you surely didn’t rest much while here, you earned it, and we’re the better for what you did for us.
Lisa Sorenson says
Thank you for the beautiful and fitting eulogy for Steve – a brilliant scientist and communicator. I feel very fortunate to have known Steve through his wife Terry Root (with whom I did a post-doc on climate change impacts on birds/wetlands); Steve taught me all about climate change science, let me borrow his IPCC books, and generously helped me with my research. He had a profound influence on me and was truly an inspiration to so many. His untimely passing is a terrible loss to the world and to Terry and his family. So very sad to lose such a great person, but as someone else posted, filled with gratitude for his life and abundant contributions.
Corey Watts says
Steve will be missed very deeply my so many people around the world. I once had the pleasure of sharing a meal with him and Terry in Melbourne. Formidable, wonderful souls both. He inspired bravery amongst scientists and clear headedness amongst environmentalists. My deepest sympathies to Terry and the rest of his family.
Robin Fox says
What very sad news.
Wikipedia has a terrible article on Schneider–there is no discussion of the science at all, and the emphasis is on his aerosol work in the seventies. Can some of the knowledgeable people here try to improve it?
Steve was not only a great scientist but a grand gentleman – he was a self-proclaimed nerd who, by sheer acceptance of that designation, was one of the most charming i’ve ever met. I will always consider myself fortunate to be among those who he knew by name! When we met, we discovered we had attended the same high school … twelve years apart (!) but it didn’t stop us from reminiscing – as if we had been classmates all along. He was a kind, gentle and compassionate, patient man who taught … without teaching. And he wasn’t even my teacher – he will be sorely missed – and exceptionally remembered..
Ken Rasmussen says
Unbeknownst to him, I’ve been teaching oceanography and climate change with Steve’s indirect help – for years and years. And now he’s gone – what a damn loss. In videos, books, articles and talks (I first heard him speak at the Smithsonian NMNH about 10 years ago), his wonderful ability to capture the essential madness of the large-scale experiment we play with Earth’s climate resonated wonderfully with students. Thank you Steve – you’ve inspired so many of us.
Richard Brenne says
As with so many here, Steve gave me my first education about climate change during conversations in 1988.
Before meeting Steve I always thought a polymath was a parrot who could count. Over two years ago before the presidential primaries Steve said that if there was a major terrorist attack the Republican candidate would win but if there was a major hurricane the Democrat would win. Substitute “financial crisis” for hurricane and he was right, as he was about so many things.
Last night I was giving a talk to a group of astronomers about climate change when I got the news. I’m still trying to catch my breath and I’m still very sad for our losing such a needed man, and of course for Terry and the rest of his family and friends.
May we each step up our unity and work in his honor.
John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) says
Special thanks to Peter Sinclair (Greenman3610) for putting that piece up. I have included the clip in my July Leading Edge report
I did not have time to summarize the NAS releases this month so they are inserted in full. Will trim later and of course ref links are on the page.
A Climate Minute The Natural Cycle – The Greenhouse Effect – History of Climate Science – Arctic Ice Melt
‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition
Michae Ruescher says
possibly Steve’s last public speech
The world has been made a better place due to people like him.
Jonathan Koomey says
I had been emailing with Steve the weekend before he died, so his death came as quite a shock.
I feel a deep loss, both personally and professionally. He was my mentor, my colleague, and my friend,
and I miss him terribly.
Michael Tobis says
My own participation in the climate field was inspired by reading an article of Schneider’s in Scientific American in the late 1980’s, as I was casting about for something meaningful a mathematically oriented person might do for the world.
I was privileged to spend a day and an evening with Steve in the company of Paul Baer the summer before last. It was a memorable day. So, while I can’t claim to have been close to him, I can personally attest to the fact that Steve’s was a vivid, rational and highly ethical mind. He was the quintessence of the modern intellectual, both bon vivant and a dedicated servant of the common good, an excellent model for the post-scarcity life well and consciously lived.
To those who were close to him, this must be a great tragedy indeed. For what it’s worth, they should know that the thoughts and best wishes of many like myself are with them.
