News from the Columbia Climate School

Author: Michael B. Gerrard

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  • From Copenhagen to Paris: Low Expectations

    From Copenhagen to Paris: Low Expectations

    As we head to Paris, the expectations are profoundly lower. The national commitments that countries are putting on the table do not add up to nearly enough to keep us within 2 degrees; instead the plan is to come back every five years and hopefully do better. … It is still mathematically possible to stay…

  • A Major Legal Victory for Climate Science

    A Major Legal Victory for Climate Science

         Though most attention last week focused on the Supreme Court ruling upholding federal reform of the health-care system, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued the most important judicial decision on climate change in five years.  That decision upholds the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases, and it…

  • The Many Fights Ahead

    Last week ended with high drama and muddled results. As Friday’s workday began, Danish television was trained on the convoy of vehicles that would take President Obama to the Bella Center as soon as Air Force One landed. The landing took place around 9 a.m., and the president was immediately taken to a meeting of…

  • The Current May Be Shifting

    As I write this a little after midnight on Thursday, less than 24 hours remain before the close of the Copenhagen talks. Local television is playing continuous loops of an English-language TV movie (with Danish subtitles) about an evil oil company that is trying to sabotage the “Kyoto 2 talks at Calgary” by pressuring the…

  • Getting In on the Act

    The formal negotiations are taking place in only one place, the Bella Center, but throughout the city of Copenhagen the climate event cannot be missed. Numerous buildings are draped with huge signs proclaiming some company’s, nation’s, or group’s contributions to reducing the climate problem. Public plazas have large displays of electric cars, annotated globes, and…

  • Is the U.S. Leading, or Leaving?

    Difficult as it is to discuss global warming in the midst of a snowstorm (such as Copenhagen is experiencing right now), discussions proceed on multiple tracks, though “tracks” implies more linearity and parallelism than actually exists. The hidden elephant (or polar bear) in many of the rooms is the U.S. Senate. Virtually every other […]

  • Greatest Show on Earth?

    There are many shows taking place in Copenhagen right now. Where the real action is, however, is another question entirely. Over the weekend a mass demonstration — estimates of the number of participants range from 30,000 to 100,000 — took over parts of the city, leading to nearly 1,000 arrests. When I arrived at the…

  • From Copenhagen to Paris: Low Expectations

    From Copenhagen to Paris: Low Expectations

    As we head to Paris, the expectations are profoundly lower. The national commitments that countries are putting on the table do not add up to nearly enough to keep us within 2 degrees; instead the plan is to come back every five years and hopefully do better. … It is still mathematically possible to stay…

  • A Major Legal Victory for Climate Science

    A Major Legal Victory for Climate Science

         Though most attention last week focused on the Supreme Court ruling upholding federal reform of the health-care system, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued the most important judicial decision on climate change in five years.  That decision upholds the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases, and it…

  • The Many Fights Ahead

    Last week ended with high drama and muddled results. As Friday’s workday began, Danish television was trained on the convoy of vehicles that would take President Obama to the Bella Center as soon as Air Force One landed. The landing took place around 9 a.m., and the president was immediately taken to a meeting of…

  • The Current May Be Shifting

    As I write this a little after midnight on Thursday, less than 24 hours remain before the close of the Copenhagen talks. Local television is playing continuous loops of an English-language TV movie (with Danish subtitles) about an evil oil company that is trying to sabotage the “Kyoto 2 talks at Calgary” by pressuring the…

  • Getting In on the Act

    The formal negotiations are taking place in only one place, the Bella Center, but throughout the city of Copenhagen the climate event cannot be missed. Numerous buildings are draped with huge signs proclaiming some company’s, nation’s, or group’s contributions to reducing the climate problem. Public plazas have large displays of electric cars, annotated globes, and…

  • Is the U.S. Leading, or Leaving?

    Difficult as it is to discuss global warming in the midst of a snowstorm (such as Copenhagen is experiencing right now), discussions proceed on multiple tracks, though “tracks” implies more linearity and parallelism than actually exists. The hidden elephant (or polar bear) in many of the rooms is the U.S. Senate. Virtually every other […]

  • Greatest Show on Earth?

    There are many shows taking place in Copenhagen right now. Where the real action is, however, is another question entirely. Over the weekend a mass demonstration — estimates of the number of participants range from 30,000 to 100,000 — took over parts of the city, leading to nearly 1,000 arrests. When I arrived at the…