California Gov. Jerry Brown honored pioneering climate scientist Stephen Schneider posthumously by inducting him into the California Hall of Fame on Oct. 1. Schneider, one of eight inductees this year, died in 2010. He was the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute.  

Praising Schneider for being one of the earliest people to warn about climate change, Brown placed him "in the grand tradition of California scientists who have used their talents and training to tame society's greatest challenges."

"Just from the general controversies around climate change, you can appreciate what it took for him to pursue his science," Brown said during the ceremony, which was recorded and can be viewed on YouTube (comments re: Schneider begin at 6:12).

As pictures from Schneider’s life appeared in the background, Brown noted Schneider's many accomplishments, including advising the administration of every president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama.

"I don't know if they all listened to him," Brown joked.

Brown also shared his memory of testifying with Schneider before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about a law to introduce stricter tailpipe emission standards in California.  

"I was attorney general and he was the expert," Brown recalled. "And it was just something to behold, of not only does he have the scientific knowledge and the expertise, but he made complicated stuff appear to be very understandable, very powerful."

Schneider's widow, Woods Senior Fellow Terry Root (Biology, by courtesy), accepted the Spirit of California medal on Schneider’s behalf. In an emotional speech, she thanked Brown "for honoring my late husband, and for the tireless work that you have done to actually combat climate change.

"Like you, Steve fought hard for what he understood to be true," Root said, "and worked equally as hard to help the public understand the facts of climate change."

The Sacramento Bee has assembled a photo slideshow from the event.
 

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