Although his health was not terrific, this is still an unexpected and harsh blow to the community. Let us rise to the occasion and redouble our efforts both in understanding the dimensions of the climate problem and related sustainability issues, and in communicating their scope and urgency to the public.
John E. Kutzbach says
Ben Santer has captured so much of our feelings about Steve and his contributions, and how we can continue to honor him through our actions that continue the pathways he pioneered and traveled so tirelessly.
I would like to elaborate on one aspect of Steve’s many pioneering ideas and pathways. Steve was one of just a small number of scientists who became convinced, many years ago, of the fundamental importance of interdisciplinary approaches to climate science. He outlined this conviction clearly in his description of the journal he founded in 1977, over 30 year ago, a journal he has continued to edit, Climate Change. In Steve’s words:
“Climatic Change is dedicated to the totality of the problem of climatic variability and change – its descriptions, causes, implications and interactions among these. The purpose of the journal is to provide a means of exchange between those working on problems related to climatic variations but in different disciplines. Interdisciplinary researchers or those in any discipline, be it meteorology, anthropology, agricultural science, astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, geography, policy analysis, economics, engineering, geology, ecology, or history of climate, are invited to submit articles, provided the articles are of interdisciplinary interest. This means that authors have an opportunity to communicate the essence of their studies to people in other climate related disciplines and to interested laypersons, as well as to report on research in which the originality is in the combinations of (not necessarily original) work from several disciplines.”
One component of interdisciplinary climate studies is the study of past climates and environments. This topic has its own intrinsic interest, and increased understanding of the past may also inform the present and illuminate the future. Steve was a very early participant in this work. He, with NCAR colleagues, published some of the first papers in the 1980s on the topic of Cretaceous climates: the geological and floral and faunal records, simulations with dynamical climate models, and consideration of the possible role of higher CO2 levels in explaining Cretaceous warmth. He also helped pioneer the early NCAR effort to develop climate models with biogeochemical components that could deal with the interdisciplinary complexity of the earth system. Steve enthusiastically encouraged similar efforts elsewhere, including the early efforts to develop global and accurately-dated data sets of the past distribution and abundance of plants, animals, water, ice and landforms as studied by ecologists, botanists, zoologists, geologists, glaciologists, geomorphologists, and many others. These data sets, he knew, would be a crucial ‘ground truth’ for establishing an accurate earth environmental history. And that has happened. By comparing these observations with the simulations of climate models, we have now learned a great deal about the forces that have been initiating factors in past climate changes. And by comparing these data with climate simulations we also have a means to help assess the accuracy of climate models – an important contribution in itself because these models are increasingly used to simulate future climate scenarios. The past helps to inform the future.
Past environmental change and the quickening pace of present environmental changes, including changes in the distribution and abundance of plant and animal species, and changes in animal and bird migration, have been a continuing focus of the work of Steve and Terry, together. And their joint work has continued to inform their combined efforts to tell the story of the oneness of our planet, an environment in which we humans are but one component. We, as it were, must tell the story of the change being lived out by the plants and animals of the earth, as well as our own story.
As Steve would be quick to note, his journal and his own work invites other disciplines into the interdisciplinary circles related to climate science — including policy analysis, economics, and engineering, but others can tell that story better than I.
So to extend Ben Santer’s remarks, we honor Steve Schneider as we continue his passionate support and personal involvement in interdisciplinary research related to climate.
Finally, anyone who has observed Steve in action knew how much he loved and valued his role as mentor and professor. He loved to teach and to interact with students. He valued the time spent one-on-one with young people –undergrads and grads and postdocs alike – and we honor Steve Schneider by encouraging and mentoring those who will carry on with the challenging tasks of interdisciplinary science and interdisciplinary communication that are a part what we must accomplish as we move on.
John Kutzbach 07/21/2010
Scott A Mandia says
The mark of a true pioneer is the number of arrows in his back. Stephen kept taking those arrows and never missed step. When the world finally wakes up to the grim realities of man-made climate change, he will be one of those that people will say, ‘Why didn’t we listen to him when we had the chance?”
