Image source does not exist News Release: 2017-06-21 Five receive California’s premier air quality award

Release #:17-46

ARB PIO: (916) 322-2990

Melanie Turner
(916) 322-2990

Five receive California’s premier air quality award

2016 Haagen-Smit awards recognize outstanding air quality achievements in research, science and technology advancements

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board today honored recipients of the 2016 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards, California’s premier award recognizing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to improving air quality. The contributions of this year’s award winners will have lasting impacts not only for air quality and climate goals in California, but on an international scale.

“The Haagen-Smit Award is our way of honoring individuals who have championed public health with extraordinary contributions to air pollution research, science and clean air technology,” CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols said.  “From shaping our understanding of air pollutants and informing policy on climate health, to advocating for the right to clean air in severely polluted cities, their long and distinguished careers have  changed how we address climate change and fight air pollution around the world.”
Considered the “Nobel Prize” in air quality achievement, the Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards 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.

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 an added focus on climate change science and mitigation.

The 2016 Award Recipients:

Chet France, former Director, Assessment and Standards Division, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Mr. Chester “Chet” France is being recognized for his leadership in developing and implementing advanced technology programs that have significantly reduced mobile source emissions and resulted in significant public health and climate benefits. He not only spearheaded federal motor vehicle and fuel emission control programs, he was responsible for developing and maintaining national computer models that estimate the emissions of transportation sources. Because of the programs that Mr. France has managed at the national level, today’s cars and trucks are 99 percent cleaner than a decade ago.

Dan Greenbaum
, President and CEO, Health Effects Institute (HEI)

Mr. Dan Greenbaum is being recognized for his sustained leadership on air pollution health science, communication and policies at the state, national and international levels. During Mr. Greenbaum’s tenure as president, HEI has provided key science to inform decisions on national ambient air quality standards, air toxics, fuels and technologies and has undertaken several key challenges at the science-policy interface. Mr. Greenbaum’s leadership and vision have extended HEI’s influence beyond U.S. borders, and HEI now provides trusted science for decisions on four continents.

Joyce Penner, Professor, Atmospheric Science, University of Michigan

Dr. Joyce Penner is being recognized for her pioneering air pollution research that has transformed our understanding of the diverse range of atmospheric aerosols associated with human activities, their interactions with clouds, and their role in climate change. Over her career, Joyce Penner’s innovative and sustained scientific contributions have demonstrated the full extent of aerosols’ impact on the global atmosphere, their relationship to human activities, and their complex interactions with the climate system. Dr. Penner’s scientific contributions and her work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments are fundamental to the scientific community’s confidence that the observed climate change is attributable to human activities.

V. “Ram” Ramanathan, Distinguished Professor, Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Dr. Veerabhadran “Ram” Ramanathan is being recognized for his sustained and innovative contributions to understanding complex linkages between manmade emissions and climate change, especially the need for simultaneous and deep reductions of short- and long-lived climate pollutants in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of global warming. Dr. Ramanathan’s historic research on climate and atmospheric science has been widely recognized around the world. Because of his research, atmospheric physics was linked to atmospheric chemistry, leading to a paradigm shift in the way climate scientists approached the problem of global warming.

Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director, Centre for Science and Environment, India

Anumita Roychowdhury is being recognized for her notable work on a suite of emission control strategies to mitigate severe air pollution. Ms. Roychowdhury has a long list of success stories for clean air and public health in India. Her most recent policy victory was the national adoption of sweeping new emission standards for cars, trucks, buses, two-wheelers and three-wheelers. Anumita remains a central force in air pollution control in India and throughout the developing world.

About the Haagen-Smit Award

California’s premier air quality award is named for the late Dr. Arie Haagen-Smit — known as the "father" of air pollution science and control. The award recognizes those who continue his legacy through perseverance, leadership and innovation in the areas of research, environmental policy, science and technology, public education and community service. Dr. Haagen-Smit’s breakthrough research, which became the foundation upon which today's air pollution standards are based, concluded that most of California's smog is the result of photochemistry — the reaction of sunlight with industrial and motor vehicle exhaust to create ozone. The selection committee is comprised of past award winners.

Learn more about the Haagen-Smit award at:

A list of all past award Haagen-Smit winners is available at:

Photos of the awards ceremony will be available at:

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.