State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup: Week of 3/20

USDA Funds Research on Crops and Climate Change, Businessweek, Mar. 21

The federal government is investing $60 million in three major studies on the effects of climate change on crops and forests. This adaptation strategy is meant to help farmers and foresters maintain their supply of food and timber, while experiencing shifting weather patterns.

The Next Five Years of Clean Energy and Climate Protection in China, NRDC, Mar. 23

Environment and climate are given more prominence than ever before in China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, outlining long-term strategies for greening GDP, controlling energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and capitalizing on a  growing low-carbon economy. China has linked climate change and low-carbon development strategically with its economic vitality, making a binding agreement to decrease carbon intensity (carbon emissions per unit GDP) by 17% by 2015.

Calif. Regulators Scramble in Wake of Court Ruling on Climate Law, New York Times, Mar. 24

The approval for a planned 2012 cap-and-trade carbon market in California might get pushed back due to a ruling by the San Francisco County Superior Court that the Air Resources Board did not provide enough information on alternatives to cap and trade, such as a carbon tax, direct regulation, or both. A small group of environmental justice groups oppose the system, claiming it would not benefit low-income communities living in areas of heavy air pollution.

UN Climate Chief Urges Governments to Deliver on Cancun Pledges, Business Green, Mar. 25

Christina Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC climate change secretariat, called on governments to accelerate efforts to deliver on last year’s Cancun Accords, so as not to lose momentum for the year’s first official round of international climate negotiations in Bangkok next month. The outstanding work relates to the creation of institutions for climate funding, technology cooperation, and adaptation functional within the deadlines agreed in Cancun.

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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