Climate Change: Dynamics, Drivers, and Decisions

Instructor: Dr. Tiff van Huysen

Fulfills requirement: Environmental Policy, Management, and Finance (EPMF)
Day: Monday
Dates: Sept. 11, 18, 25, Oct. 2, 9 (Module 1, 5 sessions)
Time: 6:10 – 8:10 PM
Room location: Schermerhorn Extension 652
Course ID: ENVB 0336 N
Call number: 92089

Course Description
New course!

Last year was a yet another record-breaker with changes in our global climate system reaching unprecedented highs and lows. In 2016, land, ocean, and atmosphere temperatures were the highest on record; global sea level rose to a record high; Antarctic sea ice extent was observed to be at a record low; and for the first time, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm). In addition to these record observations, other climate indicators such as precipitation, snow and ice cover, and ocean heat content demonstrated trends consistent with a rapidly changing climate system.

The impacts of climate change impact all three domains of sustainable development (environmental, social, economic), vary spatially and temporally, and differ across human and non-human populations. Deemed the greatest challenge that humanity faces, climate change poses an existential threat to our livelihoods and the rest of the biosphere. Yet, it is only by questioning how we exist in this world, how we live our lives, and how we relate to the resources we rely on that we can hope to address this challenge. This course will explore the physical science and drivers of climate change, mitigation and adaptation strategies, and policy frameworks intended to inform action on reducing the impacts of climate change. We will address questions such as: What is climate change? Why is the climate system changing? What are the consequences of a changing climate? How do we manage the risks of climate change? The underlying premise of this course is that human-induced climate change is real and observable; that is, climate change is happening and it is happening now.

About the Instructor

Dr. Tiff van Huysen has a PhD in ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry. She recently returned to school to pursue her interest in working at the interface of physical and social science, graduating from the MA Program in Climate and Society at Columbia University in 2016. Her academic endeavors at Columbia University built upon her background in the physical and biological sciences while integrating studies of sustainable development, human rights, gender equality, and conflict and peacebuilding within the context of climate change and natural resource management. Tiff has over ten years of experience teaching and conducting research in the fields of botany, forest ecology, and soil science. More recently, she has served as a guest lecturer and teaching assistant for the MA Program in Climate and Society and the Summer Ecosystem Experiences for Undergraduates (SEE-U) agroecology class at Columbia University. She has served as a consultant for the ClimaSouth project to conceptualize and design a Center of Excellence for Climate Change in Egypt and as a consultant for the CGIAR Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) program to explore the intersection of gender, agriculture, and the provision of climate services. She is currently serving as a guest editor for the journal Climate Risk Management and as the Outreach and Operations Coordinator for The Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES) Executive Education Program. Prior to returning to school to pursue her MA degree, Tiff worked for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service for four years managing an applied research program.