The Quebec-born scientist is renowned for probing how carbon cycles through the atmosphere and oceans, placing her high on the Reuters Hot List. Of the top 1,000 researchers, fewer than one in seven are women. Le Quéré has long chafed at the sexism she sees in the male-dominated field. Yet she has persisted.
Climate scientist Corinne Le Quéré sequestered herself in her home office last March. Outside, the streets were empty as Britain retreated from the coronavirus pandemic. The world had come to a halt. In the eerie stillness, she wanted to know: What did all this mean for emissions of carbon dioxide – and for human-driven climate change itself?
Colleagues were calling. Journalists were asking.
“I felt so embarrassed that I couldn’t answer this question,” Le Quéré recalled. “I mean, this is my area of research, and I know this is an obvious question, and I don’t know the answer.”