Archive for climate change

Admitted Students Day – Jeff Sachs

“I can keep it brief. You should definitely come. Any questions?”

On that lighthearted note, Professor Sachs began his keynote speech on Tuesday’s Admitted Students Day. The topics he discussed after this initial joke weren’t always so sunny, though.

Climate change. Public health. The tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan.

They are, as he put it, “a new set of complexities that our current leaders have not been trained to solve.” But that doesn’t necessarily imply a completely bleak worldview.

Watch this video of Professor Sachs’ speech to see the rest of the story:

Top 10 Things That only Happen at SIPA

The following post was contributed by second year SIPA student Richard Parker.  Richard is working in our office this year and he, along with several other students, will be contributing posts throughout the year.

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I decided to take a break from paper writing and finals studying to update the blog. This month has been long and crazy! On the 12th the SIPA Pan African Network (SPAN) hosted their annual African Diplomatic Forum. The theme was: Climate Change as the new Security Threat- Implications for Africa. Our keynote speaker was Congressman Donald Payne and we had two panels with many notable and distinguished panelists. I served as the host for the event and also the coordinator for the Human Security panel. Needless to say I was beat after it was all said and done.

The next week I had a group presentation for my Peacekeeping in Africa class which drained the rest of the energy from my body. We presented on Liberia and to our surprise one of my professors colleagues who works for the UN (at the Liberia desk of course lol) was in the audience observing the presentation.

But after that was Thanksgiving!!!! I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. Me and my mom did the normal turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce etc…which is always a treat…but the rest of the holiday well let’s just say it wasn’t a holiday. On Black Friday, while most people spend hours waiting on line to get in to department stores, I spent hours online in the library writing the first of 4 (four, cuarto, quarte, quattro) 20 (twenty, vingt, venti, veinte) page papers. Only this type of thing happens at SIPA. So in true David Letterman style I present the top 10 things that only happen at SIPA (in no particular order)

10: You meet someone from a country that you can barely find on a map

9: You hear languages that Rosetta Stone doesn’t have a disk for being spoken on the 6th floor café

8: You have professors who are real life rockstars at the United Nations

7: You complain about Lehman library but never manage to study elsewhere and get mad when undergrads take all the tables in group study

6: During finals time when studying with friends, someone says they’re about to make a food run and you know that means either Hamilton’s, Sub Conscious or Appletree

5: You have a 2 minute pitch

4: You cringe at the thought of producer theory

3: Riding in the elevator with Mayor Dinkins or a visiting ambassador or head of state seems normal

2: You know the best time to go to the café in order to avoid the line

1: You study with and learn from the worlds best and brightest

So maybe not as funny if you don’t go to SIPA but it was worth a try anyway. Back to paper writing…see those of you starting in the spring in a month!

Hosting the ADF conference

IPCC Scholarship Programme

Our office was recently notified of a scholarship opportunity for applicants from developing countries.  The deadline is July 31st so the time line is a bit tight, however if after reading the information below you are interested this sounds like a great opportunity.  The following comes from the IPCC Web site.

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The IPCC Scholarship Programme is targeting the most vulnerable regions of the world where the IPCC has identified gaps in knowledge in terms of climate change science and impacts. These comprise developing countries, and in particular Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.

Therefore applications coming from scholars from these areas and addressing issues relevant to them will be given priority. The Scholarship provides for living expenses, and in some cases, for tuition fees as well.

The Programme aims at developing the knowledge, skills and capacity of the scholars in order to address climate change impacts and sustainable development. Priorities include research on the impacts of climate change in the most vulnerable regions of the world and the potential for adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development.

For this initial round of scholarships, applicants should complete the attached application file which comprises the application form and the corresponding attachments by July 31, 2010 at the latest.

For more information and to apply visit the IPCC Web site.

State of the Planet 2010 Conference

Professor Jeff Sachs has helped organize a conference on many of the challenges currently facing our population and planet.  Climate change, poverty, economic recovery, and international systems are topics of the State of the Planet 2010 Conference taking place on the Columbia University campus on March 25th.  The following is noted on the Web site:

Around the world, people will be able to participate via webcast and interactive elements. And at event sites in Beijing, New Delhi, London and Nairobi, speakers and attendees will be directly linked to the international debate, moderated from New York.

An introductory video can be viewed on the conference Web site.

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Climate, Copenhagen, and Columbia

The following was prepared by SIPA Student Joshua Huneycutt, a second year MIA student concentrating in Energy and Environmental Policy.

381634787_f52e84a5afImage Courtesy of suburbanbloke via Flickr

As the world prepares for the upcoming global climate summit in Copenhagen this December, there’s a flurry of activity here at SIPA and Columbia.   Following British climate economist Lord Stern (link here) and controversial Danish environment minister Connie Hedegaard’s (link here) visits to the 15th floor of SIPA last month, there have been a number lively debates, lectures, and events surrounding the question of whether or not the US and the rest of the world can forge agreements and pass legislation to prevent a global climate catastrophe.

Columbia’s establishment of the Columbia Climate Center (link: http://climate.columbia.edu/) this past spring reaffirmed the university’s commitment to comprehensively tackling the issue.  With Columbia Law School’s hiring of leading climate law expert Michael Gerrard and SIPA’s appointment of Scott Barrett, a lead author of the IPPC’s second assessment report, to the SIPA faculty, climate policy issues have been put in the spotlight on campus.

On top of stellar new faculty and engaging events, SIPA gives students the opportunities to engage directly with agenda-setting organizations on matters related to climate change.  For example, I participated in a consulting workshop group that advised the World Bank on incorporating climate adaptation considerations into their lending mechanisms and helped to overhaul a computer-based climate risk analysis tool.

Regardless of what happens in Copenhagen, SIPA and the Columbia community will continue to expand their offerings to help those dedicated to finding viable solutions to these great challenges.  Check out a few climate-related events that took place:

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10/29 What is the Global Warming Intensity of a Vehicle Fuel?  Uncertainty, Life Cycle Analysis, and Time in the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Beyond.

We have the pleasure of welcoming Michael O’Hare, Professor of Public Policy in the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC-Berkeley, for an informational lecture and discussion on his research regarding the use of alternative fuels. A few months ago, the Air Resources Board of the State of California adopted a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), a 10% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2020, and Professor O’Hare’s team at Berkeley was responsible for a large amount of the policy’s supporting research.

This groundbreaking legislation was passed with the notable inclusion of “indirect land use change” (LUC), the conversion of land used to grow food into land used to grow corn specifically for ethanol, as a source of emissions, overcoming the intense lobbying efforts of the ethanol biofuel industry with indisputable research on the effects of LUC. Professor O’Hare will share many of his team’s discoveries, as well as comment on their potential and actual impacts on local, state, and national climate change policy.  Join us for a lively discussion of an important facet of the current climate change debate.

Thursday, Oct. 29th at 3 pm

Location: 1512 International Affairs Building

This event is being co-sponsored by The Earth Institute, the Columbia Climate Center, the Master in Public Administration program in Environmental Science and Policy, and the Master in Public Administration in Environmental Policy Studies Energy and Environment Concentration program.

10/30 LDEO Earth Science Colloquium: Assessing Resilience of Past Societies to Climatic Change: the Case of Angkor’s 15th Century Collapse and Reorganization

Speaker: Dan Penny, Australian Research Council (ARC) Fellow, University of Sidney

Friday October 30 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Location: Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Monell Building Auditorium

Web Site: http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/earth-science-colloquium/2009-2010

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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