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.

The climate agreement is adopted.

Understanding the Paris Climate Accord and Its Implications

On Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, 195 countries reached a history-making agreement to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in order to avert the direst effects of climate change. Here are some of the best and most reliable resources to help you understand the Paris accord and its implications.

by |December 15, 2015
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The Changing Climate of Security

In the November Democratic presidential primary debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders said that the greatest threat to national security was climate change. But is there actually a link between national security and climate change, and if so, what is it?

by |December 9, 2015
NASA's supercomputer model created this simulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Photo: NASA/GSFC

Six Tough Questions About Climate Change

People often ask certain tough questions about climate change— about the costs of cutting carbon emissions, the feasibility of transitioning to renewable energy, and whether it’s already too late to do anything about climate change. Laura Segafredo, manager of the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, answers these questions.

by |November 30, 2015
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
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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