In Memoriam – Stephen Schneider (1945-2010)

Sadly we note the news that Dr. Stephen Schneider has passed.  He will be sorely missed as a climate change and policy scientist, a mentor and educator, and a friend, especially to GCEP.

Dr. Schneider was a champion and impassioned supporter of climate change education as evidenced by his role as a GREF Mentor to two of the GCEP GREF students – Dr. Paul Higgins and Dr. Michael Mastrandrea who obtained their Ph.D. degrees at Stanford University under his direction. Steve was also a long time colleague and friend of Dr. Jeff Gaffney for over thirty years.

Dr. Gaffney first met Dr. Schneider early in their careers at the Chapman Conference on Carbon Dioxide held in Tarpon Springs, FL in January of 1984. It turned out to be a very cold meeting in Florida as the highs for the days that the meeting hovered around 17 Fahrenheit. Dr. Gaffney was then at Brookhaven National Laboratory located on Long Island, N.Y. and Dr. Schneider was at the National Center for Atmospheric Research – they both were looking forward to warm weather in January in Florida and went swimming together along with another well known biogeochemist, Dr. Egan Degens in the conference hotel pool – even though it was quite cold. Later in their careers, Jeff Gaffney had the honor of introducing Steve Schneider when Steve was invited to give the Laboratory Director’s Colloquium on Climate Change at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The lecture was given in early April 1986 and it turned out to snow on that date. They both used to laugh about that coincidence and noted that every time they got together to talk about global warming - it seemed to get cold.

Dr. Schneider was a strong supporter of the DOE Global Change Program and its efforts and was a highly valued GREF mentor to Drs. Higgins and Mastrandrea. He was able to come to one of the DOE GCEP Orientations in 2003 and gave a very stimulating talk to the students about Climate Change and Policy entitled “How Do We Handle Uncertainties in Global Change Analysis: Policy Implications.” At that meeting, Dr. Schneider presented Dr. Gaffney a copy of his recently published book on Climate Change Policy: A Survey, co-edited by Armin Rosencranz and John Niles. In it he wrote, “To Jeff, with thanks for all you do to make a difference! And getting the kids launched is priority one!! Thanks and warm regards, Steve.”

That support from Dr. Schneider, a National Academy of Sciences Member (2002) and internationally known climate expert, was invaluable in helping to inspire GCEP mentors and students to follow careers in climate change studies.


Dr. Schneider answering questions from GCEP students during his lecture in June of 2003 in Portland, OR at the GCEP Orientation.


Dr. Stephen Schneider in the summer of 2003, Portland, OR Global Change Education Program Orientation talking to soon to be Dr. Christopher Busch about Climate Change and Policy.


Most recently, at the last AGU meeting in San Francisco in December, Dr. Schneider visited the Global Change Education Booth to visit with Dr. Gaffney and also met with his first GCEP GREF student, Dr. Paul Higgins, currently Senior Policy Analyst for the American Meteorological Society.

Paul Higgins and Stephen Schneider at Fall AGU Meeting 2009 in San Francisco.


As always, Dr. Schneider was supportive of GCEP and was interested in placing another student in the program.

Steve Schneider was an outstanding scientist and climate change researcher who will be sorely missed.  His sense of humor and his recognition of the importance of informed scientists connecting and explaining key climate and energy issues to the public will not be forgotten.  All who had the pleasure of knowing him can keep that part of him alive in our future efforts by taking that best quality of Dr. Schneider – his humanity - and making the best use of our talents in our future work in climate change.





The Global Change Education Program is funded by the
U.S. Department of Energy

Office of Biological and Environmental Research