State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

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Columbia to Establish a Climate School to Meet the Challenges of a Warming World

columbia morningside campus from above
View of Columbia’s Morningside campus in New York City. Photo: Eileen Barroso

Columbia University announced today the creation of a new Climate School to tackle the most urgent environmental and public health challenges facing humanity. It is the first new school in 25 years at the University.

In an email to the Columbia community, President Lee C. Bollinger wrote, “We are moving to take on in a scholarly way—as only a great university can—an area of tremendous public attention and increasing concern, as enduring as anything else we might conceive of.”

Columbia has long been at the forefront of academic discovery and involvement in issues of climate change. The new school will draw on the university’s strengths in these areas, building capacity from a hub of existing, world-class research centers and programs. These include the Earth Institute and its many centers, including the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the International Research Center for Climate and Society, the Center for Climate Systems Research, and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network.

Alex Halliday, director of the Earth Institute, is leading the effort to establish the Climate School. The Columbia Climate School will work in partnership with the deans and faculties of other schools and make use of the university’s network of Global Centers in countries around the world. It will also draw on the resources of initiatives like Columbia World Projects that are establishing partnerships to translate academic work into tangible outcomes that will benefit humanity.

President Bollinger shared the news yesterday at a United Nations meeting of university presidents in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The event was attended by university presidents from institutions across the world and opened with remarks by Columbia Professor and Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Jeffrey Sachs, UN Secretary General Antonio Guiterres, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, President of the Rockefeller Foundation Rajiv Shah and President Bollinger.

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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