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Earth Institute Practicum

One of the tremendous advantages of attending SIPA is the vast array of resources available through Columbia University.  There are numerous institutes and centers to learn from along with the ability to cross register for classes across the university.  Each year SIPA students take close to 700 non-SIPA courses.  This provides students with a great way to built their resume, increase their network, and learn from other world class faculty.

Current SIPA student Beatriz Guillén wrote the following post on her experience with The Earth Institute.


One of the best things at SIPA is its comprehensive course offering. You can take classes in all Columbia’s graduate faculties: at the Law school, at Teachers College, or at the Business School, for example.  Among the courses I am taking this semester there is one of special interest “The Earth Institute Practicum”, a Law school course taught by Earth Institute faculty members. Every week an expert working at the Earth Institute at Columbia teaches a class related to their field of expertise, providing a broad picture of the comprehensive work they are doing at the institute. Students are expected to read the articles posted online for each specific topic to stimulate discussion.

The first class, taught by Cheryl Palm, Roseline Remans and Sean Smukler, dealt with the interrelation between food, ecology, nutrition, and health and an analysis of tropical agriculture.

Other professors teaching the class this semester include  Andrew Juhl, Ajit Subramaniam, Kathy Callahan will address the Oil Disaster in the Gulf, Steven Cohen will speak on environmental management, Marc Levy on Haiti reconstruction, and Jeffrey Sachs on sustainable development.

Sustainability Education Provides a Reason to Hope

sc32SIPA Professor Steve Cohen recently authored a piece which appeared in the Huffington Post. The full article is here and a short excerpt is below.  You can also find an interview with Professor Cohen concerning our Energy and Environmental Studies program by clicking here.

While oil continues to ooze into the Gulf of Mexico and the climate bill remains stalled in the Senate, I might be delusional, but I am feeling optimistic about our planet’s prospects. It helps to work at a university, and it especially helps to participate in graduation ceremonies like the ones I attended here at Columbia this past week. While this year’s job market remains tough for our graduates, it is not nearly as horrific as the market faced by the class of 2009. The energy and idealism of our graduates is infectious and should be a source of hope for everyone.

Want to go help the business and policy world go green? SIPA Can Help Pave the Way

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


Here in the admissions office we get a number of applicants who are interested in coming to SIPA to study sustainability.  In particular, many applicants are interested in the nexus of business, environment and society.   As many of them already know, and as I’ll explain to you, SIPA is a fantastic place to be to explore this interaction.

SIPA allows students to focus on environmental policy studies, and offers students a wide variety of classes relating to business sustainability, green markets, and CSR.  With courses such as “The Role of Government in Advancing Corporate Sustainable Development” and “Financing the Green Economy: Markets, Business & Politics,”  SIPA has a growing repertoire of classes that help future leaders incorporate environmentally-sound business practices into their careers, whether they choose to work directly in Corporate Social Responsibility / Sustainability or in other disciplines.

In addition, there are a number of degree programs and institutes at Columbia that allow SIPA students interested in sustainability to explore various aspects of this complex issue.  From the Earth Institute’s greater focus on developing countries, to their more business-oriented MS in Sustainability Management, networking and learning opportunities abound at Columbia.

In addition to the various courses SIPA offers and the related institutes and degree programs in the greater Columbia community, you’ll find that Columbia is dedicated to being a forum for the exchange of leading-edge ideas in sustainable business practice.  If you’re in the New York area, consider attending one of these upcoming Columbia-sponsored event events:

Monday 2/15: Leadership on the Pathway to Sustainability

A lively evening of discussion and debate by prominent leaders in global, national and local sustainable development.

Please look for more details about the panelists and the night’s proceedings on our website CERC Home.

Where: Rotunda of Low Memorial Library
Monday, February 15th, 2010 from 6pm to 8pm.

Thursday 2/18: Innovative Method of Green Energy Finance

Moderated by Earth Institute Executive Director and Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy Director, Steve Cohen. The goal of the panel is to collaborate on innovative methods of green energy finance. The discussion is co-sponsored by the Earth Institute and the SIPA’s Energy and Environment Program and will feature the following participants:

Location: Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive

Please RSVP to Youngmi Jin at

or 212-854-1214, by Monday, February 15, 2010.

Tuesday 2/23: MAKING GREEN FROM GREEN: Investment Opportunities in the Wake of Copenhagen

Is there Hopenhagen after Copenhagen – Professor Jeffrey Sachs, noted author and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia will discuss the current landscape for sustainable business investment. Tuesday, 23 February 2010, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Location: JP Morgan Chase – 277 Park Avenue  – 17th Floor
Register Now Click here to buy tickets!!!
For more information email

All month: Clean Tech Month at Columbia Business School

Clean Tech Month is an event series running in February 2010, jointly sponsored by Columbia Business School’s Green Business Club and Energy Club. It aims to provide the many members of our clubs interested in the clean tech and renewables space with opportunities for in-depth learning and industry exposure.  There are at least seven more events going on this month; check it out!

MPA in Environmental Science and Policy Information Session

Earlier this week I mentioned that SIPA has seven different degree programs.  One of the programs we offer is a one-year MPA in Environmental Science and Policy.  A great way to learn about this program is to attend an information session.  Details of an upcoming session can be found below.  If you have any questions about this program, feel free to contact Audrey Lapiner at

MPA in Environmental Science and Policy Information Session

Date:  Tuesday, November 10th

Speaker: Steve Cohen, Director, MPA Director, MPA Environmental Science and Policy; Executive Director, The Earth Institute, Columbia University

Time: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Columbia University, Morningside Campus, International Affairs Building, Room 1501

Contact: Audrey Lapiner, or call (212) 851-0261

To Register click here.

Web Site:

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: 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:


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:

"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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