State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

COP26: Resources for Journalists

Columbia University will have a strong presence at COP26, the world climate summit in Glasgow, Oct. 31-Nov. 12. Here is a list of key experts who will be attending or closely monitoring the meeting, and speaking at various events. Most will be available for media interviews. Two of our own on-site events will be open to media. In addition, we are hosting a COP26 website featuring online events and perspectives. Below, a guide to resources. 


Featuring  online events, and ongoing perspectives from our State of the Planet blog. Go to:



Catalyzing Private Capital Mobilization for Climate Action in Emerging Markets
Join the Center on Global Energy Policy for a panel discussion on new mechanisms and strategies to unlock private capital to support climate action in emerging markets. Rich nations have long promised US$100 billion a year to help less wealthy countries. But according to the International Finance Corporation, the financing gap for climate in developing economies amounts to US$23 trillion between now and 2030, or roughly $1.5 trillion per year. Closing the gap will require mobilizing public and private capital at scale to tackle both mitigation and adaptation.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | 11:30AM-12:30 PM New York | 4:30-5:30 PM Glasgow
Mandela Room, University of Strathclyde, 16 Richmond St, Glasgow G1 1XQ

Lauren Cochran, Vice president of equity & investment funds, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
Ali A. Zaidi, Deputy White House national climate advisor
Additional panelists to be announced

You must register to attend in person:


Columbia Climate School at COP26: Turning Ambition into Action
Join the Columbia Climate School for a special event connecting students with key leaders in energy and climate to drill down on what’s happening at COP26. Attendees at a live session in Glasgow will hold a virtual discussion with the inaugural class of the Climate School’s students in New York and students from Columbia Global Centers across the world. The new school brings together researchers and scholars developing education, research, technology and policy hubs. The event will serve as a platform for media seeking to engage with youth voices at COP.

Thursday, November 4, 2021 | 1:00-2:00 PM New York | 5:00-6:00 PM Glasgow
The Forum, Columbia University and The Venue, University of Strathclyde 

Mary Nichols, former chair, California Air Resources Board
Catherine McKenna, former Canadian minister of environment & climate change
Alex Halliday (in New York), director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and founding dean of the Columbia Climate School
Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy and co-founding dean, Columbia Climate School
Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation, former climate change ambassador for France

You must register to attend in person:



Scott Barrett, an economist, is a professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He studies the workings of international agreements and their successes and failures, especially those aimed at addressing climate. He has served as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Jason Bordoff is co-founding dean of the Columbia Climate School and founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy. Until January 2013, he was a special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director for energy and climate change with the National Security Council. One of the world’s leading energy and climate policy experts, Bordoff has pursued research and policy issues at the intersection of economics, energy, environment and national security.

Ruth DeFries is a professor of ecology and sustainable development, and co-founding dean of the Columbia Climate School. She uses satellite images and field surveys to examine how the world’s demands for food and other resources are transforming the planet’s surface, biodiversity and climate. Recipient of a MacArthur “genius” fellowship, she is the author of The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis and What Would Nature Do? A Guide for Our Uncertain Times.

Julio Friedmann is a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy. He recently served as principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, where he was responsible for an R&D program in advanced fossil energy systems, carbon capture, and storage, CO2 utilization, and clean coal deployment. His expertise also includes hydrogen production and use, and international clean energy engagements.

John Furlow is director of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society. Furlow designed and led the Climate Change Adaptation Program in USAID’s climate change office. In 2015, he worked at the U.S. Department of State designing and managing the National Adaptation Plan Global Network as part of U.S. preparations for the UN Climate Conference in Paris.He has a long record of working in international humanitarian programs in developing countries, particularly in agriculture.

Antoine Halff is an adjunct senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy and chief analyst at Kayrros, an energy data analytics company he co-founded in 2016. He was previously chief oil analyst at the International Energy Agency, and editor of two of its most authoritative publications, the monthly Oil Market Report and the annual Medium-Term Oil Market Report. His  expertise also includes methane emissions monitoring.

Alex Halliday is the director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and founding dean of the Columbia Climate School. Previously at the University of Oxford, he was dean of science and engineering. Halliday has been a pioneer in developing ways to measure small isotopic variations in everything from meteorites to seawater and living organisms, helping to shed light on the development of our Solar System, the interior workings of the Earth, and the processes that affect its surface environment.

Cynthia Rosenzweig is a senior scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the  Earth Institute, investigating the interactions of climate with sectors important to humanity. She has served as coordinating lead author for multiple IPCC reports, and led several major international efforts to study how agriculture and big cities can adapt to climate change, including the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project and the Urban Climate Change Research Network.

David Sandalow is the inaugural fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy and co-director of the Energy and Environment Concentration at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He founded and directs the Center’s U.S.-China Program and is author of the Guide to Chinese Climate Policy. His expertise includes U.S.-China climate diplomacy, biomass carbon removal and storage, industrial decarbonization, and direct air capture and carbon dioxide utilization. 

Cecilia Sorensen, MD, is a faculty member at the Mailman School of Public Health and directs the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education. Her work has spanned emergent health issues including heat stress and worker health in Guatemala; wildfires and health care in the United States; and climate and women’s health in India. She has served as an author for the U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment and as an advisor for the Lancet Climate and Health U.S. Policy Brief.

Korey Silverman-Roati is a fellow at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. His work has focused on international climate litigation. He also studies carbon dioxide removal and sequestration, solar energy research, and other climate strategies with the potential to bring about fast results.

More expertise is available on our list of 100+ Climate Experts at the Columbia Climate School.

For more information, or to connect with our experts, email Natalie Volk:

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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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