News & Events

The latest climate change news from Cornell and beyond.

 

Feb. 26: Policy & Activism: A Conversation on Climate Change

Policy+Activismx600Friday, February 26, 2016 at 5:30pm to 7:30pm
G01 Uris Hall, C

 

ornell University


Program:

  • 5:00: Refreshments (attendees are encouraged to bring their own water bottles/mugs/plates/utensils)
  • 5:30: Welcome
  • 5:35: Opening Speech–Lara Skinner, Ph.D., Associate Director of The Worker Institute at Cornell’s ILR School
  • 5:50: Paris Climate Talks & 80%-Renewable NY by 2030–Robert Howarth, Ph.D., Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • 6:05-6:15: Break
  • 6:15: Panel

1. Barbara Lifton, Tompkins County Assemblywoman–D
2. Nick Goldsmith, Town of Ithaca Sustainability Coordinator
3. Lara Skinner, Ph.D., Associate Director of The Worker Institute at Cornell’s ILR School
4. Bob Howarth, Ph.D., David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
5. Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment America New York
6. Bronte Payne, Clean Energy Fellow of Environment America Boston
7. Lauren Chambliss, Communications Director of the Atkinson Center for a Future
8. Steve Englebright, NY State Assembly Member

  • 6:40: Closing Speech–Professor Bruce Monger, Oceanography Senior Lecturer
  • 6:55: Q&A

Epidemics, warming oceans rock lobster, sea star populations

 

The panel starts with photo A) Healthy ochre star populations before an epidemic in Bamfield, British Columbia, Canada. Photos B-E reveal progressive signs of disease, starting with B) initial sign of disease is arm twisting; C) appearance of small lesions in the body wall; D) loss of arms; E) complete break down of all arms from body. (Photos: Drew Harvell)

The panel starts with photo A) Healthy ochre star populations before an epidemic in Bamfield, British Columbia, Canada. Photos B-E reveal progressive signs of disease, starting with B) initial sign of disease is arm twisting; C) appearance of small lesions in the body wall; D) loss of arms; E) complete break down of all arms from body. (Photos: Drew Harvell)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-02-15]:

A new study describes how diverse marine organisms are susceptible to diseases made worse by warming oceans. The research warns that warm sea temperatures in 2015 may increase the levels of epizootic shell disease in American lobster in the northern Gulf of Maine in 2016.

A second study provides the first evidence of a link between warmer ocean temperatures and impact of a West Coast epidemic of sea star wasting disease that has infected more than 20 species and devastated populations since 2013.

These two papers, published Feb. 15, are part of a marine disease-themed special issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. The issue – which contains a total of 13 studies – is edited by Kevin Lafferty, a marine ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Eileen Hoffman, an oceanographer at Old Dominion University.

Read the whole article.


Panelists review Paris climate summit at Ithaca event

 

Allison Chatrchyan, director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture, tells of her experience at the COP21 climate change summit. (Mark Lawrence/ACSF)

Allison Chatrchyan, director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture, tells of her experience at the COP21 climate change summit. (Mark Lawrence/ACSF)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-02-04]

Six panelists, including Cornell faculty members, who attended the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris last fall recalled the historic proceedings for a spirited audience that spilled into the hallway of the Tompkins County Public Library’s BorgWarner Room Feb. 3.

The panel, “COP21: Reflections on the Historic Climate Agreement,” was co-sponsored by Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, local government agencies and community groups.

Topics discussed ranged from methane emissions to agriculture to civil disobedience, but panelists agreed that the COP21 made history by producing a 195-nation commitment to combat climate change that, while not nearly strong enough, they said, was a remarkable achievement nonetheless.

Read the whole article.


Climate change perspectives from Indian Country

David Wolfe

David Wolfe

From David Wolfe, professor of plant and soil ecology in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University and chair of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future’s Climate Change Consortium. Via The Hill [2016-02-02].

I was on a research trip to Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation in North and South Dakota this December to learn from Lakota and Dakota community members how climate change was affecting their environment, and to begin a dialogue about building resilience to this challenge. While there, my group was also keeping track of events at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, where the Indigenous Environmental Network was organizing events to raise awareness of indigenous peoples’ vulnerability to climate change and longstanding concerns about human impacts on the Earth.

As an ecologist, I was struck by how the complex and cascading effects of a changing climate were real-life issues for members of the Lakota and Dakota community, giving them an understanding far beyond those who do not interact with the environment in the same way. They could see how seasonal cycles of the living world — like spring bloom, bird migrations or the thickening of the winter coat of the buffalo — were becoming out of sync with the sun and moon cycles on which our Gregorian calendar is based. They were concerned with declining fish and game, negative impacts on farm and ranching, and the shifting timing and abundance of traditional foods gathered from the grasslands and forests: prairie turnips in June, chokecherries in July, buffalo berries and wild mushrooms in September.

Read the whole article.


Seminar series starts Feb. 8

Perspectives on the Climate Change Challenge
BEE 2000: Spring 2016
Mondays: 3:35-4:35 P.M., 233 Plant Science

This university-wide seminar provides important views on the critical issue of climate change, drawing from many perspectives and disciplines. Experts from both Cornell University and other universities will present an overview of the science of climate change and climate change models, the implications for agriculture, ecosystems, and food systems, and provide important economic, ethical, and policy insights on the issue.

The seminar is being organized and sponsored by the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture, and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. The seminar is free and open to the Cornell and Ithaca Community at large, and will be videotaped.

For Cornell Students: This one credit seminar is being offered through the Department of Biological Engineering (BEE) as BEE 2000, and also satisfies the requirements of the ESS minor and major, as well as requirements of the climate change minor.

