The drivers and effects of global climate change are interconnected. They cross physical, ecological, economic, political and ethical boundaries. Advancing solutions requires similar connectivity. The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment supports research that cuts across disciplines and sectors to assess the impact of climate disruption on people and planet. This work spans most Woods centers and programs. It focuses on water supplies, agricultural production, biodiversity, ecosystem health, built infrastructure and economies. Stanford researchers from all seven schools on campus are joining forces to analyze climate risks, reduce vulnerabilities and help people mitigate and adapt to the effects of global warming.


Informing Climate Progress

Stanford scholars witnessed history being made in Paris last December when 196 countries forged an agreement to combat climate change by limiting the rise in global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. University leaders issued a formal statement ahead of the accord. For decades, Stanford researchers have informed global understanding of climate risk and adaptation, including major contributions to reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Stanford researchers at the event summarized the discussions in Paris and reflected on the challenges to come. Read more.

Investigating the ‘Hiatus’

The purported hiatus of global warming – the idea that warming "stalled" or "paused" between 1998 and 2013 – never occurred and was actually an misapprehension caused by faulty statistical methods, according to an investigation by scholars with the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth). Read more.

Tracking Carbon Emissions

The rapid increase in fossil fuel-related global carbon dioxide emissions has slowed over the past two years with China’s decreasing coal usage being largely responsible for the decline, according to a report from The Global Climate Project led by Michelle and Kevin Douglas Provostial Professor Robert Jackson (Stanford Earth). In the U.S., gas pipeline replacement programs – which address invisible gas leaks from aging or damaged pipelines – cut natural gas emissions by 90 percent as evidenced in another paper co-authored by Jackson, a Woods Senior Fellow. Read more.

Decoding California’s Climate

By examining atmospheric patterns that have occurred during California's historical precipitation and temperature extremes, researchers discovered that atmospheric patterns associated with droughts in California have occurred more frequently in recent decades. A persistent blocking ridge, a region of high atmospheric pressure that disrupts typical wind patterns in the atmosphere, is diverting winter storms northward and preventing them from reaching California during the state's drought, according to a study led by Woods Senior Fellow Noah Diffenbaugh (Stanford Earth). Members of the research team also predicted that despite an unusually strong El Nino this year, it would not be enough to end California’s worst drought on record. Read more and watch video.

Forecasting Economic Costs

If climate change continues unchecked and unmitigated, the global economic situation may change significantly with even wealthy countries seeing an economic downturn by the year 2100 as shown in a study led by Woods Center Fellow Marshal Burke (Stanford Earth) published in the journal Nature. Even prosperous countries will see growth drop off sharply after temperatures pass a critical heat threshold. Read more and watch video.

Setting Presidential Priorities

The next U.S. President, regardless of political party, will need to address the impacts of climate change that are already happening to our environment and our economy according to panelists at the Setting the Climate Agenda for the Next U.S. President, a conference organized by Stanford Distinguished Visiting Lecturer and Woods Consulting Professor David Hayes (Law) and attended by some of the most influential presidential advisors from both sides of the aisle. The summary explains that whomever wins the election should engage key stakeholders in energy, infrastructure, land use and other relevant sectors, as well as impacted state, local and international governments to advance a comprehensive agenda to tackle the impacts of a changing climate. Read more.

On Camera

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge and the Future of California Drought

Daniel Swain, PhD '16, explains the combination of factors that has led to California’s drought, including climate change, rising temperatures, and the “ridiculously resilient ridge”.

COP21: Christopher Field

Chris Field explains role and process for the United Nation's IPCC at historic Paris Climate talks in 2015.

In The News

News coverage from Conference on Climate Priorities for the Next U.S. President

At Stanford on May 6, a panel of climate change, energy and governance experts identified key climate and energy policies that the next U.S....
May 11, 2016 - By , ClimateWire, Forbes, Scientific American, The Mercury News, SNS

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Canada and U.S. go after methane leaks in oil fields

Stanford Woods Fellow Rob Jackson (School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences) notes "natural gas can be an important lever to take dirty...
March 10, 2016 - By Scott Tong, Marketplace

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A Transcript of Jill Stein’s Meeting with The Washington Post Editorial Board

Cites research by Mark Jacobson showing that metrics of health would improve with phase out of fossil fuels.
August 25, 2016 - By Post Opinions Staff, Washington Post

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Global Warming Means Smoggier Autumns in US Southeast: Study

Quotes Chris Field on "indirect mechanisms" of climate change risks.
August 23, 2016 - By , The Times of India (via AP)

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