News from the Columbia Climate School

Keeping Track: the State of the Planet

“There is no Plan B; there is no Planet B.”

After citing a long list of environmental and social shortcomings, that’s how UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson summed up the problem at the 2012 State of the Planet conference. By many measures, the state of the planet could use some work. At the October meeting, the Earth Institute gathered development and environmental experts to talk about the challenges of sustainable development, climate and environment, and some of the solutions.

This video offers highlights of the talks from that gathering—from the tough assessments of the UN’s Jan Eliasson and Christiana Figueres, and climate scientists Jim Hansen and Lisa Goddard, to the far-reaching perspectives of students from all over the globe—in India, China, Kazakhstan, Nigeria and elsewhere. There were hopeful assessments of the potential for new technology to help us on our way from Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg and Earth Institute Professor Vijay Modi.

Thousands of people attended or watched the webcast of the conference, and many joined in, offering questions and comments via social media. You can watch the talks in more detail on the conference website.

And keep an eye on the website: The next State of the Planet conference, planned for late March, will focus on water issues.

Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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