The Social Costs of Climate Change

From Professor Michael Wara at Stanford Law School:

For those who like to teach with visual aids, check out this figure prepared by Nicole Heller of Climate Central and Douglas Fisher of DailyClimate.  It synthesizes the existing literature on the social costs of climate change and puts all estimates in a common framework.  Also interesting is the figure that plots estimates in the literature as a function of time.  To get to this, click on the “click to interact” button in the window.

Brown Summer Climate Institute

Dear Colleagues,

Brown University and Santander Universities are again sponsoring a two-week summer institute on developing the climate change science of the future, targeted at early career academics in the Global South.  Applications are being accepted and are due by February 11th.  Please apply yourself or encourage your colleagues to apply.  A longer description of the Institute is below, and a brochure describing all of the Brown International Advanced Research Insitutes (BIARI) is attached.  Apply online at:

If you have questions about this Institute, please email them to co-conveners or .


Leah K. VanWey, Associate Professor of Sociology, Brown University

James Russell, Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences, Brown University

Climate Change and its Impacts: Water in a Changing Climate

Climate change will have myriad impacts on human and natural systems around the globe. This Institute will discuss the scientific study of climate change and its impacts through a consideration of water. We will focus on changes in the amount and variability of precipitation that will occur globally in coming decades, and how these will combine with human population growth, income growth, and institutional change to affect the balance between supply of and demand for water. This Institute is founded on the premise that the necessary expertise to study these problems exists within physical scientists, social scientists and policymakers from the Global South. Our role at BIARI is as facilitators. We provide not training in tools like Geographic Information Systems or Climate Models, but instead training in pursuing interdisciplinary comparative research and facilitation to develop collaborations among participants. We therefore expect participants to apply with a current project that they can present as an example of their work, and with openness to starting new interdisciplinary collaborative projects.

Faculty from Brown and around the world will present cutting edge research and ideas for future research directions, but the Institute will balance these lectures presented by faculty experts with discussions of their work and the work of participants. We will organize discussions around how we can think in an interdisciplinary way, grounded in a specific cultural, political and economic reality, about future changes to the supply of and demand for water, and the consequences of the changing balance between supply and demand. We expect major themes to include regional changes to precipitation and the hydrologic cycle; institutional structures governing water; changes in human demography and health related to changing water supply and demand; current and potential agricultural land use and productivity; and feedbacks between clean energy policies and water supply. These will be explored through the presentation of case studies and detailed research on specific regions of the world. Case studies allow us to look past our own experiences to see how the changing nature of agriculture may be the largest phenomenon in one part of the world while increases in vector-borne diseases may be the largest in another and potable water scarcity may be the largest in a third. Participants are expected to complement the presentations of faculty with their own expertise, and are encouraged to use Brown’s extensive library facilities to explore topics of interest before returning to their home institutions.

BIARI provides the future opportunity to apply for funding as networks of BIARI alumni. In addition, this Institute will provide a small seed grant of $5,000 at the end of the Institute to the team of participants presenting the best proposal for developing an interdisciplinary research activity.

Heather Randell
Graduate Student
Department of Sociology
Brown University
Box 1916
Providence, RI 02912

Overview of geoengineering options

Instructors looking for a good overview of climate geoengineering options should consider David W. Keith’s chapter in Climate Change Science & Policy (Schneider, et al., eds. 2010) (Chapter 49, Engineering the Planet).

Among the key take-aways from the chapter are the following:

  1. Geoengineering is “intentional, large-scale manipulation of the environment.” Environmental change must be the goal rather than a side effect, and intent and effect of manipulation must be large in scale;
  2. Two primary geoengineering methods are adding aerosols to the atmosphere and construction of giant shields in space to scatter sunlight.
    • While sulfur injection geoengineering would mimic impacts of other anthropogenic activities, e.g. coal combustion, a key distinction is that this intervention would be intentional, opening “a new chapter in humanity’s relationship with the Earth;”
    • The Presidential Science Advisory Committee report submitted to President Johnson was not only the first major government policy document to draw attention to potential impact of carbon dioxide emissions on climate, but that it also offered only one potential response, which was dispersing reflective particles in the atmosphere;
    • Sulfur injection schemes would cost roughly a fact0r of ten less than mitigation options to address climate change. Such options could be in the reach of rich individuals or foundations;
    • While some studies indicate that sulfur injection could adversely impact the ozone layer, the use of absorbing aerosols could offset some or all of these effects
    • Space-based sunshields would have fewer and more predictable side effects than aerosol injection
    • Just as safer cars may encourage more aggressive driving, geoengineering options could reduce incentive to cut emissions. However, geoengineering might be necessary if aggressive mitigation strategies prove to be insufficient, e.g. if climate’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide proves greater than projected or our mitigation measures still fail to prevent rapid deglaciation and substantial sea level rise. Geoengineering shouldn’t be viewed as a substitute for mitigation, because to do so would require an ever growing scale of technological compensation to offset growing carbon dioxide measures. Geoengineering could be used in conjunction with mitigation to reduce risks of climate change during the period of peak carbon dioxide concentrations;
  3. It’s misleading to argue that we shouldn’t pursue geoengineering options because of the impossibility of predicting systemic responses. Should concentrations of greenhouse gases rise to 600ppm, it’s unreasonable to argue that the risks of 600ppm along would be larger than the risks of 600ppm and deployment of a geoengineering scheme.

