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Climate Change

What is Climate Change?  Climate change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.

| Climate Change | References and Tools on Climate Change | Climate Action Plans and Initiatives | Climate Change Curriculum | Climate Resilience, Adaptation, Transitions, and Mitigation | Climate Change References |

Climate Change

  • Climate Ready Communities Initiative
    UW-Cooperative Extension Climate Ready Communities Initiative

    Wisconsin’s communities are at risk from our changing climate. Extension is able to assist communities in identifying vulnerabilities to those risks, and evaluating strategies to prepare for them. UW-Extension’s Climate Ready Communities initiative provides training and support for county and campus faculty looking to work with local government, business, agriculture, forestry and other decision makers.

  • A Framework for Considering Climate Change in Transportation and Land-Use Scenario Planning: Lessons Learned from an Interagency Pilot Project on Cape Cod: Final Report
    Based on lessons learned from an interagency pilot project on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, this guidebook integrates climate change into transportation and land-use scenario planning, with a focus on reducing future greenhouse gas emissions and considering the potential impacts of sea-level rise on the region. It is a resource for organizations that may be interested in, or stand to benefit from, incorporating climate change considerations into transportation and land-use planning.

  • Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox
    The Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox provides access to more than 500 resources that support climate adaptation planning at water utilities, including reports and publications, information about funding programs, upcoming workshops and training sessions, models and tools, and climate response materials that focus on mitigation and adaptive strategies.

  • Climate Protection Toolkit for Small Communities
    International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) – Local Governments for Sustainability has released a free resource to help communities with 25,000 people or fewer launch and maintain climate, energy, and sustainability initiatives. ICLEI's Small Communities Toolkit provides detailed resources, case studies, and insight to help small communities succeed despite limitations of staff and funding. The toolkit helps smaller communities understand how to take advantage of their significant opportunities.

  • Rapid Climate Change Strategy for Local Government
    Rapid Climate Change Strategy is the overall approach a government or organization can follow to adapt to the rapid onset of climate change locally and globally. Since the current climate change is scientifically linked to the use of fossil fuels, climate change strategy encompasses planning and implementing a strategy for reducing energy use and costs and shifting to renewable energy sources.

  • Rapid Climate Change Strategy for Business
    Rapid Climate Change Strategy is the overall approach a government or organization can follow to adapt to the rapid onset of climate change locally and globally. Since the current climate change is scientifically linked to the use of fossil fuels, climate change strategy encompasses planning and implementing a strategy for reducing energy use and costs and shifting to renewable energy sources.

  • A Short Guide to Setting Up a City-Scale Retrofit Program
    This guide, which was developed by Green for All and the Center on Wisconsin Strategies (COWS) and released in July 2009, provides a model for cities to design and implement large-scale weatherization and retrofitting programs that address climate change, put people to work, and reduce working families' energy bills.

  • Climate Change in the Great Lakes
    The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute is hosting a on-line public discussion forum as part of it's continuing "Climate Change in the Great Lakes: Starting a Public Discussion" project.

  • Global Development & Environment Institute working papers
    Papers related to climate change published by the Global Development & Environment Institute at Tufts University

  • Twelve Ways to Act Locally to Address Climate Change
    Recommendations on energy efficiency, green power, water conservation and more are paired with links to EPA's partnership programs.

  • Rapid Climate Change and Energy Strategy for Business
    An introduction to rapid climate change and energy strategy for business. PowerPoint presentation by Jay Moynihan (2008)

  • What is Climate Change and What is the Problem?
    Short introduction to climate change science. PowerPoint presentation by Jay Moynihan (2008)

  • Communicating on Climate Change: An Essential Resource for Journalists, Scientists, and Educators
    Written by Bud Ward Published by the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. This on-line full text book was developed from series of Metcalf Institute workshops funded by the National Science Foundation, addresses effective communication about climate change for editors, reporters, scientists, and academics.

  • Nova (PBS) broadcast "The Big Energy Gamble"
    California's Climate Change Law has the most ambitious timetable of any government in the world. In light of that, when working on climate change/energy planning, etc., take a look at what is being done in California.

  • California Climate Change Portal
    The government of California's "portal" for all things Climate Change & sustainable energy.

  • California Climate Change & Energy
    This link connects to a resource catalog for educators on climate change and energy.

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References and Tools on Climate Change
  • Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox
    The Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox provides access to more than 500 resources that support climate adaptation planning at water utilities, including reports and publications, information about funding programs, upcoming workshops and training sessions, models and tools, and climate response materials that focus on mitigation and adaptive strategies.

  • Wisconsin Land Use Megatrends: Climate Change
    The publication draws on state and national trends to form a picture of increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, resulting land use and ecological changes, and impacts on infrastructure and the economy. The publication wraps up by looking at adaptation and mitigation strategies that are suitable for local government officials and policy makers.

  • Climate Protection Toolkit for Small Communities
    International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) - Local Governments for Sustainability has released a free resource to help communities with 25,000 people or fewer launch and maintain climate, energy, and sustainability initiatives. ICLEI's Small Communities Toolkit provides detailed resources, case studies, and insight to help small communities succeed despite limitations of staff and funding. The toolkit helps smaller communities understand how to take advantage of their significant opportunities.

  • California Climate Change Portal
    The government of California's "portal" for all things Climate Change & sustainable energy. 

  • Workshop is a nonprofit organization working to reduce CO2 below 350 parts per million, considered the safe level for humanity. The organization has run dozens of workshops in over 20 countries, empowering thousands of new climate movement leaders. The website provides the content and materials of those workshops for free.

  • Climate Action Plan
    Portland, Oregon’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability 2009 Climate Action Plan. Also provides links to 2011 progress report.

  • Ohio State University Climate Change Outreach Team
    The OSU Climate Change Outreach Team is a partnership among multiple departments within Ohio State University. The team's goal is to help localize the climate change issue by bringing related research and resources to residents of Ohio and the Great Lakes region. Topics include: ecosystems, public health, infrastructure, water, climate, public policy and education.

  • OSU's Current Webinars
    Ohio State University’s current listing of webinars. Also at the site are various Great Lakes Curriculum that address climate changes.

  • OSU Archive of past webinars
    Archive of past webinars produced by Ohio State University include: Future of International Climate Agreements, Framing Climate Change: Recent Research Trends on Communication Strategies and Public Opinion, Chicago Climate Action Plan, Climate Change & Invaders: Sources of Uncertainty in Managing the Great Lakes Region, Balancing the Economic Benefits with the Environmental Impacts of Shale Energy Development, and many more.

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Climate Action Plans and Initiatives

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Climate Change Curriculum

  • Creative Change Educational Solutions
    The curriculum and resource Creative Change Educational Solutions center provides an extensive library of interdisciplinary resources to support sustainability education. Curriculum materials cover energy, sustainable communities, ecological footprints and come with student booklets, teacher’s guides, and multimedia support materials. This is a membership-based organization with an annual subscription price of $125.

  • My Community, Our Earth
    A website by the Association of American Geographers focused on geographic learning for sustainable development. My Community, Our Earth was created in the year 2002 to address sustainable development issues, including biodiversity, climate change, poverty eradication, fresh water supply, and urbanization. The theme of sustainable development is approached by using a geographic perspective that allows innovative responses to local community challenges. The learning and resources portion of this website houses a variety of interactive tools and resources including a digital library, recommended resources, an interactive adventures page and a Youth-led Project gallery.

  • Climate, Adaption, Mitigation, and E-Learning
    CAMEL is an interdisciplinary, multimedia resource for teachers. This site has 200 topic areas related to climate change that provides teachers the tools they need to teach about climate change.

  • Northwest Earth Institute
    The Northwest Earth Institute offers discussion courses on Powering a Bright Future; Global Warming: Changing CO2urse; Just Below the Surface; Choices for Sustainable Living; A World of Health; Hungry for Change; Menu for the Future; Sustainable Systems at Work; Healthy Children Healthy Planet; Voluntary Simplicity; and Reconnecting with Earth.

  • California Climate Change & Energy
    A link to a resource catalog on climate change and energy for educators.

  • Climate Change Curriculum Links for Educators
    This is an 11 page PDF published by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and provides numerous climate change curriculum links.

  • Climate Change Curriculum Connections
    Produced by the National Wildlife Foundation, the Climate Change Curriculum Connections provides links for a variety of curricula created by numerous nonprofit and government organizations.

