Climate Change Resources
by Sue Rosenthal on January 01, 2009
With increasing awareness and concern about climate change, the number of organizations and resources addressing this issue has increased dramatically over the past few years. The following resource list, then, is just the tip of the (melting) iceberg. And, no doubt, more relevant resources and websites will be coming on line in the near future. However, the following list (compiled in December 2008) provides an introduction to currently existing resources, and many of those listed below provide links to many others. The list is organized by geographic focus–local/statewide and national/global–and within each of those categories into websites/programs and publications/other media.
Local and Statewide
Websites and Programs
California Climate Change Portal
California’s official climate change website serves as a portal to information on the impacts of global warming in the state, related state policies, and climate research, as well as links to many groups that address climate change.
Climate Choices (California)
This section of the Union of Concerned Scientists website provides information about the impacts of climate change on California along with solutions and actions individuals can take to reduce their own impacts and influence policymakers.
Cool Schools Global Warming Campaign
Website sponsored by EarthTeam, a collaborative network connecting Bay Area teenagers, teachers and youth leaders with environmental, educational, and government organizations. Its website provides information and opportunities for students from different communities to take action against global warming by working together on joint projects as well as acting locally in community-based projects.
Flex Your Power
This partnership of California utilities, residents, businesses, institutions, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations administers a statewide campaign to encourage energy conservation in California. You can sign up there for an email newsletter to learn about new and ongoing efforts within the state to meet the climate change challenge.
A project of Kyoto USA (see below), HELiOS works to increase energy conservation and energy efficiency in public schools and install renewable energy systems (solar and wind) on every public school in Berkeley, CA.
Keck Hydrowatch Center
The Keck Hydrowatch Center is a multidisciplinary team of scientists from the physical and biological sciences working to understand the complete life cycle of water and apply this knowledge to predict some of the effects of global warming on water supply.
This all-volunteer, grassroots organization encourages US cities and their residents to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The website offers greenhouse gas reduction programs for both individuals and cities, with examples of projects in the city of Berkeley, CA.
Safe Routes to Schools
Safe Routes to Schools is a national model program that promotes walking and biking to school by offering training, technical assistance, and classroom lessons to local communities.
San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Climate Change Planning Project
The Bay Conservation and Development Commission website includes a climate change section with maps showing the impact of sea level rise on SF Bay shoreline areas as well as reports outlining strategies for addressing the effects of climate change on the bay.
San Francisco Community Power
This nonprofit organization is helping low income families and small businesses in the Bay Area reduce their greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions by performing free comprehensive environmental audits and offering low- and no-cost emission and pollutant reduction strategies.
Sierra Club Cool Cities Campaign
This campaign empowers residents and local leaders to join together and encourage their cities to implement smart energy solutions that save money and build a cleaner, safer future. The website provides profiles of participating cities, resources, and ways to get involved.
Solar Living Center
The Solar Living Center, headquartered in Hopland, CA, offers do-it-yourself solar photovoltaic system installation classes as well as resources for information on topics including alternative transportation, green careers, and renewable energy.
Sonoma County Climate Protection Campaign
Sonoma County’s Climate Protection Campaign is a wide-ranging public/private initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the county to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2015. The website includes links to ongoing projects, basic information about global warming, and more.
Sustainable Silicon Valley
This collaboration among business, government, and non-governmental organizations is developing and implementing a plan to improve the environment and conserve resources in the Silicon Valley. Its first focus is reducing CO2 emissions in the region.
Union of Concerned Scientists: Global Warming Information for California and the Western States
Focused mainly on California, this website created by the Union of Concerned Scientists outlines global warming impacts on the state as well as related legislation, proposed solutions, and recommended citizen actions. The site includes a 26-page downloadable high school curriculum guide (“Confronting Climate Change in California”).
Publications and Other Media
Cal Alive! Newsletter
In addition to a summary article on climate change and its projected impacts on the state’s flora and fauna, this issue of the newsletter from the California Institute for Biodiversity (Vol. 10, No. 2, Summer 2008) also includes a useful list of climate change resources for teachers.
Our Changing Climate: Assessing the Risks to California
This 2006 report issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists assesses the impacts of climate change on California’s public health, water resources, agriculture, forests, landscapes, and coastline.
