Climate Change Education Resources

From: Frederick W Stoss <>
Subject: Climate Education Sites in Earth Day Compilation
To: “Climate Change Info Mailing List” <>
Date: Thursday, 22 April, 2010, 21:39

Greetings Colleagues, Friends, and Other Good People!

The following Climate Change Education resources are linked in this year’s edition of our Web Guide, “Earth Day 2010 – 40 Years of Environmental Learning, 1970-2010,”

Ocean Acidification and Echinoderms

Many of us discuss “the other carbon dioxide problem,” ocean acidification in our classes. A new study in the journal Ecotoxicology, S. Dupont, et. al., Impact of Near-Future Ocean Acidification on Echinoderms, 19 Ecotoxicology 449-462 (2010) (subscription required) does an excellent job of parsing out both some of the serious potential impacts of OA on ocean ecosystems (with a focus on the phylum echinodermata, which includes sea urchins, brittlestars, sea stars and feather stars), as well as the high levels of uncertainty that exist in making such assessments at this point. The article would be appropriate particularly for graduate students, especially in a more science oriented course with a policy component.

The key take-aways from the study include the following:

  1. For many ocean species, ocean acidification’s most serious impacts may occur in early development stages. For example, one study concluded that a slight decrease of 0.2 units of pH resulted in 100% mortality in only 8 days due to larval malformations;
  2. Ocean acidification impacts could be very species-specific, even among closely related species. For example, one study revealed that two sea urchin species showed opposite responses when exposed to acidic conditions over the course of 60 days, with one species showing a 50% decrease in calcification rates, while another showed a 4.5x increase;
  3. There may be some serious ecosystem implications if certain echinoderm species are threatened by ocean acidification in the future. For example, the study concluded that the brittlestar species Ophiothrix fragilis will be eradicated by declining pH. The species is a keystone species in many coastal ecosystems in the eastern Atlantic; thus, its disappearance could result in major changes in many key benthic and pelagic ecosystems in the region;
  4. Unlike the case of temperature impacts on ocean ecosystems, where some species will be able to avoid adverse consequences by migrating, acidification is likely to occur worldwide, affording species few avenues of escape;
  5. There are many gaps in our understanding of the potential impacts of OA; the future research agenda needs to include longer-term studies, the impacts of synergetic stressors on ocean species, and impacts of OA in different life stages.

Ocean acidification is always an interesting topic in a climate change course. It leads to questions about whether we need a carbon-specific target under the UNFCCC within the “basket approach,” and whether geoengineering proposals are fatally flawed because they fail to address this issue (or in the case of Ocean Iron Fertilization, may actually exacerbate the problem; see my post from a couple of days ago in this context).

Climate Competitiveness Index

The 2010 Climate Competitiveness Index, the most comprehensive study to date of national progress to create green jobs and economic growth through low carbon products and services, shows that in spite of uncertainty surrounding international climate negotiations, countries have forged ahead with low carbon growth strategies in the first quarter of 2010.

The annual Climate Competitiveness Index (CCI), produced by the independent non-profit institute AccountAbility in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), launched today at the Business for Environment summit in South Korea. The 2010 Index analyses 95 countries responsible for 97 percent of global economic activity and 96 percent of global carbon emissions.

The CCI combines two sets of data to investigate “Climate Accountability” to validate if a country’s climate strategy is clear, ambitious and supported by stakeholders, and “Climate Performance” to consider each country’s capabilities and track record on delivering its strategy.

The CCI finds that despite gaps in performance and accountability, 46 per cent of countries assessed since the UNFCCC Copenhagen conference in December 2009 have demonstrated some improvement in climate accountability. Thirty-two countries have made significant improvements, with Germany, China and Republic of Korea being the outstanding examples. India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Rwanda have also enhanced their climate accountability.

Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Japan and France show the most consistent progress on combining accountability and performance. Switzerland and Austria are strong on climate performance, while the UK and USA are strong on climate accountability. Republic of Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia are developing good strategies and the BASIC nations (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) are making progressing towards climate competitiveness.

Learn more about this work, or download The Climate Competitiveness Index 2010 report, at

All email inquiries to

Ocean Iron Fertilization and Ocean Acidification

One of the purported benefits of one of the primary carbon dioxide removal geoengineering schemes, ocean iron fertilization (OIF), has been that it would help to address the issue of ocean acidification, in contrast to solar radiation management approaches, e.g. cloud seeding or sulfur particle injections into the stratosphere. However, a new study by two Stanford researchers, Long Cao & Ken Caldeira, Can Ocean Iron Fertilization Mitigate Ocean Acidification?, 99 Climatic Change 303-311 (2010) (subscription required), suggests that OIF may actually exacerbate the threat posed by ocean acidification. This short reading would be a good addition to a module on geoengineering because it emphasizes the complexity of the impacts of such approaches and potential trade-offs associated with geoengineering.

