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ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Fostering Collaboration to Train the Next Generation of Climate Leaders

From clean energy solutions to greener, more livable cities, SIPA is committed to fostering the knowledge, policy, and entrepreneurial innovations to improve the sustainability of the planet we all share. Since 2013, the School’s substantial expertise and degree programs in areas such as sustainability, energy, and the environment have grown to meet the existential threat of climate change.

Interdisciplinary Solutions to Tackle the Climate Crisis

Through new research centers, new faculty, and other initiatives, Dean Janow has built on SIPA’s history of excellence in energy and environmental policy and related areas.

SIPA’s interdisciplinary research centers serve as hubs of study and innovation, generating new knowledge and convening prominent academics, policy makers, business leaders, and other experts to help translate knowledge into action.

Founded in 2013, the Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) enables public and private sector leaders to make more informed choices about the world’s most pressing energy issues. Under the leadership of Founding Director Jason Bordoff, the Center leverages the expertise of senior energy experts from government, academia, industry, and non-governmental organizations to produce accessible, best-in-class research. The result is robust, actionable analysis disseminated across traditional and new media, public events, conferences, and private roundtables, leveraging Columbia’s exceptional thought leadership and global reach. CGEP trains the next generation of energy policy and market leaders on the key factors influencing the global energy system, providing opportunities and mentorship through programs like the Energy Journalism and Women in Energy Initiatives.

The Center on Environmental Economics (CEEP) was established in 2019 to conduct original research into the causes of environmental change, the consequences of this change for humanity, and the policies that can prevent and — where possible — reverse harmful environmental change and ensure sustainable development. CEEP’s goal is to share this knowledge with policy makers, fellow researchers, students, and concerned citizens worldwide. A defining feature of the Center’s research is the integration of analytic approaches from economics with the natural sciences and engineering. Its co-directors are Professor Wolfram Schlenker and Professor Douglas Almond.

 

The Center for Development Economics and Policy (CDEP) was founded in 2013 to support microeconomic research that investigates the sources of poverty and proposes practical interventions to address them. Led by Professor Eric Verhoogen and Professor Cristian (Kiki) Pop-Eleches, the Center focuses on three core initiatives — the Human Capital Initiative, the Firms and Innovation Initiative, and the Politics, Institutions, and Conflict Initiative. It hosts seminars and workshops, funds student research, and provides an intellectual home for students and researchers who are interested in development economics and policy.

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Center on Global Energy Policy Director Jason Bordoff pictured with the Energy Journalism Initiative.

The Future of the Climate Fight — Cross-Campus Collaboration

When the University inaugurated the new Columbia Climate School to meet the global and multifaceted challenges of climate change, officials envisioned that it would draw on resources across the University. SIPA’s long record of leadership and expertise in climate-related aspects of both economic and foreign policy will be indispensable to the new school’s efforts and its future success. We see one such example from the start: Jason Bordoff of CGEP is one of the new school's leaders.

Cutting Edge Scholarship on Environmental Issues

The PhD in Sustainable Development prepares scholars to investigate and address some of the most important policy challenges concerning the future of our planet. Together with experts and faculty at Columbia, students conduct research in a wide variety of areas, including climate change and its social consequences, causes and solutions to extreme poverty, energy systems, agricultural transitions, water resources, and more.

At the end of 2021, the program enrolled 33 talented young scholars, and counts 59 graduates since it began in 2004. PhD alumni are a diverse and motivated bunch, teaching at prestigious institutions including the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley, and working in high-level positions at organizations like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other NGOs and public and private organizations.

Jeffrey Shrader, an environmental and labor economist whose research focuses on how individuals prepare for changing environmental and economic conditions, joined SIPA in fall 2018. His work also examines the benefits and limitations of policy interventions and sheds light on the total economic costs of environmental changes.

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SIPA is unique in that we’re willing to learn by teaching. We see an interesting problem in the world and say, ‘Let’s teach a course on that,’ instead of waiting for it to be solved first. There’s a desire to be on top of things here, and SIPA brings in the expertise to understand if there’s a physical phenomenon to be understood as part of a social phenomenon.

John Mutter
PROFESSOR OF EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES AND OF INTERNATIONAL AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS; DIRECTOR OF SIPA’S PHD IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT