State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Executive Courses in Conservation, Sustainability

The Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC) at Columbia University provides executive training in environmental sustainability through science, policy, and economics; we invite you to learn from our leading experts and practitioners to become an effective environmental leader and decision-maker.

Upcoming CERC Courses:

Ecosystem Services and Corporate Planning
Jeffrey Potent, Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and Environmental Protection Agency
This course explores the emerging incorporation of environmental factors into core business decision-making and strategic planning. It examines the impacts and dependencies of corporations on our ecosystems. Utilizing a methodology of ecosystem services review, along with an examination of various case studies, students explore strategic considerations corporations face in order to move beyond regulatory compliance to sustainable business practices.
Meets: Mondays, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 (5 sessions, 6:10-8:10PM)

Green IT: Paradox and Practice
Rajendra Bose, PhD. Manager, Research Computing Services, Columbia University
The growth in the use of computing and information technology (IT) in society demands more resources and energy, yet also allows us to understand and solve environmental problems. The course explores this paradox by discussing the environmental impacts of IT, and by reviewing examples of environmental research that require high-performance computing. The course also focuses on current IT practice in terms of designing and running data centers: Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are all representative of businesses that invest and depend heavily on large data centers, and the cost and energy efficiency of these centers has become a major concern. Other businesses and institutions, including universities and government research facilities, are also increasingly dependent on data centers, and the course describes current projects for green data centers and the metrics involved in those projects.
Meets: Tuesdays, Oct. 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1, 15 (5 sessions, 6:10-8:10PM)

Environmental Economics
Urvashi Kaul,
Assistant Director, Center for Economic Transformation at NYCEDC
Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University

This course provides an introduction to environmental economics, discussing the basic principles of microeconomics as they apply to environmental issues and analyzing case studies that illustrate how economics can guide conservation practice and policy. The class discussion also includes a review of solutions to such market failures, such as taxes and subsidies, fees and quotas, especially tradeable emissions permits, e.g., carbon markets.
Meets: Wednesdays, Oct. 12, 19, 26, Nov. 2, 9 (5 sessions, 6:10-8:10PM)

Climate Change: History, Causes, Economics and Decisions
Bob Newton, PhD. Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth Institute, Columbia University
This course provides an analysis to climate change in three parts. The first part is through a history of the temperature at the planet’s surface, and the basics of how the temperature is set and can change. Both natural and human influences are covered. The second part of the course reviews the ways that warming is likely to impact human beings, including sea-level rise, water availability, and crop productivity. The course concludes by examining what the main economic impacts of climate change might be, and what mechanisms are available for individuals and corporations to think about climate policy. The instructor is a climate scientist with a background in corporate infrastructure design and management.
Meets: Thursdays, Oct. 13, 20, 27, Nov. 3, 10 (5 sessions, 6:10-8:10PM)

Complete Fall 2011 Course Calendar and Descriptions are available at:

Our courses are tailored to fit your professional schedule:

– Candidates from all professions and backgrounds can enroll.
– You may enroll in individual courses or pursue the full 12-course Certificate in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability
– Courses meet once a week in the evenings and run for five weeks.
– Your enrollment provides an official transcript form Columbia University.
– The full Certificate can be completed in a little as 9 months.

For more information or to register contact CERC at or 212-854-0149.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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