State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup: Week of 8/07

Climate Bonds to Fund Clean Energy Development, While Providing Fixed Income, Sustainable Business, Aug 9

In 2009, an international think tank decided the global bond market could play a central role in financing clean energy projects, while providing attractive fixed income returns to investors. The International Network for Sustainable Financial Markets launched the Climate Bonds Initiative to foster the use of long-term debt to finance a rapid, global transition to a low-carbon economy.

Lawyers Make Insurance Claim in Bid to Prove Damages From Climate Change, New York Times, Aug 9

In the face of courts hostile to the idea of awarding damages against major greenhouse gas emitters over the impacts of climate change, creative plaintiffs lawyers are placing their faith in the driest of subjects: insurance. Courts — including the Supreme Court — have been reluctant to recognize common law public nuisance claims against utilities and oil companies due to the difficulty of attributing blame among thousands of emitters and the sense that it is a global issue that should be tackled at the international level. But some plaintiffs lawyers think they can prove a concrete injury by showing that their clients’ insurance rates have increased as a direct result of climate change.

The rise, fall, then rise again of a powerful global warming gas, E&E ClimateWire, Aug 11

Scientists were stumped when the concentration of the powerful greenhouse gas leveled off at the end of the 20th century, after increasing for nearly a century. Now a pair of studies published yesterday in Nature presents two different, seemingly conflicting, theories about what happened. One study argues that changing agricultural practices, especially among Asia’s rice farmers, caused the methane slowdown between 1980 and 2000. The other makes the case that changes in fossil fuel production and use — including greater demand for natural gas — are the culprit.

Climate Change Hits Home, onearth, Aug 11

NRDC just unveiled an incredible web interactive that lets you see how your state might be impacted by climate change. On the site,, you can see local data and maps detailing extreme weather patterns throughout the country, see local climate change vulnerabilities and learn about health problems in your own community that are connected to climate change.

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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