Dr. Naomi Oreskes Receives 2016 Frederick Anderson Climate Change Award

December 20, 2016

Dr. Naomi Oreskes Receives 2016 Frederick Anderson Climate Change Award

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) today announced that it has awarded the 2016 Frederick Anderson Climate Change Award to Professor Naomi Oreskes. The award commemorates the founding Chair of CIEL’s Board of Trustees and honors those who have made a singular contribution to addressing climate change in a way that reflects both the demands of science and the vital necessity of law.

The award is given in recognition of Dr. Oreskes work, which has been instrumental in highlighting the true weight and history of the scientific consensus behind climate change and the organized efforts by opponents of climate action to cast doubt on that consensus.

“From using scientific analysis to quantify the scientific consensus on climate change to using historical analysis to expose the history and methodology of climate denial, Dr. Oreskes has helped transform public understanding of the evolution of climate science and the forces shaping the public perception of that science,” says CIEL President Carroll Muffett.

“Naomi’s work has played a critical role in the public’s recognition of the reality of climate change,” says Harvard Dean of Social Sciences and the Wilbur A. Cowett Professor of Government and of African and African American Studies Claudine Gay. “She has been instrumental in revealing systematic efforts to obfuscate that reality and deny the risks climate change poses to humanity. It is through her work that the public can confront these challenges and begin to make the changes necessary to ensure a safer and cleaner world for future generations. I congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.”

“Professor Oreskes’s colleagues at Harvard University see her as a remarkable scholar and thinker” says Janet Browne, Aramont Professor of the History of Science and Chair of History of Science Department at Harvard University. “Her commitment to making the results of scientific research more widely known – and her commitment to the reality of climate change – is passionate, knowledgeable, and vigorous. At Harvard she is Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences where her research focuses on the earth and environmental sciences with a particular interest in understanding scientific dissent. This award recognizes her ardent defence of science despite the many challenges and doubts expressed by politicians and others.”

In her seminal work with Erik Conway, Merchants of Doubt, Dr. Oreskes revealed how the oil industry’s climate denial campaigns deployed both strategies and personnel used by the tobacco conspirators in the preceding decades – a complex history of intertwined scandals that continues to unfold through CIEL’s own work. As a growing body of evidence reveals the true extent of climate understanding within the fossil fuel industry, Dr. Oreskes’ commitment to science and historical rigor provides a vital foundation for those working to bring a hidden history to light, even amidst Congressional attacks that seek to intimidate and suppress those efforts.

Dr. Oreskes’ work provides a critical foundation for CIEL’s work on the role and potential liability of private corporations in contributing both to climate change and to misinformation about climate risks.

“Dr. Oreskes’ perseverance in the face of intense professional attacks on her research offers a model of courage, resolve, and a commitment to the power of truth,” says CIEL President Carroll Muffett. “This award recognizes and honors her courage, her commitment, and the inspiration that her work has brought to everyone who would bring the true history of climate science to light.”


Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) uses the power of the law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society. CIEL is a non‐profit organization dedicated to advocacy in the global public interest, including through legal counsel, policy research, analysis, education, training and capacity building.