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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 Release August 11, 2008 Contacts: Stanley Young (ARB) 916-322-1309 Carrie Annand (British Council) 202-588-7837 CALIFORNIA TEENS LEARN FROM OLYMPICS POLLUTION EXPERT DR. “RAM” RAMANATHAN AS THEY DEVELOP ENVIRO INITIATIVES AWARD-WINNING UCSD SCRIPPS SCIENTIST PRAISES STUDENTS’ ENVIRONMENTAL EFFORTS 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: http://www.britishcouncil.org/usa-science-projects-climate-champions.htm. 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.