Climate Policy

logo-cop-21-carr-feature image size

From Copenhagen to Paris: Holding onto Hope

I don’t believe for a second that we are on the brink of global destruction. We are on the brink of a global re-distribution and whole scale re-balancing of global goods and bads. But we have been there before and survived.

by |November 25, 2015
An electric car charging station in Amsterdam. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Could Cut Per Capita Greenhouse Emissions 90% by 2050, Says Report

The report says it is possible to revamp the energy system in a way that reduces per capita carbon dioxide emissions from 17 tons per person currently to 1.7 tons in 2050, while still providing all the services people expect, from driving to air conditioning.

by |November 23, 2015
logo-cop-21-carr-feature image size

From Copenhagen to Paris: Low Expectations

As we head to Paris, the expectations are profoundly lower. The national commitments that countries are putting on the table do not add up to nearly enough to keep us within 2 degrees; instead the plan is to come back every five years and hopefully do better. … It is still mathematically possible to stay within 2 degrees, but the odds of actually doing so seem to be receding by the month.

by |November 23, 2015
logo-cop-21-carr-feature image size

From Copenhagen to Paris: Likely to Fail Again?

All of the pledges made in Paris will be voluntary. However, countries have not always fulfilled their pledges in the past, and it isn’t obvious that this agreement is going to cause countries to behave very differently in the future.

by |November 20, 2015
Solar and wind power are on the rise, but they will need better storage technology to make a big enough dent in our use of fossil fuels. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Before Paris, Cause for Optimism

If the international community were to fully understand the threat of climate change, and the likely cost of mitigation and adaptation, perhaps we would commit to continued tax breaks and incentives, and propel the renewable energy transition toward completion. In the long run, I am sure this would be less expensive than coping with the consequences of continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions through 2050.

by |November 18, 2015
Flooding in Pakistan. "It is no secret that the poor in any country, and the poorer countries, are the most adversely affected by the present and future climate." Photo source: Think Progress

Climate Through A Different Lens: Poverty, Inequality, Sustainability

Technology has brought us low-cost global communication, and also enabled a global economy. It has also brought us closer and further from each other. We now know more about other cultures. We also see the differences, and sharpen our sense of inequities. Perhaps, this, rather than a control of greenhouse gases, needs to be the primary conversation.

by |November 16, 2015

The Paris Climate Summit: Resources for Journalists

Many experts at Columbia University’s Earth Institute are attending or closely watching the Paris climate summit. These include world authorities on climate science, politics, law, natural resources, national security, health and other fields, who can offer expert analysis to journalists. Here’s a guide to resources that journalists covering the summit can tap.

by |November 13, 2015
logo-cop-21-carr-feature image size

From Copenhagen to Paris: Getting Beyond Talk

The climate issue seems to generate a high level of ideologically based politics, emotional rhetoric and political symbolism. It is time to move past symbols to pragmatism and political reality.

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
full group

How to Have the Climate Change Conversation

On Thursday, October 29, the Earth Institute and the School of International of Public Affairs hosted a panel on Sustainability and Climate Change in the 2016 Presidential Race. The panel was moderated by Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet the Press. The panelists discussed how to frame the climate change conversation in such a polarized political environment.

by |November 2, 2015