The best we can do for Dr. Schneider now is to keep his torch alive by alerting the public to the dangers ahead.
Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
Global Warming: Man or Myth?
My Global Warming Blog
“Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group
Nick Gotts says
Very sad news – my condolences to his family and friends.
Bitter news too for climate science, and for all of us; few have his combination of expertise and ability to communicate.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”—Jesus
I tried to point out on WUWT that *NOBODY* on their board had any condolences at all for Steve Schneider and family. My post was summarily deleted. I have resolved *NEVER* to go to that blog of deceit again.
so i also made some inoocuous comments on climateaudit.org
and was totally deleted.
what can i say but they are totally corrupt.
Anneliese Knur says
Like Dr. Schneider, I am a mantle cell lymphoma patient. His marvelous book “The Patient from Hell” was a great inspiration to me. I never heard of Dr. Schneider before reading this book and instantly came to admire his courage trying to fight this lethal disease and, yes, I came to learn, Global Warming. Both are formidable foes that future generations of scientists will have to conquer.
Donald Oats says
I own and have read his book “Science as a contact sport” and can heartily recommend it.
Stephen Schneider willingly gave of his time to us yokels in Australia, specifically by being the “Thinker in Residence” for a year in South Australia, and more recently through seminars and other outreach activities to inform the public. I seem to remember his name in the 1987 and 1988 Greenhouse conferences in Australia; it was a time of hope that the potentially major effects of AGW could be dodged artfully and that our politicians might be up to the challenge. Alas, nearly quarter of a century on, we are seeing the start of the predicted effects of relentless CO2 emissions under BAU. And yet, Stephen Schneider was only recently back here in Australia, still providing a message of hope that humans might get it together enough to take sensible action.
Judging from the comments already posted here, Stephen Schneider’s efforts have had an indelible effect upon many people, and for the better. What more can one ask for, in a life lived?
I worked with Stephen Schneider at NCAR when I was Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado (Geography, 1987), afterward in the US Congress where I served as an AAAS Fellow for the House Science Committee, at NAS, at the first UN 1988 conference, thereafter in the interdisciplinary science and policy world of global change. He and I shared unlimited energy — his lasted a bit longer (as I was struck with Multiple Sclerosis in 1995). I will miss Steve immensely. He was so supportive, collegial, and complementary of my work as a fellow interdisciplinary scientist. His battle with cancer has also been an inspiration to me. Although I am legally blind with MS and cannot do the extreme fieldwork I used to do — I currently honor Steve and many of our other colleagues who died too soon, by continuing to “fight the good fight.” We will all miss him terribly, but, I hope with every last fiber of our energy we all continue to take up the mantle and push on.
Sherry D. Oaks, Ph.D.
john Stone says
The climate science community has lost a giant of a scientist and human being. I was shocked to learn of his passing. I had the opportunity of working with Steve through the IPCC almost since the beginning. We shared many memorable experiences (and meals) together. I remember in particular the closing hours of the WGI Plenary of the SAR in Madrid with Steve drafting text on an overhead projector warning of the possibility of surprises. I also recall the efforts we went through with the TAR and later the AR4 to craft a WGII text regarding what he referred to as the “double attribution”. I trust the IPCC will organize a suitable way of remembering such a larger then life scientist.
wayne davidson says
Never met Steve, but caught his dedication.. You live on Professor Stephen Schneider! We hope not to let you down….
armin rosencranz says
Steve seemed to have twice as much energy as a normal human being. He would engage with any issue, from climate-catastrophic to a trivial detail of one’s personal life.
Steve and I co-taught Climate Change Policy five times at Stanford, and co-edited two books together — including CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE AND POLICY, which came out earlier this year, and which Steve followed avidly as it climbed up the Amazon charts. What most people wouldn’t know about Steve is how much priority he gave to students and their learning. For example, he fully supported our recruitment of nine former students to author or co-author several of the new book’s 49 chapters. And if a student asked him for a letter of support, Steve would drop everything to do it. What an amazing and irreplaceable man he was!