The Scientist Behind the Keeling Curve Prize

Victoria Weber, Reporter

Back in her seventh grade science class, Jackie Francis remembers nodding off as her teacher droned on and on about molecules. But when the instructor segued to the subject of greenhouse gases, her interest piqued. This was the moment the middle schooler’s fascination with the environment began. Since then, Francis has equipped herself with knowledge and expertise on the subject of climate change, which ultimately led her to establishing the Global Warming Mitigation Project and subsequent Keeling Curve Prize.

Francis moved on from classroom learning to volunteering at the Aspen Science Center in Aspen, Colorado, where she would later meet Obama era secretaries of energy and science, and develop a larger role within the science center. Through involvement in events for the science center, Francis was able to establish a role at the organization, eventually being given the position of executive director. One project with the science center, ATLAS (“Always Thinking Like a Scientist”), was geared toward high school and middle school students to help them realize “we’re all scientists in some way, if we can learn the idea of how to think critically, how to question things [properly]… it’s all part of that critical scientific method.”

In an attempt to depoliticize conservationism, the protection of the environment, and appeal to a larger audience about how truly important it is, Francis created the Keeling Curve Prize. As part of the Global Warming Mitigation Project, the Keeling Curve Prize awards 25,000 dollars to two projects in each of the following categories: Capture and Utilization projects, Energy projects, Finance projects, Social and Cultural Pathways projects, and Transport and Mobility projects.

The Keeling Curve Prize team works to identify and support programs to help mitigate the current and future effects of climate change. The program recognizes the causes both in and out of people’s capacity, and works to preserve the health of the planet for future generations to enjoy. To support, learn more about, or apply for the Keeling Curve Prize go to under the “Keeling Curve Prize” tab.