Among the key take-aways from the study:

  1. Even extreme scenarios of OIF would only have a negligible impact on projected declines in pH associated with increased oceanic uptakes of carbon dioxide. “By year 2100 in the simulation with iron fertilization, global surface pH decreases by 0.38 units from a pre-industrial value of 8.18, compared with a decrease of 0.44 units in the scenario without fertilization;”
  2. At the same time, iron fertilization increases the amount of carbon sequestered in the ocean interior, accelerating acidification of the deep ocean, especially in the Southern Ocean. This is of particular concern because deep-sea organisms appear to be highly sensitive to even modest changes in pH.

Among the questions that could stimulate class discussion:

  1. Even assuming that OIF would not substantially ameliorate ocean acidification, or might even exacerbate it in some regions, might it still make sense to deploy OIF given the serious implications of climate change on the world’s oceans?;
  2. What regimes might govern OIF given the potential impacts described in the article? Which would be the most appropriate?

Winds of Change: Addressing Climate Change in Southeast Asia

With a projected 95% of the growth in GHG emissions over the next 20 years slated to take place in developing countries, many of us devote time in our classes to addressing the prospects for confronting emissions growth in large developing States. A new study by the World Bank and AusAID looks at the prospects for transforming energy systems in Southeast Asian States (China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines & Thailand), Winds of Change: East Asia’s Sustainable Energy Future (World Bank/AusAID, 2010) and demonstrates well both the challenges, yet excellent prospects, for dramatic reductions in emissions in the region.

Among the take-aways from the report:

  1. Energy consumption has more than tripled over the past 3 decades and is expected to double over the next 2 decades.
    • The region’s carbon dioxide emissions have also tripled in the past twenty years;
    • Under a scenario that continues current government policies, carbon dioxide emissions could double again in the next two decades, with coal continuing to be the predominant fuel
  2. Countries in the region are among the most vulnerable to the potential impacts of climate change, including from sea level rise and declines in agricultural production. The region could see a GDP decline greater than  the 5% global decline projected in the Stern report for business as usual scenarios;
  3. It is possible for States in the region to stabilize carbon dioxide emissions by 2025, with emissions dropping slightly thereafter; this would also reduce climate damage costs by 50%
  4. To effectuate the “Sustainable Emissions Development” (SED) scenario, several measures will have to be taken by States in the region, especially China, who is responsible for the 85% of the regions emissions:
    • In the short term, energy efficiency initiatives can reduce emissions by more than half from current policies by 2030;
    • Low-carbon technologies could meet half of East Asia’s power demand by 2030, requiring a 3-fold increase in the share of low-carbon technologies (renewable energy and nuclear power) from today’s 17%;
  5. Financing the transition to SED would constitute a “formidable challenge,” requiring mobilization of financing of $85 billion per year for energy efficiency initiatives and $35 billion annually for low-carbon technologies. After factoring in $40 billion in savings annually due to energy efficiency savings, the annual requisite investments in the region would be approximately $80 billion annually;
    • While energy savings would result in most of additional investment costs being recouped quickly, upfront financing requirements could be an imposing barrier given the historical constraint that financing in developing countries has posed;
    • The study estimates that concessional financing would be necessary to fill the gap between what the commercial sector likely would be willing to invest in such initiatives and requisite financing; the study projects that concessional financing could amount to approximately 20% of projected $85 billion per year of additional investment
  6. The Clean Development Mechanism has provided, at most, approximately $1 billion in new projects, only one percent of the projected $80 billion in annual investment needs required in the Asia region alone; thus, we will need to scale up other  sources of funding, e.g. the Clean Development Fund, to bridge the financing gap in Southeast Asia;
  7. As is true in many of the other parts of the world, Southeast Asia is at a critical juncture in terms of energy choices and their impacts on climate. The long lives of energy capital stocks mean that the configuration of investments in energy infrastructure over the course of the next 10 years will likely determine emissions in the region through 2050;
  8. Among the most important policy measures that governments must take to foster a transition to SED include market-based pricing reforms, including removal of fossil fuel subsidies and internalization of energy costs, financial policies to scale up renewable energy, including feed-in tariffs and renewable energy portfolio standards, as well as smart urban planning policies, e.g. higher density and increased investments in mass transportation.

