State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Jeffrey Sachs, Gavin Schmidt on Economy and Wild Summer Weather

This past Sunday Jeffrey Sachs appeared on the CNN program, GPS with Fareed Zakaria to talk about what it will take to kick start the US economy. (Sachs segment begins at 2:55 in video.) He explains that recreating the consumption boom through the stimulus package hasn’t worked and what’s needed is a different approach. People are “tired” it’s time to implement a long term strategy based on investment,  improving infrastructure, overhauling of the energy system and building human capital through education and training.

Sachs has a piece in the Financial Times that gives more details to this.

In the second segment of the show, Sachs is joined with Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeler with the NASA Goddard Institute and co-founder of the popular blog RealClimate.org, and with Pat Michaels with the Cato Institute which Zakaraia duly notes is a libertarian think tank. Heat waves, wildfires in Russia, floods in Pakistan have all hinted at anomalous conditions in the atmosphere but the panel is quick to acknowledge that one can’t necessarily attribute a group of events to something that is slow acting and pervasive like global warming. Schmidt, however, said that what we do know is that this is the warmest decade on record and a result of adding of greenhouse gases. Zakaria also poses some pointed questions to Michaels and advocates “like him” asking how much his research is supported by the petroleum industry. “Not much,” said Michaels, “maybe around 40 percent.”

Here are some more interesting links from EI:

Converging Weather Patterns Caused Last Winter’s Huge Snows

Blogs from Copenhagen 2009

Antarctic Sea Ice Growth Could Reverse

Sow the Seeds of Long-Term Growth

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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