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Scripps to honor Albert II with Revelle Prize this week

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography will present its second Roger Revelle Prize this week to Prince Albert II of Monaco for the sovereign’s work to raise awareness about global warming.

Prince Albert II will be in San Diego Friday to accept the award. He is scheduled to give a lecture at the University of California, San Diego, and then attend a dinner in his honor at the Scripps Institution.

The Revelle Prize was created earlier this year to honor people working to stop global warming and raise awareness about the issue. It is named after Roger Revelle, a scientist at the institution who is credited with discovering the problem of climate change.

In March, the institution presented the award to former Vice President Al Gore, who learned about global warming from Revelle when Revelle was a professor at Harvard in the 1960s. Gore later went on to win a Nobel Prize for his efforts to stop climate change.

Dr. Tony Haymet, director of the institution, said Prince Albert II is being given the award largely for his work organizing the Monaco Declaration, a statement signed earlier this year by 150 top marine scientists who said the world’s fisheries are in serious trouble if the amount of CO2 in the oceans continues to rise.

“This was the first time a lot of the world appreciated the severity of the situation,” Haymet said.

The prince also has created the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which is dedicated to solving environmental issues.

Haymet said the institution is working with the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium in Monaco to create collaborative exhibits with the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla.

The aquarium in Monaco was founded by Prince Albert II’s great-great-grandfather Albert I. It features an exhibit of photos that Albert I took of glaciers in Spitsbergen, an island off the coast of Norway. The photos compare with similar ones Albert II took on a return visit in 2005, which show the glaciers have melted significantly.

Haymet said that 2005 trip was part of what sparked Albert II’s interested in climate change issues.

“We’re both trying to bring these issues to the public,” Haymet said.

The Revelle Prize is not designed to be a regular event, Haymet said. The institution gave the award to Gore in March to coincide with what would have been Revelle’s 100th birthday, and is giving it to Prince Albert II now in honor of the Monaco Declaration.

“There’s no plans for the next one; this is not an annual award,” Haymet explained. “It's whenever someone’s worthy.”

He then added, perhaps jokingly, perhaps not: “Whenever one of Roger's former students wins the Nobel Prize, that’ll probably be a trigger.”

Revelle’s family owns The Daily Transcript.

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