Schedule:

  • February 8: Climate Change at the Frontiers of Ethics, Dale Jamieson (New York University)
  • February 22: The Science and Impacts of Climate Change, Art DeGaetano (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences)
  • February 29: Long-term Climate Perspectives, Mega Drought and Seasonal Forecasts, Toby Ault (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences)
  • March 7: Short Versus Long-lived Forcers of Climate Change, Peter Hess (Biological & Environmental Engineering)
  • March 14: The Importance of Land Use in Climate Change, Natalie Mahowald (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences)
  • March 21: Cornell Perspectives from COP21 in Paris, Cornell’s COP21 Delegation of Allison Chatrchyan (CICCA and Development Sociology), Robert Howarth (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology), Johannes Lehmann (Soil & Crop Sciences), and Karen Pinkus (Comparative Literature)
  • April 4: Planning Our Water Resources Systems for a Changing Climate, Scott Steinschneider (Biological & Environmental Engineering)
  • April 11: Climate Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems, Christine Goodale (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology)
  • April 18: Climate Change and the Future of Food, David Wolfe (Horticulture)
  • April 25: Communicating Climate Change, Katherine McComas (Communication)
  • May 2: Simulating the Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture and Adaptation Planning, Linda Mearns (National Center for Atmospheric Research, NCAR)
  • May 9: Climate Justice: Economics and Philosophy, Ravi Kanbur (The Dyson School)

‘IPM Insights’ features climate change and pests

ipm-insightsThe January 2016 newsletter from the USDA’s Northeastern IPM Center, based at Cornell University, features articles on how climate change is affecting Integrated Pest Management (IPM), including:

  • Climate Change and Uh, Hopperburners?—Arriving
  • Climate Change Is the Elephant in the Room
  • Pests a Top Concern for USDA Northeast Climate Hub
  • National Forum on Climate and Pests
  • Scientist Sees Weeds as Indicators of Climate Change

The newsletter is available in both .pdf and iBook formats.


Feb. 10 seminar: Reducing Uncertainty in Rainfall Projections for Improved Food Security in Malawi

Reducing Uncertainty in Rainfall Projections for Improved Food Security in Malawi

Wednesday February 10 12:20-1:10pm
135 Emerson Hall

Speakers:

  • David Wolfe, Cornell Professor, Horticulture Section, School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Toby Ault, Cornell Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Refreshments provided. Co-sponsored by the Departments of Crop and Soil Sciences, Natural Resources, and The Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management


Reflections on COP21 climate agreement panel Feb. 3

 

Click image for poster.

Click image for poster.

COP21: Reflections on the Historic Climate Agreement – What’s next for the world?
Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 7:15pm to 8:45pm
Tompkins County Public Library, Borg Warner Room, 101 E Green St, Ithaca, NY

Join six Ithacans who participated in COP21 in Paris, for personal reflections on the 195-nation agreement on climate change. Followed by a community conversation about next steps.

Panelists:

  • Bob Howarth, Cornell University
  • Sandra Steingraber, Ithaca College, author
  • Karen Pinkus, Cornell University
  • Allison Chatrchyan, Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture
  • Johannes Lehmann, Cornell University
  • Colleen Boland, We are Seneca Lake

Introduction: Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton

Sponsored by:  Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Tompkins County Planning Department, Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative


Why Climate Change Rhetoric Simultaneously Succeeds and Fails

 

Adam Levine, Assistant professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University

Adam Levine, Assistant professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University

Adam Levine and Reuben Kline in the Huffington Post [2016-01-04]:

Despite mounting evidence about the threats posed by climate change, most Americans do not consider it to be a very important problem facing the country, nor are they engaged in large-scale advocacy efforts to address it.

What might be done? An increasingly common argument, backed both by intuition and social science research, is that rhetoric should highlight how climate change will personally affect Americans’ lives. Among the most common “personal relevance” frames are those that focus on how it might impact personal health or make it more difficult for people to obtain the food that they need.

It turns out that these personal relevance messages have the opposite effect from what we might expect: Although they do increase people’s concern about climate change, they actually reduce their willingness to advocate on the issue.

Read the whole article.


Feb. 18 panel: International Management of the Paris Climate Change Agreement: What Next?

Thursday, February 18, 2016
4:45pm to 6:00pm
Warren Hall, B25

Panelists:

  • Robert W. Howarth, David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology & Environmental Biology.
  • David WolfeProfessor, School of Integrative Plant Science and Chair of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (ACSF) Climate Change Focus Group.
  • John MathiasonAdjunct Professor at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs and the Managing Director of Associates for International Management Services (AIMS).

Climate change is the most important international issue for humans ever.  It is borderless, affects everyone and cannot be solved by the workings of the State system or the magic of the marketplace.  It requires international management.  This was known before the 21st Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in December, but will be even more important as the Paris Agreement is implemented.  The colloquium will discuss what we can and should expect over the next thirty years.

Some of the dimensions of international management were explored in a 2013 issue of the Journal of International Organizations Studies edited by John Mathiason.  Its introduction stated “Despite the fact that international institutions will clearly be tasked with coping with the global response to climate change, little research has focused on the current and new institutions dealing with climate change. This is partly due to the fact that the negotiations about how to address the climate change problem have not concluded.”  The negotiations, for the moment, were concluded in Paris and some of the areas for management are reflected in the Agreement.

The Paris Agreement’s implementation will involve more negotiation and setting up and managing the negotiation process will continue to be an international responsibility executed by the Secretariat of the UNFCCC located in Bonn.

Read more about the event and view full bios of panelists.