Preparing California for a Changing Climate
The nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California has published this downloadable report on the state’s readiness for the inevitable effects of climate change. The report includes an assessment of the readiness of various state institutions as well as recommended actions to improve California’s ability to prepare for as well as adapt to climate change. The page includes links to other related PPIC reports and events.
Proceedings of the First Biennial Ocean Climate Summit
This document contains summaries of presentations from the April 29, 2008, Ocean Climate Summit sponsored by the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The summit addressed causes and impacts of climate change plus adaptation and mitigation strategies for protecting local coast and ocean ecosystems.
Sierra Climate Change Toolkit
This document produced by the Sierra Nevada Alliance explains the basic science of climate change; predicts how it will affect the planet, the country, the state, and the Sierra Nevada region; and offers recommendations for protecting the Sierra’s natural resources in the face of significant climate change.
This 11-minute KQED QUEST program video provides an introduction to the goals, methods, and researchers of the Keck Hydrowatch project (see above), which is designed to increase scientific knowledge about the water cycle and how it will be affected by global warming.
Wetlands Restoration and Projected Impacts from Climate Change (San Francisco Bay)
The San Francisco Bay Joint Venture has issued this document on climate change and wetlands ecosystems that projects the impacts of climate change on Bay Area wetland habitats and makes recommendations for planning and implementing wetland restoration efforts in light of these impacts.
National and Global
Websites and Programs
1Sky is a collaborative campaign involving a wide range of organizations, leaders, and citizens to demand federal action to reverse global warming by 2010. Its website proposes a platform of solutions and provides materials and information for local communities to join the campaign.
Alliance for Climate Protection
Founded by Al Gore, the Alliance for Climate Change works to persuade people of the importance, urgency, and feasibility of implementing effective solutions to the climate crisis and offers actions individuals can take.
An Inconvenient Truth: Take Action Page
The website for “An Inconvenient Truth” offers a personal CO2 emissions calculator and practical suggestions for reducing greenhouse gases, as well as links to local, national, and international programs that offer further solutions.
Climate Action Network
This worldwide network of over 400 non-governmental organizations works to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change. The website provides basic information about climate change and relevant international policy.
A comprehensive climate change and global warming portal sponsored by Ecological Internet, this website provides a searchable database of climate change information, published articles, and organizations.
This volunteer-created web portal offers resources for teaching and learning about climate change to teachers, parents, students, and kids.
Climate Change Kids Site
The US Environmental Protection Agency has created this website to explain climate change to kids in a fun and interactive way. The site includes animations, games, interactive learning tools, and discussions of many aspects of climate and climate change, as well as suggestions for what kids, their families, and their schools can do about it.
Climate Change News Digest
This UK-based site provides links to a large selection of published articles on climate change.
Climate Counts scores companies that make or sell consumer products on how they address climate change in their operations and business practices so consumers can use the rankings to inform their purchasing choices.
Climate Crisis Coalition
The Climate Crisis Coalition links issues of environmental, social, and economic equity to broaden the constituency of the climate action movement. Its website offers a daily news summary and blog, publicizes numerous local and national climate actions, backs sweeping legislative and policy initiatives on every level of government, and sponsors meetings, forums, and workshops on climate change and environmental equity.
Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth provides news and fact sheets on climate change and climate equity. Its website notes some proposed “solutions” to the climate crisis that would actually harm the environment, and suggests actions people can take to expose and oppose such false solutions.
Greenpeace offers basic information and news about climate change and about Greenpeace’s expeditions to document the impacts of climate change, its professional and policy negotiations with decision makers, and the ways people can support its work as volunteers and cyberactivists.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The IPCC is the officially-recognized international body that brings together climate scientists and policymakers from around the world to build broad consensus on the state of global warming. It provides an objective peer-reviewed international source of information about climate change, its observed and projected impacts (including socio-economic, and options for adaptation and mitigation.
Natural Resources Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council, which uses law, science, and the support of its members and online activists to protect the planet’s natural resources, has created a website that provides a wealth of information on all aspects of climate change and the steps individuals can take to work for solutions.
Pew Center on Global Climate Change
The Pew Center is a nonpartisan information source on global climate change for individuals, policy makers, and business leaders, and works to bring decision makers together to find solutions. Strong emphasis on policy and advocacy.
