State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate Week: Why Does It Matter?

Due to global warming the polar bear's habitat has changed drastically. Photo: Gerard Van der Leun
Due to global warming, the polar bear’s habitat has changed drastically. Photo: Gerard Van der Leun

Climate Week NYC 2016 will take place from Sept. 19 to 25 in New York City. The eighth annual event is being presented by The Climate Group, an international non-profit that promotes climate and energy initiatives towards a zero-emissions future. Climate Week NYC 2016 features over 70 events that will bring together business, societal and government leaders to share the tools— ideas, technologies, resources and success stories—that are helping to curb climate change and transition to a low-carbon society. This year’s event will also host events in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Climate Week NYC 2016 takes place as the United States, China and Brazil have ratified the Paris climate accord negotiated last year.

Representatives from the 197 countries in Paris.
Representatives from the 197 countries in Paris.

It will only go into effect after 55 countries, responsible for 55 percent of global emissions, have ratified the treaty. A United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change report noted, however, that even if all 197 countries that signed onto the Paris pact fulfill their goals, the world would still be unable to keep global temperature rise within the accord’s 2 degree Celsius target.

In the coming decade, the actions taken by the United States and our next president to combat climate change will be critically important for the nation and the planet. To achieve a zero emissions future, we need every possible tool at our disposal, so the exchange of innovative ideas and successful strategies at a forum like Climate Week is key.

Climate Week will kick off on Monday, Sept. 19 at 9:30 at the New York Times building. At the opening ceremony, business and government leaders will discuss global climate action after Paris and how to spur the next wave of clean energy innovation. Speakers include Ernest Moniz, U.S. secretary of energy; Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All and special representative of the U.N. secretary general; Eric Rondolat, CEO of Philips Lighting; Susan Aplin, CEO of Bambeco; Jonathan Pershing, climate special envoy for the U.S. State Department, and others. Admission is by invitation only.

The Earth Institute is presenting several Climate Week events:

9/21: Innovative Approaches for Scaling Up Climate-Smart Agriculture is a forum sharing successful and innovative strategies to implement climate-smart agriculture.

A climate smart farm in Kenya.
A climate smart farm in Kenya.

The event is presented by the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI, an Earth Institute center), and the Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (the Earth Institute is a collaborator with the program). Admission is free with registration.

9/21 and 22: The 4th International Conference on Sustainable Development brings together governments, academia, the United Nations, international agencies, NGOs and grassroots organizers to share practical solutions for creating more sustainable and inclusive societies. The conference is being presented by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Global Association of Master’s in Development Practice Programs (MDP, an Earth Institute program). Admission for students with ID is free; $160 for MDP faculty and alumni and SDSN members. Registration required.

9/22: Ensuring Urban Resilience, Come Hell or High Water is a discussion of urban resilience and innovative strategies including hard and soft infrastructure. The Sallan Foundation, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law/Columbia Law School and the Columbia University Earth Institute are convening the event. Admission is free.

Admission to some of the week’s events are by invitation only, but there is also a wide variety of events that are open to the public, including:

9/19: The 1.5°C Temperature Limit—A Better Climate for Growth, Development and Food Security, a discussion of the scientific and political aspects of limiting warming to 1.5° C. Admission is free.

9/20: NECEC Energy Storage Forum, a talk by energy storage experts. Admission is free.

Buckhorn Mesa landfill
Buckhorn Mesa landfill

9/21: Trash as a Resource: How to Fight Climate Change Every Day, a forum on the connection between waste and climate change, and ways to reduce waste. Admission is free with registration.

9/22: Nextgen Cleantech Startups Showcase & Pitch Night, an exploration of innovative clean tech being developed at New York’s leading research institutes. Admission is free with registration.

9/23: Seed: The Untold Story NYC Premiere, a new documentary film about the loss of seed diversity and the future of food. $8-$12.

9/24: Ecology Park Tour at Paerdegat Basin in Brooklyn, an ecological park not yet open to the public, designed for climate adaptation and coastal protection. Free with registration.

Check the website for more event information.

Governments, businesses, organizations, academia, artists and the public are all invited to host climate-related events.






Columbia campus skyline with text Columbia Climate School Class Day 2024 - Congratulations Graduates

Congratulations to our Columbia Climate School MA in Climate & Society Class of 2024! Learn about our May 10 Class Day celebration. #ColumbiaClimate2024

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