By James Dacey
I was surprised this morning to read about the death of Stephen Schneider, the outspoken climate scientist from Stanford University.
I saw Stephen in February giving an impassioned defence of the science of anthropogenic climate change at the AAAS conference in San Diego. He stood out from the other presenters on the panel because of his memorable delivery style – combining a deep, holistic knowledge of climate science with a razor-sharp acerbic wit.
Schneider was a key player in the climate science community. He was the founder and editor of the journal Climate Change, and he authored and co-authored more than 450 scientific papers during his career. Schneider was also enlisted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), holding roles in the working groups for both the third and fourth (latest) scientific reports.
Physicworld.com recently reported new research co-authored by Schneider, which assessed the credentials of climate scientists. It came to the conclusion that sceptics of the basic tenets of anthropogenic climate change are less credible scientists than those who accept them.
Climate change scepticism was an issue Schneider touched on during his talk in February. He voiced his frustration with media representations of climate science debates, which he felt gave a disproportionate voice to the sceptics in the name of journalistic balance. He pleaded that journalists should be more responsible, and that more climate scientists should engage with the media given the political significance of their work.
Schneider died yesterday of an apparent heart attack.