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newsrel -- Future leaders learn from today's experts

Posted: 11 Aug 2008 16:50:21
Young Californians meet climate scientists. For Immediate

August 11, 2008		
Contacts: Stanley Young (ARB) 916-322-1309
Carrie Annand (British Council) 202-588-7837	



SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – University of California San Diego
(UCSD) professor Dr. V. “Ram” Ramanathan, a world-renowned
climate change scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
met today with 14 California and 10 Canadian teenagers who serve
as environmental ambassadors in their local communities. Dr.
Ramanathan is the leader of a multinational research team that
created the aerial pollution monitoring devices currently being
used at the Beijing Olympics.

"Combating climate change is one of the world's most urgent
challenges and it will be increasingly crucial for the next
generation to learn how to address it," said Dr. Ramanathan. "I
am elated to see these bright and motivated students ready to
lead their peers and communities to find local solutions to this
global crisis. Engaging the youth to take on leadership roles is
an important way to solve the climate change problem before it
is too late.” 

Dr. Ramanathan, professor of climate and atmospheric science at
the UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography, led a tour of the
Scripps facility and Birch Aquarium at Scripps as part of a
three-day climate workshop held at UCSD. The participants are
members of a pioneer program sponsored by the British Council in
13 countries called “International Climate Champions.” In the
United States, the program is co-sponsored with the California
Air Resources Board and engages high school students from across
the state of California as California Climate Champions.

“It is inspiring to see a top California scientist engaging with
young Californians on one of the biggest issues facing our state,
climate change,” said Mary Nichols, Chairman of the California
Air Resources Board.  “It is especially exciting to see Dr.
Ramanathan working with the students while he is earning global
praise for his work at the Beijing Olympics.”

“I am delighted that climate champions from the United States
and Canada had the honor and opportunity to learn from Dr.
Ramanathan today,” Sharon Memis, Director of British Council
North America, said. “The students will be able to apply his
teachings as they become leaders in communicating climate change
to their communities.”

While at the workshop, the climate champions are developing
their own individual initiatives to raise awareness of climate
change that they will implement in their schools and communities
over the coming year. Some of the projects that the high school
students’ proposed today include: developing a social networking
website where environmental groups could share information and
collaborate; writing and directing a play with an environmental
message and “green” production; creating a monthly text
messaging service to remind subscribers to inflate their tires
(which can increase gas mileage); and working with local retail
shops to encourage patrons to use recycled bags and
environmentally friendly business methods.  

Dr. Ramanathan has dedicated his career to studying climate
change. He has made several groundbreaking discoveries in his
field, including identifying the greenhouse effect of
chlorofluorocarbons. He has conducted research on the impact of
clouds on global temperature, and continues to study how air
pollution such as “brown clouds” and black carbon affect the
climate and public health.  

In addition to meeting Dr. Ramanathan, workshop participants
also had an opportunity to tour the lab of Dr. Neal Driscoll, a
Scripps geophysicist whose research explores natural climate
variability and the potential impacts of future climate change.
This evening, they are attending a presentation at Birch
Aquarium at Scripps by Dr. Richard Seymour on the “wave climate”
of the North Pacific Ocean. Tomorrow, Dr. Susanne Moser,
co-editor of Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating
Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change, will lead the
students in a discussion on ways to effectively communicate
about climate change in reaching a range of audiences.  

# # #

ABOUT CLIMATE CHAMPIONS Last March, the British Council and
California Air Resources Board worked together to identify 15
California high school students who are concerned about global
warming and committed to sharing ideas with others in their
schools, neighborhoods and communities about how to address
climate change.  The California Climate Champions program is
part of the British Council’s International Climate Champions
program, which operates in 13 countries around the world. In May
2008, three of the 15 California students were selected to
represent the United States at a youth summit in Kobe, Japan,
during the G8 meeting of environmental leaders.   
To learn more about the California and International Climate
Champions programs, please visit:

ABOUT ARB Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB32 in September 2006,
requiring the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, roughly a 25
percent decrease.  ARB’s work has accounted for about a fifth of
the necessary emissions reductions thus far, and will account for
the rest later this year with the release of its “scoping plan.”
For more information, please visit www.arb.ca.gov. 

ABOUT THE BRITISH COUNCIL: The UK’s international organization
for educational and cultural relations, the British Council
builds long-term relationships between the US and the UK and
fosters appreciation of the UK’s creative ideas and
achievements. We increase recognition of the wide array of
learning opportunities available in England, Scotland, Wales and
Northern Ireland, and facilitate educational cooperation between
the US and UK. Through transatlantic artistic partnerships, we
introduce the American public to high-quality, groundbreaking
creative achievements from the UK, and our science programs
build networks that draw upon the UK's innovation in climate
change and other disciplines. We also develop initiatives that
give a voice to the next generation of leaders on both sides of
the Atlantic, encouraging them to work together to explore
solutions to current and future global issues. For more
information, please visit www.britishcouncil.org/usa. 

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