By burning fossil fuels for heating, electricity, transportation and other purposes, humans add CO2 to the atmosphere. Yet, by comparing ways in which the Earth’s temperature, CO2 concentration, sea level and ice sheets have changed in the past, we are able to learn valuable lessons about the climate system of today and tomorrow.
The Sustainable Development Goals, to be set by the United Nations in September 2015, will outline the international development priorities for the coming decades. What will the goals look like? How can we measure progress effectively? Where will the funding to implement these goals come from? Can an international climate agreement be reached in Paris next year, and what might it look like? Columbia’s Sustainability Media Lab will present “Road to 2015: A Pivotal Year for Sustainable Development,” a panel discussion, on Monday, Nov. 17.
China became the world’s largest carbon polluter in 2006, surpassing the U.S. But it is also rapidly going green through cutting coal use, investing heavily in renewable energy and launching the world’s largest carbon trading system.
NASA has been at the forefront of climate science, launching satellites that take the pulse of Earth’s land, oceans and atmospheric systems. But the agency is increasingly vulnerable itself to the effects of a changing climate.
Sitting on the iconic front steps of Low Library, Alma Mater rests on a plinth that offers a clue to a possible method of carbon sequestration, a vital technology for addressing our problem of too much CO2.
“Climate change has been making the fire season in the United States longer and on average more intense,” said John Holdren, President Obama’s science advisor. And, wildfires are not only intensified by climate change, they also exacerbate it.
This fall, the photographs of Sebastião Salgado provide the springboard for an ambitious program of panel discussions, lectures and film screenings addressing the urgent issue of climate change, at the International Center of Photography in New York City.
President Obama this week announced a set of actions designed to help populations here and abroad develop better resilience against drought, sea level rise and other consequences of a changing climate. At The Earth Institute, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society has been working on these issues for years — making regular climate forecasts, insuring farmers against bad weather, and using data to better anticipate outbreaks of disease, manage water resources and improve forest management, among other programs.
Student Jane Rebecca Marchant was one among the hundreds of thousands who joined the People’s Climate March Sunday, and she took a lot of photos. You can see her photo essay on the march on the website of the Morningside Post, the student-run newspaper at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs.
In my early years I didn’t talk about the politics of global warming much. I didn’t bring it up with friends or family, let alone engage in any public way. It seemed to me unseemly for a scientist to be vocal on a political issue related, even indirectly, to his own research. Wouldn’t that be an indication of bias, of a lack of scientific impartiality? But I have changed my mind.