Taipei, June 18 (CNA) James Hansen and Veerabhadran Ramanathan,winners of the 2018 Tang Prize in sustainable development for their rigorous scientific inquiry and candid public discussion of climate science that has led to action for the benefit of humanity, told CNA they are happy to be recognized.
Hansen, who is writing a new book called "Sophie's Planet," which comprises a series of moving and insightful letters he wrote to his granddaughter, Sophie, about climate change and the fight to preserve life on the planet, said the prize came just in time.
"I could not finish the book without the help of this prize,"he said. "So if the book is successful and has any influence on the future of young people, this award will have been what made it possible," he said.
Now 77 years old, Hansen said he remains frustrated trying to get people to understand how urgent it is that something is done about the climate issue, in particular young people.
He said he hopes the book is more successful at communicating with the younger generation, and thanked the Tang Prize for helping him achieve that goal.
Hansen was awarded the prize "for sounding the alarm on climate change, elucidating the physics of climate forcings and feedbacks, quantifying the dangers of global warming, and tirelessly advocating for meaningful action and solutions," the Tang Prize citation said.
Ramanathan, an Indian-born scholar currently teaching at the University of California San Diego, said winning the prize means a great deal to him.
"That's the first recognition I am getting from Asia," he said. "That's the continent I was born in, so it was an enormous honor for somebody who was born in India, now in America, to get this honor from Taiwan," he said.
Ramanathan won the prize "for making seminal contributions to our fundamental understanding of climate change and impacts of air pollution, and taking direct action to advocate and facilitate effective mitigation policies," the citation said.
The laureates will each receive a cash prize of NT$20 million (US$665,900), a research grant of NT$10 million, a medal and a certificate.