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Historian and Scientist Naomi Oreskes and the Alliance for Climate Education Named 2011 Climate Change Communicators of the Year

May 9, 2011

May. 9, 2011

Media Contact: Tara Laskowski, 703-993-8815

 FAIRFAX, Va.—George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) has named science historian and author Naomi Oreskes and the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) as the 2011 Climate Change Communicators of the Year. The awards will be presented on June 8 as part of a session in the Managing the Planet Series  (jointly hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center Environment Change and Security Program and George Mason University) in the 6th Floor Flom Auditorium, The Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC.

The award, which was first given in 2009, honors an individual and an organization that made great strides in helping society understand and respond to climate change. Mason’s 4C was founded in 2007 to conduct research on public engagement in climate change.

Naomi Oreskes is an author and a professor of history and science studies at the University of California, San Diego. In 2004, she began to investigate the question of what scientists had to say about global warming, and quickly realized that scientific experts had a consensus on the reality of global warming and its human causes. Her essay “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” (Science 306: 1686) has been widely cited in the mass media in the United States and Europe, including in the Royal Society’s publication, “A guide to facts and fictions about climate change,” in the Academy-award winning film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and in Ian McEwan’s novel, “Solar.” Her latest work, “Merchants of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming,” published in 2010 by Bloomsbury Press, is a finalist for the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

“Climate scientists have come to view Dr. Oreskes as their champion.  Her fearless work – often performed in the face of threats of legal action – has helped to expose the non-scientific pressures climate scientists have encountered during the course of their research,” wrote colleagues John Abraham and Benjamin Santer in a nomination letter. “Her courage and persistence in communicating climate science to the wider public have made her a living legend amongst her colleagues.”

The Alliance for Climate Education is a national leader in high school climate science education. It is a nonprofit dedicated to educating America’s high school students about the science behind climate change and inspiring them to take action to curb the causes of global warming. ACE educators present climate science that sticks with students via an award-winning in-school assembly that blends storytelling, cutting edge animation, music and video.

“In just two years of existence, ACE has risen quickly to become the nation’s leading climate organization focused on high schoolers,” says Kelly Blynn of in a nomination letter. “They have managed to take a complex subject and make it compelling to hard-to-reach teens, presenting to more than 825,000 high school students nationwide in less than two years.”

Other finalists for the award can be found on the 4C web site.  The winner was chosen in April by an open public vote through the center’s web site.

“We were so pleased that eight truly extraordinary individuals and six truly extraordinary organizations were nominated for the award this year,” said 4C director Ed Maibach, “and that thousands of concerned citizens cared enough to cast a vote. They are all are doing vitally important work, and it’s a great honor for us to be able to acknowledge their contributions.”

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University—Where Innovation Is Tradition.