News Archive

posted 05/09/07

Researchers From Around the World Converge on New York to Link Climate Change Science with Urban Policymaking Efforts
Urban Climate Change Research Network to be officially launched at May 10-11 Conference

As cities around the world confront the urgent challenge of climate change, there is growing recognition that effective mitigation and adaptation policies must rely on sound scientific research and data. In an effort to facilitate and build the connections between science and policy, experts from academic and research institutions around the world have formed the Urban Climate Change Research Network, which will be officially launched at an international symposium held on May 10-11 at Columbia University.

The Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) is a consortium of institutions and individuals that pursue the analysis of climate change and energy issues from an urban perspective. UCCRN’s primary objective is to create open discourse and information exchange among researchers and decision makers on cutting-edge scientific, economic, and planning-related research. Its objectives include developing effective interactions between the research community and other stakeholders, in order to ensure that policies reflect the latest and best data. It also hopes to raise the level of knowledge and the degree of “urban focus” by different tiers of government, transnational organizations, the private sector, and media and advocacy groups.

UCCRN co-founder Stephen Hammer believes the research community has a significant role to play in developing effective urban climate change strategies. “Our understanding of climate change will continue to evolve as researchers focus more intensively on this complex issue,” said Dr. Hammer, who is director of the Urban Energy Project at Columbia University’s Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy (CEMTPP). “As our knowledge expands, it is critical that local decision makers work closely with researchers who bring substantial expertise in economics, health, energy system modeling, resource management, and many other disciplines to the policy table.”

In addition to contributing to policy development, UCCRN also promotes the role that researchers can play in assessing how well local policies and programs are meeting their intended goals, and in identifying new opportunities for action. “Cities hold a large percentage of the world’s population, and contribute substantially to climate change,” said Cynthia Rosenzweig, UCCRN co-founder and Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “At a time when more and more cities are committing themselves to addressing climate change, applying research on urban climate change impacts to affect local strategies has never been more important.”

The Urban Climate Change Resource Network will be launched at the May 10-11 UCCRN Symposium at Columbia University. This international gathering of more than 100 researchers, policy makers and civil society leaders inaugurates an ongoing, biennial series where researchers and decision makers will discuss the challenges and opportunities in urban climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The May 10-11 UCCRN Symposium precedes the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit to be hosted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in midtown Manhattan the following week. At that meeting, mayors from around the world will convene to discuss climate change issues and their impact on cities. The May 10-11 UCCRN Symposium will emphasize the researcher’s perspective on many of the same issues to be discussed at the mayor’s summit, including climate risk management; local energy policymaking; urban energy and greenhouse gas flows; infrastructure risks in coastal cities; transportation systems and land use planning; and urban heat islands.

Co-sponsors of the symposium include: Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy, Columbia University; The Earth Institute at Columbia University; The Institute for Sustainable Cities, the City University of New York; University Transportation Research Center, the City University of New York; Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems, New York University; Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Columbia University; Urban Design Lab, Columbia University; Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Columbia University; Center for Sustainable Urban Development, Columbia University; and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy
The Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy at Columbia University pursues excellence in the teaching and study of economic, business, commercial, political, environmental, and technological factors that affect the global production, transportation and consumption of energy. The Center sponsors a unique and robust graduate curriculum in International Energy Management and Policy in Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.  Building on this academic foundation, and in cooperation with centers of excellence worldwide, the Center is developing a pacesetting research program in Urban Energy, Marine Transportation and other essential aspects of the global energy system.  The Center also sponsors presentations, panel discussions and other public forums featuring leading businesspeople and policymakers in energy and marine transportation.

Institute for Sustainable Cities
The CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities seeks to create awareness and understanding of the connections between the everyday lives of urban citizens and their natural world, leading to the discovery and use of cities like New York as a learning laboratory to create a sustainable future for cities worldwide. The core projects of the Institute, focusing on climate change and energy use, consumption of resources, and cities by the coast, hone in on central issues of societal concern. The Institute brings together scientists, researchers, educators and students at the forefront of study in these areas to create cutting edge primary research for publication, presentation, and teaching use.

The Goddard Institute for Space Studies
The Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) is a component laboratory of the Goddard Space Flight Center's Earth Sciences Division, and is part of its Sciences and Exploration Directorate. Current research emphasizes a broad study of Global Change, which is an interdisciplinary initiative addressing natural and man-made changes in our environment that occur on various time scales and affect the habitability of our planet. Program areas at GISS may be roughly divided into the categories of climate forcings, climate impacts, model development, Earth observations, planetary atmospheres, paleoclimate, radiation, atmospheric chemistry, and astrophysics and other disciplines. A key objective of GISS research is prediction of atmospheric and climate changes in the 21st century.

About The Earth Institute
The Earth Institute at Columbia University is the world's leading academic center for the integrated study of Earth, its environment and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core disciplines — earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences and health sciences — and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through research, training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world's poor. For more information, visit www.earth.columbia.edu.