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Carlos Nobre to Receive Science Diplomacy Award for Amazon Climate Efforts

Carlos Nobre chairs the Science Panel for the Amazon, a group of scientists and experts that is carrying out the first full scientific assessment of the region. | Neil Orman/AAAS

Carlos Nobre, a Brazilian climate scientist specializing in the effects of climate change in the Amazon and a leader in science policy for a sustainable Amazon, will receive the 2021 AAAS Award for Science Diplomacy.

The award, established in 2013 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, recognizes an individual or small group working together in the science, engineering or foreign affairs communities to make an outstanding contribution to the field of science diplomacy.

Nobre is honored for “his career-spanning work to understand and protect the biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon,” according to the award committee.

Most recently, Nobre is serving as the chair of the Science Panel for the Amazon, an effort convened by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) as the first-ever comprehensive scientific assessment of the Amazon Basin. Nobre is leading more than 160 scientists from Amazonian countries and beyond – including indigenous experts – to develop a scientific assessment of the region and present data-informed solutions to guide the protection, conservation and sustainable development of the rainforest. The panel’s report is expected to be released in early 2021.

Nobre’s “life-long scientific career in understanding the biological complexity of the Amazon coupled with decades of involvement in science policy” equips him to lead such an effort, said Emma Torres in her letter nominating Nobre for the award. Torres, who nominated Nobre for the award, is the UN SDSN secretariat vice president of the Americas and head of the New York office.

Nobre, who currently serves as senior scientist at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of São Paulo, is best-known for his work on the “savannization” of the Amazon due to climate change and deforestation. He also leads the Amazonia 4.0 initiative, which seeks to develop a sustainable “bio-economy” for the region.

“Dr. Nobre has contributed to the scientific understanding of the Amazon rainforest as a globally important ecosystem and as part of the irreplaceable ecological and cultural heritage for all of humanity,” said Torres.

He has applied this work in the science policy realm in a number of roles. He served as a member of the International Panel on Climate Change, which was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. In 2013, he was named a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board for Global Sustainability.

Nobre has also brought his leadership to building scientific capacity in Brazil and forging international scientific cooperation, having served as the national secretary for research and development policies at the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation; president of Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education; and first program scientist for the Large-Scale Biosphere Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia.

“Carlos’s leadership inspires action and encourages multilateralism, providing a framework to allow us to move towards a more sustainable and equitable future, together,” said Torres.

Nobre will be honored at an awards ceremony at the virtual AAAS Annual Meeting on Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. EST. He will also moderate a session at the meeting, “Amazon Development Pathways: Fostering Conservation and Prosperity,” to be held Feb. 8 at 1 p.m. To attend the Annual Meeting, register today.

If you know someone that should be recognized for the Award for Science Diplomacy, please consider nominating them in our next upcoming cycle – which opens April 15, 2021. More information on eligibility requirements and the awards ahead of April 15 can be found here.