UNFCCC Audio Files on Joint Implementation

The UNFCCC secretariat has produced 12 audio files to help spread the word about the joint implementation.


The audio files explain in plain language which countries can participate, what are the Emission Reduction Units, what methodologies can be used, as well as which is the role of the UNFCCC secretariat, Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee, Designated Focal Points and Accredited Independent Entities.


They also provide further details about the project cycle and advice on what to do if you have an idea for a project. Please visit the link below:




These audio files are in the public domain. Their use, including embedding and reproduction, is highly encouraged

Observations on the Historic Climate Record

An excellent new student reading for the science section of climate courses is a piece in Science looking at observational evidence from Earth’s past to project potential warming over the course of this century and beyond, Kiehl, Lessons from the Past, 331 Science 158-59 (2011).

Among the key take-aways:

  1. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have reached 390ppmv;
  2. The study reconstructed atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide throughout history and concluded the following the last time that concentrations reached levels projected by the end of this century under business as usual projections (900-1100 ppmv) would produce the following results:
    • When carbon dioxide concentrations reached 1000ppmv 35 million years ago, tropical to subtropical sea surface temperatures were in the range of 35-40C, vs. present day temperatures of 30C, while sea surface temperatures at polar latitudes in the South Pacific were 20-25C vs. modern temperatures of 5C;
    • Net radiative forcing during this period was 6.5-10 Wm-2
    • Global annual mean temperature 35 million years ago was 31C vs. 15C during pre-industrial times. This indicates that the climate feedback factor (the ratio of change in surface temperature to radiative forcing) may be as much as 4x greater than predicted by climate models
  3. Reduction of carbon dioxide to lower levels of the recent past took tens of millions of years; by contrast, the burning of fossil fuels will return Earth to higher levels within centuries;
  4. Earth’s concentration of carbon dioxide is rapidly rising to levels not seen in 30-100 million years, with potentially very large amplification of warming via climatic feedbacks.


Climate Science Literacy Course

Dear colleagues,


Registration is now open for the next iteration of the course entitled “Climate Literacy: Navigating Climate Conversations”.  Please see below for further information, and follow the link to register.  This course is available for open enrolment, and is also part of the Decision Making for Climate Change certificate (collaboratively offered by the University of British Columbia, Northwestern University, University of California-Irvine, and the University of Washington).



Climate Literacy: Navigating Climate Conversations

Learn to converse about climate change with confidence and diplomacy by taking part in this online course which explores the basic terms and concepts needed to understand system relationships between atmosphere, ocean, land and life. Explore the science behind climate change, including the climate system, causes of global warming, climate modeling and climate forecasting. Analyze demographic, economic, technological and political factors, mitigation and adaptation strategies, and policy options. 30 hours.

Note: Course hours include text and video lectures, as well as online discussions. Readings, assignments and course projects are completed outside of course hours.

Hours: 30 hours over 10 weeks

Fees: $935

Upcoming Offerings: Summer 2011 & Winter 2012

Getting students to think about the role of science

The role of science in the formulation of law and policy is an interesting issue. One might think that it should be a straightforward one, but the reality is made more complex by human irrationality. On the Environmental Law Prof Blog, Lesley McAllister talks about how she gets students to think about these issues.