The world has lost a brilliant scientist, a dynamic communicator, and a caring soul. Dr. Stephen Schneider, a Stanford Professor and a global leader in climate change science died Monday morning of a heart attack.
Steve was an important mentor and friend to me, as I know he was to many scientists and activists around the world. For many years I turned to Steve for advice on climate science and insights into the political process. I remember one line he often repeated to me:
“Amy, when it comes to climate science, always stick to the facts, the truth is bad enough.”
Steve was brilliant at communicating the facts in plain language – always driving home the message of risk. Managing climate change was like his struggle with leukemia, it required making decisions with incomplete information to improve the odds that you live a better and longer life.
Last year Steve collaborated with us on developing a Google Earth tour that provides a glimpse of his communication power. I remember as we were putting the final touches on this Google Earth Tour, I asked Steve if he would be at the World Climate Conference in Geneva, hoping we could meet up in person. His response in a late night email was:
“Nope, I won’t be there. I was at first two, as described in detail in Science as a Contact Sport—we got the ball rolling. SO your generation now takes up the baton--have fun.”
We have the baton Steve and will not let it go. And in your honor, I promise to have fun.