This commentary website on climate science is created by working climate scientists and provides access to developing stories as well as background information and context sometimes missing from mainstream commentary.
The Climate Project
Volunteers with the nonprofit Climate Project increase public awareness of the climate crisis at the grassroots level by presenting a version of Al Gore’s slide show on climate change. The website offers information on becoming a presenter as well as a schedule of local and worldwide presentations.
US Climate Change Science Program
The US Climate Change Science Program is sponsored by 13 US federal agencies to integrate federal research on climate and global change. The website presents news and research reports as well as an overall strategy for US government climate change research.
Woods Hole Research Center–The Warming of the Earth
The Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts seeks to understand the causes and consequences of environmental change as a basis for policy solutions. In addition to information about the center’s scientific work, its website offers a clearly written and thorough beginner’s guide to the issue of global warming.
Union of Concerned Scientists
This website presents global warming science, impacts, and solutions for the general reader. Regional information is available for various parts of the US and the world, including California (see “Union of Concerned Scientists: Global Warming Information for California and the Western States,” above).
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The UNFCCC is a treaty that sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. It has been ratified by 192 countries. This website contains introductory and in-depth publications, the official UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol texts, and a search engine for the UNFCCC library.
US Environmental Protection Agency Climate Change Website
This website provides comprehensive information on the issue of climate change in a manner that is accessible and meaningful to all parts of society–communities, individuals, businesses, states and localities, and governments.
US Environmental Protection Agency Glossary of Climate Change Terms
Within the US EPA’s climate change website is a useful and easily understandable glossary of key global warming terms from “aerosol” to “weather.”
US Geological Society Climate Change Science
The USGS Climate Change Science website provides thorough but lay person-friendly descriptions of the many aspects of its research program along with fact sheets and FAQ pages.
World Wildlife Fund–Climate Change
This website offers news, research information, strategies, and suggested actions for reducing the impacts of climate change, which include the World Wildlife Fund’s partnerships with governments, communities, and businesses around the world.
A Hot Planet Needs Cool Kids: Understanding Climate Change and What You Can Do About It
by Julie Hall, Green Goat Books, 2007
A book for children (ages 4-8) about the causes and effects of climate change, how people are working to reduce it, and ways kids and their families and schools can join the fight.
An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It
by Al Gore, Rodale Books, 2006; Viking Juvenile 2007
This book and film, based on Al Gore’s series of multimedia presentations on global warming, grabbed the country’s attention in 2006 with leading-edge research from top scientists around the world; photographs, charts, and other illustrations; and personal anecdotes and observations to document the fast pace and wide scope of global warming. The book is also available as an audio download and a youth-focused book adapted for ages 9-12.
Climate Change and Biodiversity
Edited by Thomas E. Lovejoy and Lee Hannah, Yale University Press, 2006
This is a collection of essays by leading researchers explaining what is known about the effects of climate change on the natural world, including ways that particular organisms are responding to climate change and challenges for conservation.
Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming–The illustrated guide to the findings of the IPCC
by Michael Mann and Lee Kump, DK Publishing, 2008
In this book for the lay reader, the authors present, in an accessible, illustrated format, the essential facts and figures documented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change over the past 20 years.
Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
by Elizabeth Kolbert, Bloomsbury USA, 2006
Developed from a three-part series of articles for the New Yorker, this books explains in clear language the science, studies, and politics of climate change; its parallels to lost ancient civilizations; and the personal tales of those who are being affected the most.
Fight Global Warming Now: The Handbook for Taking Action in Your Community
by Bill McKibben, Holt Paperbacks, 2007
Bill McKibben, who has been writing about climate change for nearly 20 years, provides a wealth of information on global warming plus strategies and tools for building the movement against climate change through grassroots campaigns, persuasive political pressure, high-profile events, and other effective actions.
Fixing Climate: What Past Climate Changes Reveal About the Current Threat — and How to Counter It
by Wallace S. Broecker and Robert Kunzig, Hill and Wang, 2008
A scientific memoir and history of the study of climate change, this book makes the case that climate change is no longer preventable but requires new technologies directed not only at the reduction of carbon dioxide output but also at its harmless disposal.
The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth
by Tim Flannery, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006
This accessible and comprehensive book explains the history of climate change, how it will unfold over the next century, and what we can do to prevent a cataclysmic future.