State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

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Still Time to Apply for Certificate in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability Program

Good news everyone – there is still time to apply for classes in Module 3 of the Certificate in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability Program, offered by the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation at Columbia University. The evening program, in which environmental issues are discussed, debated and examined, and where participants develop an in-depth understanding of conservation science and practice through case studies and a focus on Environmental Policy, Management and Finance, is offering the following classes in the coming weeks:

Energy and Sustainability
Kathy Callahan
School of International and Political Affairs, Columbia University
This course examines the evolution of issues, attitudes, and policies surrounding energy production and use through time, and provide a critical examination of current trends in consumption, production, and potential future sources of energy. Technologies, philosophies and policy approaches, as well as the current accepted thinking on the topic will be evaluated to enable participants to ask new questions and derive innovative ideas and approaches to address this prominent global issue through readings, research, and discussion.
Dates: Apr. 12, 26, May 3, 10, 17.

Evolution: Darwin to DNA
Ana Luz Porzecanski and Martin Mendez
American Museum of Natural History
This course provides an overview of concepts of biological evolution, from pre-Darwinian attempts to describe life through modern genetic theory. It will emphasize the history of evolutionary thought and science, review the basic principles of evolutionary theory, and discuss their implications for modern life as well as state-of-the art technologies, such as genomics. Topics covered include natural selection, types of fitness and variation, speciation, reproduction and the transfer of genetic traits, the structure of DNA and a look at evolution over the long term via introductory systematics.
Dates: Apr. 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11

Forest Management and Conservation
Matthew Palmer
Columbia University
Forests are a vitally important habitat for much of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, as sources of timber and food and for providing services such as carbon storage and water filtration. However, forests worldwide are threatened by overexploitation, conversion, climate change and invasive species. This course introduces several key issues in forest ecology and management through a local lens. On an all-day field trip to Black Rock Forest, participants will study how pathogens and other invasive species affect forest structure and function. Following the field trip, local observations will be scaled up to consider how these issues affect forest conservation on a global scale.
Dates: May 5,12 (6-8PM), & Saturday May 14 (9AM‐3PM).

Mainstreaming Climate Change into Development
Juan Pablo Bonilla
Unit Chief, Sustainable Energy and Climate Change, Inter-American Development Bank
This course will discuss how to mainstream climate change into economic and social development. The course’s introduction will cover the main outcomes from the COP16 in Cancun (Conference of the Parties) in terms of challenges and opportunities, within the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Region and discuss the financing structure proposed for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The course will also discuss the topics of Multilateral Development Banks in financing and scaling up investment in climate change, the role of the public and private sectors and bilateral cooperation, and institutional Frameworks for incorporating climate change mitigation and adaptation into development policy. The course will conclude with a group exercise in stakeholder analysis about mainstreaming climate change into the public/private sector of a LAC country.
Dates: Friday, April 8 (6-8PM) & Saturday, April 9 (8:30AM-4:30PM)

Certificate courses are taught by Columbia University professors and researchers from the CERC Consortium as well as adjunct faculty who are current practitioners in the public and private sector. This breadth of experience and diverse set of perspectives inform curriculum development to reflect scientific expertise and current hands-on approaches to environmental sustainability. Through the Certificate Program, professionals from all sectors can gain the knowledge and tools to make sound decisions about business activities and policy practices that impact the environment.
Classes are held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Columbia University in New York City (with access to all University facilities)
• Courses meet once a week for five weeks
• Weekend field courses are offered but not required
• Rolling admission deadlines.
• No previous coursework or scientific knowledge is required
• The Certificate, which grants an official transcript from Columbia University, can be done in as little as nine months or as long as three years. Twelve courses must be completed to graduate.
For a full listing of courses, click here – descriptions.

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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