Water Use and Plantation Forestry

I often talk about the potential impacts of proposed carbon offsets, including tree planting to facilitate carbon sequestration. The resources below are excellent examples of one important impact, serious draw down of water resources in some regions.


New Release:

Plantation Trees and Water Use:

Part 1

Part 2

Seventy years of Jonkershoek Paired Catchment Experiments A Tour with Arthur Chapman Plantations use significant amounts of water and South Africa is an arid country. In this documentary Arthur Chapman from One World Sustainable Investments (previously CSIR) takes us on a tour and shares with us the background of seventy years of hydrological research in the Jonkershoek Valley and how the paired catchment experiments work, and how much water trees really use. The intention of the documentary is educational, and to be used as a platform for further discussions. This documentary is a GeaSphere / EcoDoc Africa collaboration and made possible with funds from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of GeaSphere, EcoDoc Africa or SSNC. This video was produced and edited by Liane Greeff, video footage were filmed by Roy MacGregor and Liane Greeff. Original music: Roy MacGregor. Project planning: Liane Greeff and Philip Owen. Thanks to Janet Botes for graphics on watershed plantations and eucalyptus trees, and to Guy Preston, Willem de Lange, Deidre May and Wally Menne for additional photographs and visuals.

Read related Article at:


Philip Owen


EcoDoc Africa

M.S. in Climate Science & Policy, Bard College

Colleagues and friends,

We have extended the application deadline for our new fall program,  MS in Climate Science & Policy; scholarships remain available for next year. Please pass along to interested prospective students. Thanks–

Eban Goodstein

Director, Bard Center for Environmental Policy

Climate Science & Policy at Bard

The Bard Center for Environmental Policy is offering a new MS Degree in Climate Science and Policy, beginning this Fall 2010. This new degree helps to provide the trained workforce critical for businesses, non-profit organizations, and governments at all levels as they face the increasing challenges posed by climate change.

Program Description

The international community has set a consensus goal of holding global warming to the low end of 2 degrees C above 1990 levels. Meeting this target will require dramatic transformations of energy, forest, agricultural, transportation and urban systems, transformations of unprecedented scale and speed. These initiatives will require a large workforce with comprehensive training in both climate science and policy. Yet, relative to this need, the number of students with an interest in climate solutions who are also receiving rigorous, in-depth graduate level education in climate science is very small.

While retaining the policy strength of our existing Masters in Environmental Policy degree, the new Masters in Climate Science and Policy program has a focus on climate science, specializing in the interactions between climate change, ecosystems and agriculture. This focus addresses the critical need for policy-makers in the areas of offset markets; biofuels; ecosystem services; forest and soil sequestration; agricultural and livestock life-cycle emissions; ecosystem and agricultural adaptation; crop, livestock and human diseases; and crop, livestock and forest management.

Bard College has developed a collaborative partnership with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. The Cary Institute is one of the world’s premier research institutions focused on applying ecosystem analysis to policy challenges. Cary’s scientists, combined with the strengths of the faculty at Bard CEP, provide students in our new degree program with access to world-class scientific research opportunities, classroom education, and field experiences related to agricultural and ecosystem impacts of climate change.. At the same time, building off our existing policy expertise, and on our signature close collaboration between natural and social scientists in curriculum design, students also gain the sophisticated graduate level training in policy solutions demanded by employers.

In the private, non-profit and public sectors, there is fast growing demand for workers with both strong climate science training, and the skills to design and implement policy solutions. The Bard CEP, in partnership with the Cary Institute, offers our new degree program to help close this gap.

CS&P: Year One

§  One-year sequence in general climate science.

§  One-year sequence in the science of climate, ecosystems and agriculture.

§  One-year sequence in environmental and natural resource economics.

§  The National Climate Seminar, ongoing participation.

§  One-term statistics class.

§  One-term Geographic Information Systems class.

§  Three-month internship (summer)

CS&P: Year Two

§  One-term, advanced seminar on the science of climate, ecosystems and agriculture.

§  One-term seminar on Climate Law and Policy.

§  Science-based masters thesis.

§  Communications seminar.

§  Capstone Leadership seminar.

How to Apply

LAST DAY TO APPLY: May 15th, 2010.

