Scripps Oceanography Supporters Give $5 Million to Create Climate Center


“We owe it to future generations to better understand the impacts of climate change, as well as to develop and implement strategies for adaptation. Indeed, we believe this new Center will have a powerful impact locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.” – Richard and Carol Dean Hertzberg

Today, the University of California, San Diego announced a charitable gift that acknowledges our current climate reality, and the effective multidisciplinary approach to solutions that is a hallmark of UC San Diego. Richard and Carol Dean Hertzberg have committed $5 million to establish the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The new center will provide science-based strategies for adapting to climate change.

“In making this gift, Carol and I were inspired by the leadership at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the excellence of UC San Diego and the enthusiastic approach to dealing with the very real issues that our models point toward and that our eyes and senses tell us are occurring,” said Richard Hertzberg, who has served as an active member of the Scripps Advisory Council and Scripps Director’s Council since 2003.

The center will focus on a new chapter of climate research that considers how society can address the consequences that are already unfolding or that appear to be inevitable. These consequences range from sea-level rise to more extreme weather with the potential to disrupt commerce, agriculture, and the habitability of certain regions on a large scale.

“This center will leverage the great strengths of UC San Diego in engineering, economics and public policy—critical fields to address the issue of climate adaptation,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “This gift is a testament to the foresight of the Hertzbergs in understanding the new questions that need to be asked regarding climate change, and also to their compassion and concern for future generations that will experience the effects of the decisions we make now.”

The Hertzbergs are longtime, loyal supporters of UC San Diego. In addition to Scripps Institution of Oceanography, they have also supported engineering, medicine, science and other important programs. Recognized as Chancellor’s Associates donors, they have also given to initiatives that include scholarships and The Preuss School UCSD. Richard Hertzberg is the chairman, CEO and president of ENPEX Corp., a privately held energy company involved in the creation, development, financing, construction, operation and ownership of cogeneration projects, oil and gas production and exploration and alternative energy projects. He is past chairman of the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Associates and a former trustee for the UC San Diego Foundation Board of Trustees.

Scripps Oceanography Director Margaret Leinen said that as changes in climate continue, human populations will be challenged to ensure that agriculture and fresh water supply is resilient, and that communities withstand extreme weather and frequent coastal flooding. Commerce can be disrupted, in both emerging and advanced economies.

“Scripps is a natural place for a center like this because of our long history at looking at all aspects of climate change,” said Leinen. “We’re engaged in atmospheric research and research on land, we look at the interaction between rivers and the ocean, and we certainly study the coastal zone. So this is an opportunity to have a platform for all that research and bring it into the realm of adaptation.”

The Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation will join other centers at Scripps that aid policymakers and resource managers in the arena of climate change by providing access to and interpreting data and forecast information. These include the Coastal Data Information Program, the Center for Western Water and Weather Extremes, and the California-Nevada Applications Program. As the new center evolves, it is anticipated that its staff will collaborate with these other centers on a regular basis.

“With at least one-third of the population living in zones that could be heavily impacted by sea-level rise, it is not difficult to imagine the types of problems that will occur in the future due to disease vectors or due to damage to infrastructure,” Herzberg added. “Hopefully this center will be able to focus the intellect and enthusiasm of scientists, engineers and economists to provide for peaceful and acceptable methods of adapting to the change that’s before us.”

Scripps Institution of Oceanography seeks additional support for programs and activities at the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation. Learn more about giving to the center here or call (858) 822-1865.


Additional comments about the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation


“The Department of Defense recognizes the destabilizing effects of climate change as serious threats to national security. The better we understand domestic and global climate change impacts, the better we can plan and implement strategic adaptation measures in support of national security and preparedness. The Navy has a long and productive history collaborating with UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography on scientific issues pertinent to defense priorities, and I look forward to continued collaborations through this new Center.”

– Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Energy, Installations and Environment


“Yet again, NOAA is fortunate to work with an innovative partner like Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, to make clear the unprecedented challenges and opportunities that we face in our lives, communities, and nations.”

– Margaret Davidson, NOAA Senior Leader for Coastal Inundation and Resilience Science and Services



“The time is now to pursue strategies for adapting to climate change effects that are inevitable and in some cases already taking place. The University of California and the state of California have demonstrated leadership in addressing these issues from a variety of perspectives and this leadership can be brought to bear not just for the benefit of this state but for society at large."

– Catherine Kuhlman, Deputy Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency and Executive Director of the California Ocean Protection Council


“The Port of San Diego has a great relationship with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and we look forward to working with the new Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation. As one of the first ports in the nation to adopt a Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on Port tidelands, the Port of San Diego demonstrates that we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment. This new center at Scripps will lead research on the impacts of climate change. Its research will be invaluable in helping the Port to understand how climate change will affect the Port of San Diego from the maritime, environmental and economic perspectives.”

– Randa Coniglio, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of San Diego


“Dr. Leinen and her colleagues at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography possess unparalleled experience and expertise to pursue solutions to the problems posed by sea-level rise and other impacts of climate change. The Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation is a critical step forward in addressing these global challenges, especially in the Greater Pacific. We are pleased that the meetings convened with Sunnylands helped to launch and shape the work of this important new center.”

– Geoffrey Cowan, president of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands


“Sea-level rise is threatening coastal places everywhere and at once – towns and cities, parks and ports – and society is unprepared for this unprecedented challenge. New institutions like the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation will be absolutely critical for softening impacts and finding opportunities in the inevitable and major transformations to come.”

– Ben Strauss, Vice President for Sea Level and Climate Impacts, Climate Central

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Giving to UC San Diego

The University of California, San Diego is a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public institution that provides opportunity for all. Recognized as one of the top 15 research universities worldwide, a culture of collaboration sparks discoveries that advance society and drive economic impact. Our students, who learn from Nobel laureates, MacArthur Fellows and National Academy members, are committed to public service. For the fifth consecutive year, UC San Diego has been ranked first in the nation based on research, civic engagement and social mobility. We are thankful for visionary philanthropists who join us in our quest to transform lives, shape new disciplines and advance the frontiers of knowledge. Learn more at


Related Image Gallery: Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Announcement

Related Video: The Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation

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