Image source does not exist News Release: 2014-04-22 Three receive California’s premier air quality award

Release #:14-32

ARB PIO: (916) 322-2990

Melanie Turner
(916) 322-2990

Three receive California’s premier air quality award

2013 Haagen-Smit awards recognize air quality achievements in environmental policy, research and science

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board is set on Thursday to honor the winners of the 2013 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards, California’s premier award recognizing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to improving air quality.

“These three individuals have made a lasting contribution to people’s health and well-being, both in California and abroad,” said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “They have demonstrated a sustained commitment to protecting public health throughout their long and distinguished careers and I am honored to personally present each of them with California’s premier award for outstanding achievements in air quality.”

The Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards — the “Nobel Prize”  in air quality achievement — are given annually to individuals who have made significant lifetime contributions toward improving air quality and climate change science, technology and policy, furthering the protection of public health. This year’s award ceremony is set for 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, in Sacramento.

The 2013 recipients are:

Dr. Barbara Finlayson-Pitts is a distinguished professor of chemistry at UC Irvine. She is being recognized for her outstanding research and teaching in the field of atmospheric chemistry. She is one of the most important contemporary atmospheric chemists and a leading world expert in atmospheric photochemistry. Her research has been inspired and driven by air pollution issues. She is best known to the scientific community for co-authoring two widely acclaimed and influential books on atmospheric chemistry.
Dr. James Lents is being recognized for his leadership in environmental policy since the 1970s, from his contributions to the Clean Air Act for California and amendments to the Federal Clean Air Act in 1990 to his role as executive director for South Coast Air Quality Management District during the 1980s and 90s, where he led the agency to produce the first regional plan approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that demonstrated the steps needed to attain air quality standards. His work in Chattanooga, Tenn., where his career began, inspired a U.S. EPA film and a Newsweek article highlighting what one city did to clean up its particulate pollution. Dr. Lents is president of the International Sustainable Systems Research Center, a small but highly effective policy shop he founded in 2003.
Mr. Teruyuki Ohno of Tokyo, Japan, has been an innovative policy leader for the past 35 years. Programs successfully launched include: ‘Operation No Diesel,’ Japan’s first diesel retrofit program, and the Tokyo Cap-and-Trade Program, Japan’s first carbon trading program. Mr. Ohno is executive director of the nonprofit Japan Renewable Energy Foundation, and serves as a lecturer at Tokyo University on sustainability topics.

Event Details
Date:   Thursday, April 24, 2014
Time:   3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Place:   California Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters, Byron Sher Auditorium, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, California 95814

The awards recognize career accomplishments in at least one of these air quality categories: research, environmental policy, science and technology, public education and community service. In light of the global connection between air quality and climate change, the scope of the Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards program is now international, with a focus on climate change science and mitigation.

The Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award was named after Dr. Arie Haagen-Smit, ARB’s first chairman, known to many as the “father” of air pollution control. His research concluded that most of California's smog resulted from photochemistry — the reaction of sunlight with industrial and motor vehicle exhaust to create ozone. This breakthrough became the foundation upon which today’s air pollution standards are based. In recognition of this contribution, Dr. Haagen-Smit received the nation’s highest scientific honor, the National Medal of Science, in 1973. The Haagen-Smit award winners continue his legacy of advancing air pollution science and forging the way for effective control programs.

To learn more about the award, click here.

For a list of all past award winners, click here.

ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.