All application materials, including transcripts, GRE Scores, and FAFSA forms must be submitted/postmarked by the deadline above to be considered. Prerequisites to the program include courses in science and calculus. For more information and to apply on-line, VISIT OUR WEBSITE, or contact Molly Williams, Admission Coordinator at the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, by phone (845) 758-7071 or email .

UNITAR Yale Conference

Please find enclosed the announcement  and Call for Papers for the  2nd UNITAR-Yale Global Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy: Strengthening Institutions to Address Climate Change and Advance a Green Economy, Yale University, 17-19 September 2010.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions at

Kind regards,

Amrei Horstbrink

Amrei Horstbrink

Environmental Governance Programme

United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)

Palais des Nations

1211 Geneva 10

2nd Yale/UNITAR Global Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy

Strengthening Institutions to Address Climate Change and
Advance a Green Economy

Yale University, 17-19 September 2010

Information Note and Call for Papers

The 2nd Yale/UNITAR Global Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy will take place at Yale University, New Haven, USA from 17-19 September 2010 in the margins of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal Summit, 20-22 September, New York. Focusing on the theme of Strengthening Institutions to Address Climate Change and Advance a Green Economy, the event will take stock of and examine the role of institutional structures and decision-making procedures in fostering (or impeding) low carbon and climate resilient development. Papers and discussions will cover various levels of governance (i.e. global, regional, transnational, national, sub-national, and local) as well as specialized governance topics, including governance of climate change science, financing and forestry. Anticipated outcomes of the conference include a research agenda and enhanced knowledge sharing to better understand the openness, transparency, accountability and effectiveness of institutions engaged in action to address climate change. Scholars and experts are invited to submit abstracts for proposed papers by 15 May 2010. Those wishing to attend as participants must express an interest by 15 June 2010. Information about the application process is available at

New edition of IEA newsletter related to Carbon Capture & Sequestration

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Greenhouse Gas Research and Development Program (IEAGHG) has released the 97th issue of its Greenhouse Issues newsletter, which announces a new IEAGHG website and contains a number of articles relating to carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS).The newsletter begins by outlining content updates to IEAGHG’s Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) database for CCS projects. The CCS theme is continued with a discussion of the still disputed role of CCS for climate change mitigation in light of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board’s analysis contained in its report on “Implications of the Inclusion of Geological Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage as CDM Project Activities.” Other pieces address, inter alia: new legal aspects of offshore CCS; recommendations and guidelines for CCS storage sites; and tensions between geothermal energy production and CCS.

Climate E-Diplomacy

Dear colleagues,
The e-diplomacy initiative has taken off very well. Its main objective is to explore how e-tools can make global policy both more inclusive and more effective; something we all know can be difficult, as evidenced in Copenhagen! At the online space you can find discussions on a wide variety of questions such as: Should diplomats blog? Can we negotiate effectively online? Does the Internet empower non-state actors in global diplomacy? Does the Internet challenge traditional diplomatic language and protocol?

Climate change, together with Internet governance, is a policy area of particular focus in the field of e-diplomacy. The initiative would benefit greatly from your comments and experience on climate change e-diplomacy. You can join online debates or attend one of the launch events in Brussels (14.4), Washington (26.4), New York (27.4), Geneva (4.5) and Vienna (25.5). You may also join us for the main conference event in Malta (3/4 June 2010).

The Initiative leaflet and poster for the first event in Brussels are enclosed.


Jovan Kurbalija


Brussels Launch of E-DIPLOMACY Initiative – 14 April 2010 (13.00)

You are invited to the launch of our e-diplomacy initiative to be held on 14 April 2010 (13.00 – 14.30) at the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union (25, Rue Archimede, 1000 Brussels).

The Internet is part of any diplomat’s daily routine: e-mail is used for communication; collaborative spaces are used for discussion; Wikipedia is used for finding information; and blogs are used for public diplomacy. Do we optimise our use of e-tools? Can e-tools help us to work smarter, not harder? What can we learn from each other? How can we manage the possible risks related to online communication?

These and other questions will be discussed as we hear from practitioners including Dr Jovan Kurbalija (Founding Director of DiploFoundation) and Stefano Baldi (Italian diplomat and a pioneer in the field of e-diplomacy). The Brussels launch is part of preliminary discussions leading up to the International Conference on E-diplomacy which will be held in Malta (3/4 June 2010). More information and details of these preliminary discussions on e-diplomacy can be found at the online space  The leaflet and poster are enclosed. Refreshments and sandwiches will be provided during the event.

Please let us know by email (
[email protected]) if you plan to attend the Brussels launch of the e-diplomacy initiative on 14 April 2010.