‘One of Australia’s most influential and respected climate scientists’ Will Steffen dies aged 75

‘One of Australia’s most influential and respected climate scientists’ Will Steffen dies aged 75

Prominent climate science professor Will Steffen has been remembered by colleagues and friends as a generous and courageous pioneer for climate action following his death aged 75.

Key points: Will Steffen was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer He was an emeritus professor at the Australian National University He made significant contributions to science policy

Tributes have flooded social media for Professor Steffen, who died in Canberra on Sunday. He received treatment for pancreatic cancer.

The Australian National University (ANU) remembered its emeritus professor as “one of Australia’s most influential and respected climate scientists”.

Professor Steffen served as executive director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, and was a contributor to five Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

In a statement, ANU said the internationally acclaimed expert will leave a lasting legacy as the former director of the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society, and the first director of the ANU Climate Institute.

Fenner School senior lecturer Dr Joelle Gergis described Professor Steffen as a visionary, a brilliant scientist and a gifted communicator “who was so generous with his time”.

“He was so supportive of people like me coming through the ranks,” Dr Gergis said.

“He leaves an extraordinary legacy as one of the greats of our time.

“This is such a loss for our community.”

In a tweet, sustainability advisor and businesswoman Sam Mostyn described Professor Steffen as “the most generous, courageous, humble and selfless pioneer for climate action”.

Professor Steffen has also made significant contributions to science policy and served as an advisor to the Australian Government’s Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Climate Commission and Climate Council.

His research has spanned a wide range within earth system science, with an emphasis on sustainability and climate change.

Professor Steffen was tireless in educating the public, engaging in policy and supporting fellow researchers.

Director of the Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions (ICEDS) Professor Mark Howden honored his passion for climate science.

“Will has been instrumental in alerting the Australian public to the challenges of climate change and the need for strong and rapid emissions reductions, particularly through his work with the Climate Council,” he said.

Head of Energy at ICEDS Frank Jotzo described Professor Steffen as “a great thinker on climate change”.

“I owe him a lot,” said Professor Jotzo.

“I will remember him as a gentle, positive person who made a difference in how the world understands climate change.”

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