Oxford Post-Doc in Geoengineering


Oxford Geoengineering Programme
Oxford Martin School
University Of Oxford

Protocol reference number: HUM/10033F/E

Grade 8:  £36,715 – £43,840 per annum at 1 October 2010

Fixed-term for two years from date of appointment.

Applications are invited for a full-time Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Ethics and Geoengineering Governance to work on a project in the newly formed Oxford Geoengineering Programme (OGP). The post will be jointly hosted by the Institute for Science and Ethics (ISE)  (part of the Faculty of Philosophy) and the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS) (part of the Saïd Business School), both of which are part of the Oxford Martin School.

The Research Fellow will conduct research on the ethical, legal and governance implications of advances in geoengineering and will be expected to publish original, high-quality research.  In addition to research responsibilities the postholder will be expected to contribute to the project in other ways, which may include, for example, involvement in conference or other event organisation and engaging in collaborations with external researchers.

The fellowship is for two years from the date of appointment and the postholder will be a Research Fellow of both ISE and InSIS. ISE is based at Littlegate House, central Oxford and InSIS is based at the Saïd Business School nearby.

Candidates should have a strong academic background in one or more of the following: (1) Philosophy; (2) Politics and International Relations; (3) Environmental Sociology; (4) Political Anthropology; (4) Law; (5) Science and Technology Studies.  By the date of appointment, candidates should have received (or submitted their thesis for) the degree of PhD (or equivalent).

Further particulars: FPs including details of the application procedure are available here or from the following websites:

or directly from Deborah Sheehan, ISE, Suite 8, Littlegate House, 16-17 St Ebbes St., Oxford OX1 1PT.
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 286888  |  Email: 

Deadline:  The deadline for receipt of applications is:  Noon (GMT) on Monday 14 February 2011

GMU Center Postdoctoral Research Fellow Opportunity

The George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) ( invites applications for a full-time Postdoctoral Research Fellow to contribute to our ongoing Climate Change in the American Mind research program (conducted in collaboration with the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication).  The program involves survey research (including nationally representative surveys, community surveys, membership organization surveys, etc.), message experiments, in-depth interviews, and audience segmentation research.  The post-doc may also get involved in other research and programmatic activity at 4C including collaborations with the public health/health care community, TV weathercasters, and communities that are planning climate change adaptation initiatives.

Candidates must have a PhD in a relevant social science discipline, and a track record of published journal articles and/or conference papers on relevant topics of inquiry including communication (climate change, science, environment, public health, and/or political communication), behavior change, applied psychology, political science, the built environment, social-ecological models, and/or informal science education. Proficiency in survey research and quantitative data management and analysis is also a requirement. Experience with qualitative data collection, strategic (program) planning, professional development, and climate science are preferred, as are excellent organizational skills, ability to communicate verbally and in writing, and the ability to adapt to the changing demands of a dynamic research environment.

The position begins as soon as February 15th and no later than April 1st, 2011. Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications. The position will initially be for one year, with renewal for a second year given satisfactory performance and available funds. Members of under-represented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

For full consideration, interested and qualified applicants must submit the online faculty application at for position #F9452z. Applications should include (a) cover letter including a statement of research interests and career goals, and names and contact information of two professional references, and (b) a vita.

Inquires about the position can be sent to .

Answering the Skeptics

From David Hodas’s Climate Change Law blog:

For those of you interested in learning about the details and merits of the various arguments skeptics have raised about climate change science should read the whitepaper commissioned by DB Climate Change Advisors, Climate Change: Addressing the  Major Skeptic Arguments (September 2010). It was written by Mary-Elana Carr and others from Columbia University Earth Institute Climate Center and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Course: Climate Change Diplomacy

Dear Colleagues,

An e-learning course on Climate Change Diplomacy has been developed by the Multilateral Diplomacy Programme (MDP) of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). The course aims to provide the training necessary for participation in multilateral negotiations, public sector work, and diplomatic engagement in relation to climate change through an enhanced understanding of its science, international policy framework, and the key negotiation issues pertinent to reaching a post-2012 agreement.

The course will run from February 21st until April 15th, 2011.

The course content will include the following one-week modules:

1.              Understanding Climate Change and Global Vulnerabilities

2.              Introduction to Climate Change Diplomacy

3.              Implementation, Compliance and Enforcement of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol

4.              Mitigating Climate Change

5.              Adapting to Climate Change

6.              International Considerations for Climate Change Decision Making

7.              Other Important Considerations for International Climate Change Negotiations

8.              Towards a Post-2012 Agreement

More information can be found online at

Registration for the course is now open.  Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Please do not hesitate to contact Miss Emily Fraser () should you require any further details/information regarding the course (further contact details are as below).

