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Sustainability Science Requires the Freedom to Observe and Understand the Planet

Co-authored by Arthur Lerner-Lam, Alison Miller and Sean Solomon The scientific heart of Columbia University's Earth Institute is the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which has been engaged in observing and analyzing earth systems for over 65...

Posted July 14, 2014    

Competent Leaders Need to Understand the Science of Sustainability

In speaking about climate policy last week, President Obama chided senators who are trying to dodge the climate issue by claiming they were not scientists. The president went on to claim that he was not a scientist either, but that "I've got this...

Posted July 8, 2014    

The Culture of Environmentalism and Sustainability

People like to breathe. Rich people, poor people, Tea Party Republicans, progressive Democrats, old people, young people, Americans, people from other countries--all are united in the biological necessities of being human. Water, food and air are...

Posted July 1, 2014    

Individual Material Consumption, Guilt, and the Crisis in Global Sustainability

A key question as we make the long transition to a sustainable and renewable economy and culture is the role of individual responsibility and personal lifestyle. In the end, our individual behavior as "consumers" adds up to the crisis of...

Posted June 17, 2014    

Two Cheers for President Obama's Proposed Climate Regulation

Yesterday, under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, President Obama proposed regulations requiring significant reductions in greenhouse gases produced by each American state. Using 2005 as a baseline, states, on average, will be required to...

Posted June 3, 2014    

Understanding Environmental Policy

If we are to learn how to develop a renewable and sustainable economy, we also need to learn how to deal with the mistakes we've made while moving from an economy that tolerates environmental damage to one that does not. In addition to the positive...

Posted May 28, 2014    

Applying Brainpower to Address the Global Sustainability Crisis

The world faces an unprecedented global sustainability crisis. It is caused by climate change, the stress on the planet's ecosystems by developed economies, and the drive for economic growth in the developing world. While some choose to believe that...

Posted May 20, 2014    

A Small Victory in the 'War on Coal'

While the main action in reducing air pollution and greenhouse gasses must be to focus on developing renewable energy, the elimination of coal as a source of energy remains an important environmental and economic goal. Although it is incorrect to...

Posted May 8, 2014    

Sustainable Consumption and the Global Environmental Crisis

In a series of discussions on Earth Day, I found myself returning to two 1970s reports by the Club of Rome: The Limits to Growth and Mankind at the Turning Point. While those analyses were weak on policy design, they did a thorough job of describing...

Posted April 29, 2014    

Why a Climate Treaty or Carbon Tax Is Unlikely

The climate crisis is real and it requires an immediate and continuous response, but it is very unlikely that the response will be a treaty or a tax. For a long time I have been observing colleagues arguing that we must limit greenhouse gas...

Posted April 22, 2014    

Facing the Climate Crisis Without Hysteria

The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability," was released last week to the usual fanfare, hype and alarm. The New York Times headline summarized the report by...

Posted April 16, 2014