Our Mission

The Center for Climate and Life empowers the most innovative thinkers to generate new knowledge to understand how climate change impacts life’s essential resources — food, water, and shelter — and to develop sustainable energy solutions.

KNOWLEDGE FOR A CHANGING PLANET — AN URGENT NEED

All living organisms have a symbiotic relationship with the natural world. The very existence of life depends on the physical and chemical properties of our exceptional planet.

Throughout Earth’s history, natural climate changes have shaped the course of evolution, embedding their signatures on all life. Today, those changes are happening much faster than natural variability can account for. Human activities, led by the way we burn fossil fuels and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, are driving global changes.

Our oceans and climate are changing faster than our ability to understand the effects and implications for global ecosystems and human populations. With a global population that has surpassed 7 billion people, we must ask how the web of life, and the resources upon which we all depend, will fare on this rapidly changing planet.

How will the biological and physical systems that sustain us respond to climate change in the years ahead? How will ecosystems respond? Will ocean life adapt? Which crops will wither, and which will flourish? How will water resources be affected? How quickly will changes occur, and where will they occur? Will Earth in the coming centuries be anything like the home planet we now cherish, the global home we pass on to our children and grandchildren?

Reliable access to food, water, and shelter is essential for human life. Our planet’s predicament creates an urgent need for actionable knowledge of climate impacts on these essentials, and for viable resource and carbon management solutions.

WHO WE ARE

The coming decades will present exceptional challenges that require exceptional knowledge. The Center for Climate and Life mobilizes teams of expert talent drawn from a cohort of over 120 climate and life scientists who conduct research at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth ObservatoryInternational Research Institute for Climate and Society, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Agriculture and Food Security Center. Their research accelerates the vital knowledge needed to understand how climate affects our security of food, water, shelter, and energy. Using this knowledge, we partner with academic, industry, finance, and government leaders to build a more resilient and sustainable future.

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