News & Events

The latest climate change news from Cornell and beyond.


Howarth alerts White House of growing methane danger

Cornell Chronicle [2016-06-02]:



As methane intensifies greenhouse gas in the atmosphere – propelling average global temperatures higher toward the brink of no return – Cornell’s Robert briefed the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy May 27 on its dangers and solutions.

“In Paris at the COP21 [the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties] last December, the nations of the world came together to recognize that we need to keep our planet well below a 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise – compared to the pre-industrial baseline temperature for the Earth – and that anything above 1.5 degrees Celsius is dangerous,” said Howarth, the David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology. “If we don’t, we’re at an increased risk of hitting tipping points in the climate system that will lead to runaway global warming.”

The 90-minute briefing, “Natural Gas and Methane After COP21,” was given to senior staff and scientists.

Howarth told the group Earth’s atmosphere is on target to raise the average atmospheric temperature by 1.5 degrees C in the next 10 to 15 years and by 2 degrees C within the next 35 to 40 years. “The only way to slow this rate of warming and meet the COP21 target is to reduce methane emissions,” he said. “Although we should reduce carbon dioxide emissions, reducing carbon dioxide alone will not slow global warming on the time scale of the next few decades. The climate system responds much more quickly to reducing methane emissions.”

Read the whole article.

Climate Justice Economics and Philosophy conference May 24-25

Climate Justice Economics and Philosophy
Tuesday-Wednesday, May 24-25: 401 Warren Hall

Climate justice requires sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change and its resolution equitably and fairly. It brings together justice between generations and justice within generations. In particular it requires that attempts to address justice between generations through various interventions designed to curb greenhouse emissions today, do not end up creating injustice in our time by hurting the currently poor and vulnerable. More generally, issues of distribution and justice are of paramount importance in any discourse on climate change.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) summit in September 2015, and the Conference of Parties (COP) in December 2015, brought climate change and its development impact, including climate justice, center stage in global discussions. This conference builds on the momentum of these meetings to take stock of and advance the analysis of climate change from a distributional and justice perspective in an interdisciplinary interaction among economists, philosophers and policy makers.

View schedule

Registration: Contact Sue Snyder (
Organized by: Ravi Kanbur, Cornell University, and Henry Shue, University of Oxford
Supported by: Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (ACSF) through a Faculty Fellowship for Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts; by the T.H. Professorship Program at Cornell University; and by the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice.

In the news

Art DeGaetano, director of the Northeast Regional Climate Center, is co-principal investigator for the New York Climate Change Science Clearinghouse. (Photo: Lindsay France/University Photography)

Art DeGaetano, director of the Northeast Regional Climate Center, is co-principal investigator for the New York Climate Change Science Clearinghouse. (Photo: Lindsay France/University Photography)

Latest climate change information housed on new website [Cornell Chronicle 2016-05-06] - A Cornell partnership at the frontier of climate and information science is making the search for relevant climate information easier and faster. The New York Climate Change Science Clearinghouse features New York-specific climate data curated by Cornell librarians to provide the public and policymakers access to the most recent and credible information available to inform decisions.

Cornell and Iceland team to model geothermal energy [Cornell Chronicle 2016-05-13] - With an aim to create clean, renewable geothermal energy projects, and to cooperate in research and education, Cornell and Geothermal Resource Park (GRP) Iceland have signed a memorandum of agreement that mirrors the successful Icelandic model for integrating energy solutions.

Humanists offer critical perspective on climate change [Cornell Chronicle 2016-05-05] - Climate change and other 21st-century environmental dangers put us all at risk, and technology alone does not hold the answers. Humanists at Cornell offer a critical perspective in the search for solutions.

Lund debate focuses on nuclear power, climate change [Cornell Chronicle 2016-05-12] - The question under consideration was not, “Is nuclear power good or bad?” but “Is nuclear power the answer to climate change?” And on that participant views were very different.

Farmers try to find ways to deal with more severe weather [WRVO 2016-05-02] – “We have more extreme weather, longer growing seasons that are warmer, warmer winters. All of these things have implications and direct impacts on farming. We have more pests than we used to have in the past, because they can survive over winter. So lots of challenges,” says Michael Hoffman, executive director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture.

CALS leaders named to food security commission [Cornell Chronicle 2016-05-12] - Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS; Michael Hoffman, executive director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture; and Per Pinstrup-Andersen, professor emeritus in nutrition and economics, will provide critical insights as part of the new commission convened by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

Cornell’s Sutton Road solar farm opens in Geneva

Cornell Chronicle [2013-05-03]

The completed Sutton Road Solar Farm became operational April 13. (Photo: Rob Way/NYSAES)

The completed Sutton Road Solar Farm became operational April 13. (Photo: Rob Way/NYSAES)

Bring on the sunshine: Cornell University’s new Sutton Road Solar Farm, a 2-megawatt energy facility that will offset nearly 40 percent of the annual electricity demand at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, New York, became fully operational April 13.

“Our researchers are conducting basic and applied research to improve crops and make them more resilient to disease, drought and the worst effects of an uncertain climate as we chart a more sustainable agricultural future,” said Susan Brown, the Goichman Family Director of NYSAES. “Within our fruit and vegetable programs we’re studying the best way to harvest the sun, so it is only fitting that the energy powering our labs and greenhouses will do the same.”

