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Apr. 20, 2010
FAIRFAX, Va.—George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) has named environmental scientist Jason Samenow and BBC World Service Trust as the 2010 Climate Change Communicators of the Year.
The award honors an individual and an organization that made great strides in helping society understand and respond to climate change. Mason’s center was founded in 2007 to identify ways to effectively engage policymakers and the public in becoming part of the solution to climate change.
Jason Samenow is a climate science analyst working in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Climate Change Division in Washington, DC. A meteorologist by training, with degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Samenow has worked tirelessly in 2009—and for almost a decade—to use communications as an effective tool to combat climate change.
At EPA, he has authored, coordinated, contributed to and reviewed many technical and public reports and documents for a wide variety of audiences. He led the launch and management of the EPA's Climate Change Web site at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange, building a highly popular and reputable site that was rated number one in Google searches for the term “climate change.” Samenow has also been a leader in the federal Communications Interagency Working Group of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
“His skills at interpreting complex information into easily-understandable reading are profound,” said Kevin Rosseel of the Climate Change Division of the EPA in a nomination letter. “His tireless efforts on behalf of promoting coherent and consistent climate messaging from federal agencies have been remarkable contributions to making science intelligible to U.S. and international citizens at all levels, general and technical.”
The BBC World Service Trust is the BBC’s international development charity. Its mission is to use the media to reduce poverty and promote human rights. Africa Talks Climate, an initiative supported by the British Council, is a groundbreaking African-led research and communication initiative. More than 1,000 citizens and 200 opinion leaders took part in the what is the most extensive study ever undertaken on the public understanding of climate change across 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Africa Talks Climate is founded on the belief that those worst affected must be better informed in order to understand and effectively respond to their changing climate. It seeks to understand how communication and media strategies can be tailored to support Africa’s response to climate change and to collate and amplify the voices of people at all levels of society,” said Dr. Susanne Moser of Susanne Moser Research and Consulting in her nomination letter. “The work is much needed, inspiring, empowering, ambitious and impactful.”
Other finalists for the award included Rhett Butler (Mongabay.com), Dr. Howard Frumkin (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Tom Yulsman (University of Colorado) and the organization Cool the Earth. The winner was chosen in December by an open public vote through 4C’s web site (http://climatechange.gmu.edu).
“We are so pleased to honor Jason Samenow and the BBC World Service Trust for their excellent contributions to climate change communication,” said Professor Ed Maibach, director of Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication. “Our nation, and nations around the world, must make critically important decisions about how to manage the risks associated with climate change. Information about climate risks and potential solutions shared in a clear and engaging manner – as Mr. Samenow and the BBC World Service Trust have been doing – is a great service to the public and policymakers.”