State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

climate policy24

  • Behavior, policy, and climate change

    Climate change is often discussed as the ultimate market failure: in the absence of laws that change incentives, decisions to maximize individual self-interest will not produce the socially desirable outcome of reducing carbon emissions and preserving the climate system. The role of individual and institutional behavior in bringing about the necessary changes is rarely discussed outside…

  • Giving new meaning to the word “hybrid”

    Last week, we learned that the Obama EPA will conclude that carbon dioxide is an air pollutant as defined by the Clean Air Act (CAA).  But a so-called endangerment finding on CO2 won’t lead to comprehensive CAA regulation, as I argued a few posts ago. Rather, the Obama administration will use the CAA as a…

  • Emissions standards to get Californicated

    Less than a week into his presidency, Barack Obama is poised to take his first step on the long road to averting climate catastrophe. The Times reports that Obama will allow California to raise automobile emissions standards for greenhouse gases above the national level. (OK, technically Obama has only ordered the EPA to review California’s…

  • Orange you glad we counted the carbon?

    There’s an article in today’s New York Times about PepsiCo’s effort to calculate the carbon footprint of its products, starting with Tropicana orange juice. A half-gallon of Tropicana represents the equivalent of 3.75 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. This is roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a 5-mile drive to the grocery…

  • A Quick Guide to Obama’s Climate Picks, Part 1

    There’s been a lot of buzz lately (for example, here and here) about President-Elect Obama’s picks for key science and environment positions, many of who are advocates for a robust response to climate change. Who are these people and what will each of them be responsible for in the new administration? In part one of…

  • Around the world: Canada, Part II

    First off,  I apologize for the inexcusably long time between posts.  From now on I hope to post at least once a week (still not good enough, I know).  This is Part II of our look at the climate change reduction efforts (or lack thereof) of Canada, our fascinating yet sometimes forgotten neighbor to the…

  • China, coal liquefaction, and more…

    The NYT’s Andy Revkin notes that China opened its first large-scale coal-to-liquid (CTL) facility on December 30. CTL technology, which converts coal into liquid fuel such as gasoline or diesel, has been around since the early 20th century, but has only been widely used twice – in Germany during World War II and in South…

  • Prescriptive science?

    This is just a short post to draw your attention to John Tierney’s New York Times column on John Holdren’s appointment as Obama’s science advisor. Tierney contends that: “Dr. Holdren is certainly entitled to his views, but what concerns me is his tendency to conflate the science of climate change with prescriptions to cut greenhouse…

  • Around the world: Canada, Part 1

    Periodically I’ll be taking a look at how countries other than the Big Four are faring in the fight against severe global warming, as commentators tend to focus on the United States, China, India and the European Union. This is the first in a two-part post on Canada. Oh, Canada! Our enlightened neighbor to the…

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

  • Behavior, policy, and climate change

    Climate change is often discussed as the ultimate market failure: in the absence of laws that change incentives, decisions to maximize individual self-interest will not produce the socially desirable outcome of reducing carbon emissions and preserving the climate system. The role of individual and institutional behavior in bringing about the necessary changes is rarely discussed outside…

  • Giving new meaning to the word “hybrid”

    Last week, we learned that the Obama EPA will conclude that carbon dioxide is an air pollutant as defined by the Clean Air Act (CAA).  But a so-called endangerment finding on CO2 won’t lead to comprehensive CAA regulation, as I argued a few posts ago. Rather, the Obama administration will use the CAA as a…

  • Emissions standards to get Californicated

    Less than a week into his presidency, Barack Obama is poised to take his first step on the long road to averting climate catastrophe. The Times reports that Obama will allow California to raise automobile emissions standards for greenhouse gases above the national level. (OK, technically Obama has only ordered the EPA to review California’s…

  • Orange you glad we counted the carbon?

    There’s an article in today’s New York Times about PepsiCo’s effort to calculate the carbon footprint of its products, starting with Tropicana orange juice. A half-gallon of Tropicana represents the equivalent of 3.75 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. This is roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a 5-mile drive to the grocery…

  • A Quick Guide to Obama’s Climate Picks, Part 1

    There’s been a lot of buzz lately (for example, here and here) about President-Elect Obama’s picks for key science and environment positions, many of who are advocates for a robust response to climate change. Who are these people and what will each of them be responsible for in the new administration? In part one of…

  • Around the world: Canada, Part II

    First off,  I apologize for the inexcusably long time between posts.  From now on I hope to post at least once a week (still not good enough, I know).  This is Part II of our look at the climate change reduction efforts (or lack thereof) of Canada, our fascinating yet sometimes forgotten neighbor to the…

  • China, coal liquefaction, and more…

    The NYT’s Andy Revkin notes that China opened its first large-scale coal-to-liquid (CTL) facility on December 30. CTL technology, which converts coal into liquid fuel such as gasoline or diesel, has been around since the early 20th century, but has only been widely used twice – in Germany during World War II and in South…

  • Prescriptive science?

    This is just a short post to draw your attention to John Tierney’s New York Times column on John Holdren’s appointment as Obama’s science advisor. Tierney contends that: “Dr. Holdren is certainly entitled to his views, but what concerns me is his tendency to conflate the science of climate change with prescriptions to cut greenhouse…

  • Around the world: Canada, Part 1

    Periodically I’ll be taking a look at how countries other than the Big Four are faring in the fight against severe global warming, as commentators tend to focus on the United States, China, India and the European Union. This is the first in a two-part post on Canada. Oh, Canada! Our enlightened neighbor to the…