Construction of the solar farm, a 17-acre facility featuring 9,120 photovoltaic panels located off Sutton Road in Seneca, New York, started last spring and is Cornell’s second megawatt-scale solar project. In September 2014, the university opened the Cornell Snyder Road Solar Farm with 6,778 photovoltaic panels on an 11-acre plot that adjoins the Tompkins County Regional Airport in Lansing, New York. Adding the new Geneva array to the Lansing facility’s output, the university will produce about 5,700 megawatt-hours of electricity annually.

Read the whole article.

Climate Smart Farming exhibit opening May 5 in Mann Library

mann climate smartFrom Jonathan Lambert, Program Assistant, Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture

Climate Smart Farming: New York State Farmers in Their Own Words
Opening reception, Thursday, May 5, 4:00 – 5:30 pm
Mann Gallery, Mann Library (2nd Floor), Cornell University

Please join us for a reception with Dale Stein (Stein Farms), Paul King (Six Mile Creek Vineyards), Glenn Evans (Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station) and Allison Chatrchyan of the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture (CICCA) as we open a new exhibit in the Mann Library Gallery.

CICCA works with Cornell researchers, extension specialists, and New York State farmers to co-develop tools that increase resiliency, reduce risk, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector. This exhibit showcases this unique collaboration, highlighting stories of farmers’ experiences with extreme weather and climate change and the important adaptations they are making through new cropping systems and varieties, improved water and waste management, and the installation of renewable energy systems.

This is a multimedia exhibit, with both photos and video footage from our new Cornell climate smart farming program:

For more information about the climate smart farming program of the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture at the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, please visit

The “Climate Smart Farming” exhibit is part of Mann Library’s year-long special programming series on climate change launched in fall 2015. For more information about current and upcoming events, please visit The exhibit will be up from May-August 2016, and there will be a second event with the exhibit and a special talk with Dr. Toby Ault on Friday, June 10, 2016 at 10:00am.


Podcast: Climate Change and Fruit Trees

Greg Peck dissects fruit buds in his lab to assess frost damage.

Greg Peck dissects fruit buds in his lab to assess frost damage.

How will the changing climate affect the way we grow fruit now and in the years to come?  Greg Peck, Assistant Professor in the Horticulture Section, of Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science sat down with Susan Poizner, host of the Orchard People podcast for a wide-ranging discussion about sustainable fruit productions systems, how climate change will affect fruit trees and what growers and gardeners can do to prepare.

Listen to the podcast.

Rising seas puts Vietnam in climate change ‘bull’s eye’


A woman sells fruits and vegetables at the floating farmer’s market near the city of Can Tho in the Mekong Delta region. (Mike Hoffmann photo.)

A woman sells fruits and vegetables at the floating farmer’s market near the city of Can Tho in the Mekong Delta region. (Mike Hoffmann photo.)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-04-21]

In a tale of two life experiences, Mike Hoffmann went to Vietnam for the first time in 47 years: On his first tour of duty, he was a 19-year-old U.S. Marine, and for the March 2016 trip, Hoffmann returned as an environmental scientist.

“Vietnam is in the bull’s eye when it comes to climate change,” said Hoffmann, professor of entomology and executive director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture, who explained that a rising sea level – for a country with 2,000 miles of coastline – presents a major environmental and food security challenge, especially in the Mekong River Delta region where 22 percent of the population lives and about half of the country’s food is produced.

Farmers are seeing the changes and to paraphrase a scientist there, Hoffmann said, “There are no climate change deniers in Vietnam.”

Read the whole article.

From CornellCast:

Cornell Biochar/Bioenergy Conference April 15

biochar Photo: UC Davis Biochar Database

Photo: UC Davis Biochar Database

From Jingjing Yin, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Horticulture Section:

We invite everyone with an interest in biochar to attend the first Cornell-wide biochar conference organized by the project team Best use practices for improving soil health and vegetable growth in organic farming using on-site produced biochar on April 15, 9 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. in 135 Emerson Hall.

The program will include  talks from invited speakers, a panel discussion, and poster displays, followed by a tour of the Leland pyrolysis kiln at from 3 to 4 p.m.  The event is free and open to the Cornell community and is sponsored by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

If you would like to attend, present a poster, or have other questions, please contact Jingjing Yin ( or Neil Mattson (, or visit the conference website.

Upcoming events




‘Climate-smart soils’ may help balance the carbon budget

Johannes Lehmann, center, discusses soil research with farmers in Awassa, Ethiopia.(Andrew Martin Simons photo)

Johannes Lehmann, center, discusses soil research with farmers in Awassa, Ethiopia.(Andrew Martin Simons photo)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-04-06]

Here’s the scientific dirt: Soil can help reduce global warming.

While farm soil grows the world’s food and fiber, scientists are examining ways to use it to sequester carbon and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

“We can substantially reduce atmospheric carbon by using soil. We have the technology now to begin employing good soil practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Johannes Lehmann, Cornell professor of soil and crop sciences, co-author of the Perspectives piece, “Climate-smart Soils,” published in Nature, April 6.

Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon and using prudent agricultural management practices that tighten the soil-nitrogen cycle can yield enhanced soil fertility, bolster crop productivity, improve soil biodiversity, and reduce erosion, runoff and water pollution. These practices also buffer crop and pasture systems against the impacts of climate change.

Read the whole article