Conferences - Center for Climate and Life

The Center for Climate and Life supports two major conferences each year, the Columbia Climate and Life Conference and the Columbia Roundtable for Global Climate, Business, and Finance. We also host and support scientific meetings and conferences on a range of climate topics.

Columbia Climate and Life Conference Series

The Columbia Climate and Life Conference Series gathers leading international scientists to present new research on themes central to our mission of understanding how climate influences the security of food, water, shelter, and the development of sustainable energy solutions. These conferences present current and advanced research to understand how climate is changing, or has changed, life-sustaining components of the Earth system. Researchers propose conference themes to the Advisory Board, and successful proposals are funded to support a one- to two-day conference.

Columbia Roundtable for Global Climate, Business, and Finance

The Columbia Roundtable for Global Climate, Business, and Finance brings together leading climate scientists, engineers, social scientists, and leaders in international business and finance to translate scientific knowledge into action. The objective of this invitation-only conference is to build communication channels and understanding between these communities and to present stakeholders with the most current state of knowledge in climate change science and solutions.

Past Events

Climate Science and Investment Conference: The Energy Transition — May 10, 2019

The third annual “Climate Science and Investment Conference” examined two interrelated business trends that are of interest to the investment community, and the relationship to climate change. How will the global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy impact the power sector’s generation of electricity? How will the transition from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles affect the transportation sector? And, most importantly, will these two business transitions be large enough or rapid enough to change the trajectory of emissions to avoid the most dramatic impacts of climate change?

Global Food System Vulnerabilities Relevant to U.S. Institutions in a Changing Climate — January 31, 2019
Conference attendees developed a strategy that will guide specific next steps, identify and address notable gaps, and forge the necessary collaborations to address concerns on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, DARPA, and NASA related to the emergent vulnerabilities of the global food system, which are rooted in complex interactions between food production, logistics, trade agreements, geopolitics, and economics in a world with a changing climate. The event was co-organized by Michael Puma, a Center for Climate and Life Fellow, and funded by the Center.

Air Pollution Extremes Workshop — November 1-2, 2018
This workshop, hosted by the Columbia University Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate, brought together an international group of observation-based research, modeling, lab, and policy experts to discuss the state of the knowledge on extreme air pollution events. Topics of discussion included observations and modeling of extreme air pollution events; forecasting pollution events; and the science, policy, and health nexus.

Climate Science and Investment Conference — May 4, 2018
How can advances in climate science research be used to reduce investment risk and improve returns? What is the most current and useful research on ice sheet and sea level rise trends, and what are the near-term implications for coastal properties? This conference focused on how these trends affect returns, creating both risks and opportunities for investors and business leaders.

Conference on Fire Prediction Across Scales — October 23-25, 2017 
Realistic models of fire activity and behavior are necessary for effective fire management, and to understand past and future changes in fire activity. Developing such models, however, requires taking into account vegetation cover, land use practices, fire management capacity, extreme weather events, and climate variability. To help foster knowledge exchange among the diverse fields of expertise involved in fire prediction, the Columbia University Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate, with support from the Center for Climate and Life, hosted a 2.5-day conference, organized around the themes of “fire prediction” and “fire management and impacts.” The event was co-organized by Center for Climate and Life Fellow Park Williams. At the meeting, scientists pinpointed areas where advances in fire prediction can be made within the next decade. Learn more about the outcomes in our meeting summary.

The Near-term Impacts of Climate Change on InvestorsMay 2, 2017 
This forum—a joint effort by the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatorybrought together climate scientists and business leaders to understand how new advances in climate science can inform investments in specific sectors of the global economy. The conference explored topics that address the value and opportunity of using a science-based approach to inform and guide business decisions.