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CGEP Senior Research Director Dr. Melissa Lott Named 2023 AGU Pavel S. Molchanov Climate Communications Prize Recipient

New York, NY— Dr. Melissa Lott, Senior Director of Research and Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA, was selected to receive the AGU Pavel S. Molchanov Climate Communications Prize. The prize is given annually to a scientist in recognition for the communication of climate science to promote scientific literacy, clarity of message, and efforts to foster respect and understanding of science-based values, particularly around climate change. AGU, the world’s largest Earth and space science association, annually recognizes a select number of individuals for its highest honors. 

“I am deeply honored to receive this prize and it’s a privilege to join the ranks of fellow climate communicators whom I have long admired and respected,” said Dr. Lott. “As a recipient of this prestigious prize, I am reminded of the profound obligation we, as scientists and educators, have in making science accessible, amplifying diverse perspectives, and raising awareness about the issues shaping our planet’s future. I want to extend my sincere appreciation to the team at the SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy and my colleagues across the broader Columbia and scientific communities for their support.”

Dr. Lott has worked as an engineer and advisor for nearly 20 years in the United States, Europe, and Asia. While her work has spanned the entire energy system, Dr. Lott is internationally recognized for her work in the electricity and transportation sectors. In 2022, she was selected to serve on the United Nations Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition (CEET), which serves as an independent advisory council to the UN Secretary-General. Dr. Lott is also a current member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Economics of Equitable Transition. She serves as a member of the Energy Systems Integration Technical Review Panel at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

She is also host of The Big Switch, a podcast that explains how we can rebuild the energy systems all around us. The podcast brings together historical examples, current events, and incisive analysis to give listeners a deep understanding of the solutions to climate change. The most recent season explored Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the impacts of an ongoing energy crisis on the clean energy transition.

The prize is made available through the generosity of Pavel S. Molchanov. Established in 2011, the prize highlights the importance of increasing awareness and understanding of climate science and honors an established track record of climate communications or a specific communications campaign around climate science. 

Dr. Lott joins other scientists, leaders, educators, journalists, and communicators from around the world who have made outstanding achievements and contributions by pushing forward the frontiers of science. Each recipient embodies the AGU’s community’s shared vision of a thriving, sustainable, and equitable future powered by discovery, innovation, and action.  These recipients have worked with integrity, respect, and collaboration while creating deep engagement in education, diversity, and outreach.

AGU will formally recognize this year’s recipients at AGU23, which will convene more than 25,000 attendees from over 100 countries in San Francisco and online everywhere on 11-15 December 2023. This celebration is a chance for AGU’s community to recognize the outstanding work of their colleagues and be inspired by their accomplishments and stories.

About the Center on Global Energy Policy

The Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA advances smart, actionable and evidence-based energy and climate solutions through research, education and dialogue. Based at one of the world’s top research universities, what sets CGEP apart is our ability to communicate academic research, scholarship and insights in formats and on timescales that are useful to decision makers. We bridge the gap between academic research and policy — complementing and strengthening the world-class research already underway at Columbia University, while providing support, expertise, and policy recommendations to foster stronger, evidence-based policy.

Press contact: Natalie Volk, [email protected] (UTC-4 hours)

About the American Geophysical Union

AGU is a global community supporting more than half a million advocates and professionals in the Earth and space sciences. Through broad and inclusive partnerships, AGU aims to advance discovery and solution science that accelerate knowledge and create solutions that are ethical, unbiased and respectful of communities and their values. Our programs include serving as a scholarly publisher, convening virtual and in-person events and providing career support. We live our values in everything we do, such as our net zero energy renovated building in Washington, D.C. and our Ethics and Equity Center, which fosters a diverse and inclusive geoscience community to ensure responsible conduct.

AGU press contact: Samson Reiny, [email protected] (UTC-4 hours)