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Bert Bolin, first IPCC Chair, Dies at 82

Climate Scientist Bert Bolin Dies at 82


The Associated Press, Jan. 2, 2008


Bert Bolin, a pioneering Swedish climate scientist and co-founder of the U.N.'s Nobel award-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has died, his colleague Henning Rodhe said Wednesday. He was 82.

As early as the 1950s, Bolin produced research about the circulation of carbon in nature that remains relevant to the continuing debate on climate change. Most importantly, he played a key role in communicating the dangers of climate change to decision-makers and served as the first chairman of the IPCC from 1988 to 1998.

He died in a Stockholm hospital from stomach cancer, but was active until three days before he died, said Rodhe, a professor in chemical meteorology at Stockholm University.

"He was an eminent organizer and leader and played an important role internationally in establishing links between scientists and decision-makers," Rodhe said.

"He was very happy that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the IPCC and Al Gore. He was especially pleased about the fact that the prize was split in two, to award both the pure scientific work and the work to communicate these issues to the general public," he added.

During his visit to Sweden in December Al Gore praised Bolin, saying: "Bert, you set up the framework for the IPCC and without your contributions we would not have come to where we are today (..) Thank you for starting the process."

When he found out he got the Nobel prize, Gore first called IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, and after that Bolin, he said.

According to Stockholm University, Bolin was initially supposed to travel to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, but was unable to do so due to poor health.

He completed his Ph.D. at Stockholm University in 1956, and was Professor of Meteorology there between 1961 and 1990. He has also been the scientific director of the European Space Agency, or ESA.

He received many awards for his research about the climate, including the Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal in 1984, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in 1988 and the Blue Planet Prize in 1995.

His last book 'A History of the Science and Politics of Climate Change: The Role of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change' was published in November 2007.


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