With kind regards,

Emily Fraser
Ms. Emily Fraser

Multilateral Diplomacy Programme
United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
Palais des Nations
1211 Genève 10
T: +41(0)22-917 8810
E: [email protected]

Short course in climate resilience: UNU


Spring 2011 Postgraduate Courses on

Building Resilience to Climate Change

28 February – 25 March 2011

Tokyo, Japan


DEADLINE: 21 January 2011


The United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP), Tokyo, invites applications for the new intensive 4-week postgraduate programme on  “Building Resilience to Climate Change” developed under the framework of the University Network for Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation Research (UN-CECAR).

The new courses, conducted at UNU-ISP, cover a range of issues on sustainability and adaptation to climate and ecosystems change. Topics include:

  • climate and atmospheric science,
  • impacts assessment,
  • climate and society,
  • ecosystems resilience,
  • risk and uncertainty,
  • integrated solutions for mitigation and adaptation,
  • community-based adaptation strategies.

Students also will receive practical training in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing software.


A limited number of fellowships (covering tuition fees and living expenses) are available for outstanding students from developing countries and who can demonstrate a need for financial assistance. All students are expected to pay for their own travel expenses to and from Tokyo.


The programme is open to Master’s and Ph.D students who are currently enrolled in a university postgraduate programme and who have already identified their thesis topic prior to arriving in Japan.

Applicants must provide:

  • a completed Application & Fellowship Form with photo and signature;
  • proof of enrolment in a master’s or Ph.D. degree programme;
  • original transcript of academic record;
  • a detailed proposal of their research topic, and explain how it will link their current university thesis topic to that of climate change;
  • TOEFL scores or equivalent proof of English-language proficiency for non-native speakers or those who do not have an academic degree in an English-speaking country; and
  • minimum of two references; one from their supervisor and one from another faculty member.

For detailed information on the application and admission procedures, and to download the application form, please visit the UNU-ISP website at:

Alva Lim (Ms.)

Researcher, and

Project Assistant for UN-CECAR

United Nations University

Institute for Sustainability and Peace (ISP)

Tel: +81-3-5467-1213

Fax: +81-3-3499-2828

IUCN Climate Syllabi Bank

For those of you teaching courses this semester with climate change law and policy components, I’d like to remind you about the IUCN’s Academy of Environmental Law syllabus bank, developed by myself and Don Anton at ANU:

If any of you haven’t submitted your syllabi for posting and are amenable to doing so, please send them to my attention.

Thanks, wil

Dr. Wil Burns, Editor-in-Chief

Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy

2875 Shasta Road

Berkeley, CA 94708 USA

Ph:   650.281.9126

Fax: 510.473.3731

Journal home page:

SSRN site (selected publications):

Skype ID: Wil.Burns

Climate Change Online Courses

CSDi is announcing the January launch of a module of four online field courses on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change. These courses begin by introducing basic climate change concepts, and develop as participants identify local community vulnerabilities, investigate appropriate solutions, develop full projects, launch and manage them.

Complete information and course syllabi:

Online course participants are using our courses to develop real, on-the-ground projects with real communities – both individually and through North/South student partnerships. People from 84 different countries and 150 organizations used CSDi online courses to develop projects in 2010 impacting 70.000 people.


OL 341. Adapting to Climate Change: Designing & Funding Community-Based Adaptation Projects.

January 11 – March 7, 2011.

Gain an insight into contemporary methods of developing community-based, sustainable, impact-oriented projects. Gain practical field tools and develop a range of skills: facilitating participatory needs assessments, designing projects, and evidence-based activities. Develop a real project in real time.

OL 342. Adapting to Climate Change: Planning for Impact.

March 15 – May 2, 2011.

Imbed impact into your adaptation project design with a powerful set of management tools. LogFrames, detailed budgets, timelines, compelling fact sheets, M&E plans, outcomes and impact. These tools will communicate to donors and stakeholders exactly what you are trying to accomplish and can be used for effective management of the project once funded.

OL 343. Adapting to Climate Change: The Community Focus.

May 10 – June 20, 2011.

What does climate change adaptation mean at the community level? What practical tools are available today for communities to use in adaptation? Conduct a baseline survey. For practitioners who wish to begin working now at the community level to successfully adapt to the challenges that face us.

OL 344. Adapting to Climate Change: Sustainable Implementation.

July 12 – August 22, 2011.

How do you launch and implement a community-centered adaptation project? The importance of community engagement. Developing skill sets for your community to use in the adaptation process. Learning tools: monitoring & evaluation. Community empowerment during project hand-over. Sustainability, follow-up & mentoring.

Be sure to visit the adaptation working group at CSDi’s Development Community. Join colleagues in sharing resources & collaborating online:

Questions? Please contact: