climate matters

News from the Columbia Climate Center on the science and impacts of climate change on society as well as environmental public policy analysis.

Kayaktivists greet Shell's Arctic Drilling Rig in the Port Angeles, Washington.

Alaska: Hotspot for Oil and Climate Change

In September, Shell Oil abandoned its offshore oil drilling projects in the Alaskan Arctic. Why is Arctic drilling so controversial and what impacts will Shell’s announcement have?

by |November 12, 2015
The difference in average surface temperatures from 1970-79 (bottom) to 2000-09 (top) due to global warming. Photo: NASA

The Paris Climate Change Conference – What You Need to Know

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, meeting in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, brings together world leaders to craft a new international agreement to keep the average global temperature rise below 2°C by 2100. Here’s what you need to know about it.

by |November 11, 2015
A Crabeater seal in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. Photo: ravas51, Flickr.

Antarctica’s Wildlife in a Changing Climate

We hear a lot about polar bears and other Arctic mammals in connection to climate change, but what about biodiversity in Antarctica?

by |October 26, 2015

The Presidential Candidates on Climate Change

The presidential election of 2016 will determine the United States’ role in confronting the global challenge of climate change, and preparing our nation to manage its impacts for years to come. Where do the presidential candidates stand today on these issues?

by |October 26, 2015
Blue chromis swim over pavona coral in French Polynesia. Photo: Michele Westmoorland.

Can We Save Coral Reefs?

We are losing coral reefs at an alarming rate and scientists believe that with business as usual they will likely be gone by the end of the century. However, better local management, coupled with new research on coral reef resilience and adaptability, may help buy some time for these indispensable ecosystems.

by |August 17, 2015

Corals and Climate Change

Corals are already facing a host of stressors—from pollution and overfishing to tourism and coastal development—but climate change puts corals at risk from rising temperatures and ocean acidification. The decline of coral reefs will have devastating consequences for the ocean, and for us.

A Glacier on the Antarctic Peninsula. Photo: Margie Turrin.

Antarctica’s Retreating Ice

While the ice sheets on West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula are usually the ones to make the news in relation to climate change, recent studies have documented transformations that are taking place on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet as well. On the continent as a whole, large areas of ice have already melted and this trend shows no sign of slowing, meaning the implications for global sea level rise in this century could be more dramatic than earlier projections anticipated.

by |June 30, 2015
Mount Everest

Mt. Everest Not Safe from Climate Change

Climate change has many asking if the days of being able to summit the world’s highest peak are numbered.

by |June 12, 2015
Photo niOS

Scientists Speak Out on Climate: Is Anyone Listening?

In the light of recent varied efforts to focus public attention on the risks of climate change, we asked Earth Institute scientists what they want the public to understand about the issue and how they see their roles.

by |April 9, 2014
The future is up to you! Participate now at

FutureCoast: A Voicemail Vision of Climate-to-Be

Melting glaciers, collapsing sea ice, water supplies under stress, increases in storm frequency, impacts on food supply — are we reading a synopsis of the IPCC report or messages from the future delivered through a software glitch? People around the world are posing this question.

by |March 31, 2014