  • Climate Change Education
    K-12 lesson plans and curriculum links on ecology and climate change.

  • Wisconsin’s Water Library for Kids
    This web page lists Climate Change Curriculum Ideas from a variety of sources.

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Climate Resilience, Adaptation, Transitions, and Mitigation

  • Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation
    This is a 594 page report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2012)
        Chapter 1 - Climate Change New Dimensions Disaster Risk Exposure Vulnerability and Resilience
        Chapter 2 - Determinants of Risk: Exposure and Vulnerability
        Chapter 3 - Changes in Climate Extremes and their Impacts on the Natural Physical Environment
        Chapter 4 - Changes in Impacts of Climate Extremes: Human Systems and Ecosystems
        Chapter 5 - Managing the Risks from Climate Extremes at the Local Level
        Chapter 6 - National Systems for Managing the Risks from Climate Extremes and Disasters
        Chapter 7 - Managing the Risks: International Level and Integration across Scales
        Chapter 8 - Toward a Sustainable and Resilient Future
        Chapter 9 - Case Studies

  • A 20 page Summary for Policymakers

  • A 27 page PDF slide show of the report

  • Adaptation Clearinghouse
    The Adaptation Clearinghouse seeks to assist state policymakers, resource managers, academics, and others who are working to help communities adapt to climate change. This is the web site for the Georgetown Climate Center and provides resources on Policy: Law and Governance, Sea-level Rise and Urban Heat; Sector Materials: Coasts, Public Health, Transportation and Water.

  • Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation
    Released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this report assess existing literature on the future potential of renewable energy for the mitigation of climate change. Available for download at this site is a PDF presentation and the full report which is over 1,000 pages.

  • Community Resilience and Adaptation
    This page discusses and defines community resilience and adaptation and provides links to PDFs on a variety of topics related to community resilience and adaptation.

  • Explaining Extreme Events of 2011 from a Climate Perspective
    A 28 page PDF from published by the American Meteorological Society (July 2012). The authors use different methodologies to explain six extreme events from a climate perspective.

  • Stockholm Resilience Centre
    Stockholm Resilience Centre advances research on the governance of social-ecological systems with a special emphasis on resilience - the ability to deal with change and continue to develop. The site has annual reports from 2007 – 2011.

  • Resilience Alliance
    The Resilience Alliance is a research organization comprised of scientists and practitioners from many disciplines who collaborate to explore the dynamics of social-ecological systems. The body of knowledge developed by the RA, encompasses key concepts of resilience, adaptability and transformability and provides a foundation for sustainable development policy and practice. The web site includes key concepts (focused mostly on adaptation), research (case studies on resilience) and resources (newsletters, data bases).

  • Institute for Sustainable Communities
    The Institute for Sustainable Communities provides people the tools and skills they need to inspire citizenship, protect the environment and take on climate change. ISC's mission is to help communities around the world address environmental, economic, and social challenges to build a better future shaped and shared by all. The Institute works with communities on climate resiliency, developing vibrant communities and to address energy efficiency, sustainable economies and climate disruption.

  • Resilience Circles
    Resilience Circles are small groups where people come together to increase their personal security through learning, mutual aid, social action, and community support. The site offers resources such as a facilitators guide and for finding or starting a circle, as well as a blog.

  • Community & Regional Resilience Institute
    The Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI) believes that resilient communities are the foundation of a strong and resilient nation. Community resilience encompasses the full fabric of the community and its ability to resist and/or rapidly recover from extreme events. The web site offers a blog, publications, and a Community Resilience System which is a web-based system that helps communities create a vision for the future and establish the actions necessary to improve resilience to disasters and disturbances.

  • Climate Literacy; The Essential Principles of Climate Science
    NOAA climate literacy booklet.

  • Great Lakes Community Climate Program
    Freshwater Future’s Climate Program focuses on how to recognize and incorporate climate change adaptation into the work already being done to protect water resources. This page offers information about the Freshwater Future’s Climate Symposiums and Climate Grants and a downloadable Climate Adaptation Toolkit and Resources for Climate Adaptation Work.

  • Converge Project
    The CONVERGE project is funded by the European Union and includes nine partners from five countries. Research is inspired by the concept of contraction and convergence; a suggested way to stabilize greenhouse gasses while promoting social equity with regards to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. 

  • Resource Conservation and Recovery: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs
    This is a U.S. EPA document for local governments focused on resource conservation and recovery strategies that involve avoiding, delaying, or decreasing the raw materials required for the production of new products through source reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, and energy recovery. These practices can reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the life-cycle of materials, while also reducing air pollution, energy use, and landfill costs.

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The following information is available here as a Word document

Climate Change References

Climate Change Science

Understanding Science, Generally
A University of California – Berkley site for teachers on what science is, the scientific method, etc.

National Climate Data Center (U.S.)
The primary center in the United States for data and climate modeling.

Nature: Climate Change (journal)
Nature Publishing’s monthly journal on climate change science. Subscription access only.

NASA Climate Change: Eyes on Earth
NASA’s climate change science portal.

"Discovery of Global Warming" by Spencer Weart
A comprehensive Ebook with hyperlinks, about the complete history of the development of climate change science. Sponsored by The Center for the History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics, The National Science Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Basic Information (EPA)
Climate change “basics” from the Environmental Protection Agency.

U.S-Global Change/Science
The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) coordinates and integrates federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society.

Global Change Master Director
NASA's Global Change Master Directory (GCMD). GCMD holds science data set and service descriptions, which cover subject areas within the Earth and environmental sciences.

State of the Climate Reports
NOAA’s annual report on climate nationally and regionally.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The “official” international science body about climate change. Produces periodic assessment reports. The reports are not released until after a closed door review by representatives of the planet’s governments, and acceptance by consensus.

Climate Change-Science-Canada
The official government website for Canada

National Snow & Ice data
NOAA & NASA data and educational site about the planet’s frozen areas.

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies emphasizes a broad study of global change by interdisciplinary research. GISS-Surface Temperature Analysis data is also found here.

NOAA Paleoclimatology
The National Climatic Data Center's Paleoclimatology Branch is the world's largest archive of climate and paleoclimate data. It partners with national and international science initiatives around the world.  Paleoclimatology is the fast growing academic specialty that studies the planets climate since planetary formation. A crucial science area for future adaptation.

Met Office Hadley Centre
The main British planetary climate change centre.

The premier climate science blog. Done by scientists for those with a keen interest in climate science. An advanced search key for it is at the Search Guide to Real Climate.

Climate Change Communication

Climate Science Rapid Response Team
An online service for journalists where they can be put in touch with real climate scientists. Their resource page.

Climate Literacy Network
The Climate Literacy Network provides a forum for organizations, agencies and individuals to collaborate for climate education. Members share ideas, coordinate efforts and  develop learning resources and support integration of climate literacy into formal and informal education venues.

Clean Net: climate change and energy education
The CLEAN project, a part of the National Science Digital Library, provides a reviewed collection of resources coupled with the tools to enable an online community to share and discuss teaching about climate and energy science.

Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism
A 16 page peer reviewed document for people who are not accepting climate science.

Climate Change Handbook: A Citizen’s Guide to Thoughtful Action
Booklet written for average audiences.
Apel, Mark, Lauren McDonell, Jay Moynihan, Darien Simon, and Viviane Simon-Brown. December 2010. Climate Change Handbook: A Citizen’s Guide to Thoughtful Action. Contributions in Education and Outreach 4b, Forest Research Laboratory, Oregon State University, Corvallis.

Climate Shift (communication)
An American University School of Communication site  on the communication of science in society.

Climate Communication
Climate Communication is a non-profit science and outreach project funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the ClimateWorks Foundation. Materials to further the scientific understanding of Earth systems and global environmental change.

The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication
Probably the premier academic site on communication about climate change. The source of the “Six Americas” report. Conducts original research on public climate change awareness, attitudes, risk perceptions, Designs and tests new strategies to engage the public in climate science and solutions, and assists educators with the knowledge and tools to engage their audiences.

The Psychology of Climate Change Communication
A Columbia University 54 page booklet on effective communication about climate change.

Wisconsin Climate Change Stories
Climate Wisconsin is an educational multimedia project featuring stories of climate change. All stories are supported by research conducted in collaboration with the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts. Background essays and teaching tips were developed with support from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Center for Biology Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Climate Wisconsin is a project of the Educational Communications Board with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Global Warming Art
An open source collection of climate change science related educational graphics.

Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation

  • Climate change (as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

  • Climate change mitigation refers to slowing or stopping climate change.

  • Adaptation is defined by the as adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.

  • Resilience is defined as the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and still retain its basic function and structure.

Adaptation Factory
A blog covering climate change matters, mostly adaptation related. Regular posting of new adaptation resources for governments and businesses.

The Climate Disclosure Project. The premier climate change mitigation and adaptation reporting protocol and searchable database for business and local governments.

GHG Protocol
The most complete set of references, guidance’s, templates for figuring out how your organization can deal with rapid climate change. It  is the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. Most of the tools used to answer the CDP, above.

The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) assesses and anticipates climate change impacts on specific Wisconsin natural resources, ecosystems and regions; evaluates potential effects on industry, agriculture, tourism and other human activities; and develops and recommends adaptation strategies that can be implemented by businesses, farmers, public health officials, municipalities, resource managers and other stakeholders.
Their 2011 report is must read if you are in Wisconsin.

Climate Ready Great Lakes
The Climate Ready Great Lakes community training modules on adaptation planning.

Local Materials Management Tool Kit
Materials management strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with waste, materials and products through a lifecycle and systems approach.

Policy Guide on Planning & Climate Change
The American Planning Association document of recommendation’s to planners.

NOAA Climate Program
Research to assist communities plan and respond.

Cornell Extension Climate & Energy Team
Emphasizes interdisciplinary educational programming that addresses residential and other building energy conservation, agriculture and energy, communities, and climate change, and youth in particular with energy & climate change education programs.

EDEN (Extension Disaster Education Network)
The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) is a collaborative multi-state effort by Extension Services across the country to improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters.

Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE)
Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) is a joint project of Island Press and EcoAdapt. It is aimed at building a shared knowledge base for managing natural systems in the face of rapid climate change.

Adaptation Clearinghouse
The nonpartisan Georgetown Climate Center seeks to advance effective climate, energy, and transportation policies in the United States—policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities adapt to climate change.

CDC Climate Change Portal
The climate change portal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Red Cross & Red Crescent Climate Center
Resources on climate change and disaster risk reduction.

NIFA Climate Change Site
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA) global change and climate site. Resources and funding opportunities.

U.S. Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center
Information and tools for land managers.

Climate Change Knowledge Compendium
The Climate Change Knowledge Network is an information and reference site hosted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Climate Change and National Security
Trends and Implications of Climate Change for National and International Security, October 2011. Because of the increasing importance of climate change on US security, the Defense Science Board was charged with examining the need to adapt, manage, and mitigate the consequences of climate change. Worth examining generally due to its excellent sections on iterative risk planning and management and other adaptation tools.

MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change
A think tank working on an integrated global systems model.

GEMI Climate Change and Business
The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) is a non-profit organization of leading companies dedicated to foster global environmental, health and safety (through the sharing of tools and information.

Walmart Sustainability Hub
The entry point for information on their climate change and energy and supply chain programs.

The Investor Network on Climate Risk partners with investors worldwide to advance the investment opportunities and reduce the material risks posed by sustainability challenges such as global climate change and water scarcity.

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
The successor organization to the highly respected Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Significant learning resources.

Citizen Science

Wisconsin Phenology Society
The Wisconsin Phenological Society (WPS) is organized for the study of the relationship between the stages of plant growth and animal life and physical factors of the environment; particularly climate and weather.

USA National Phenology Network
The USA National Phenology Network brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States. The network harnesses the power of people and the Internet to collect and share information, providing researchers with far more data than they could collect alone.

Skywarn (U.S.)
Information about becoming and being a certified storm spotter for the National Weather Service.

Citizen Weather Observer Program (U.S.)
The Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP) is a public-private partnership with three main goals: 1) to collect weather data contributed by citizens; 2) to make these data available for weather services and homeland security; and 3) to provide feedback to the data contributors so that they have the tools to check and improve their data quality.

Project Bud Burst
A network of people across the United States who monitor plants as the seasons change. A national field campaign designed to engage the public in the collection of important ecological data based on the timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting of plants.

Audubon Citizen Science
The famous, traditional bird count projects.

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