Global Roundtable on Climate Change

  • NY

About Us

The Global Roundtable on Climate Change, of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, brings together more than 150 high-level, critical stakeholders from all regions of the world — including senior executives from the private sector and leaders of international governmental and non-governmental organizations — to discuss and explore areas of potential consensus regarding core scientific, technological, and economic issues critical to shaping sound public policies on climate change. Such a consensus, if reached, could have a major impact on the international community due to the high-profile stakeholder status and top-tier professional positions of Roundtable participants.

Meeting twice a year for three years, the Roundtable engages in detailed, science-based, non-confrontational discussion and analysis in order to work through difficult problems and explore potential areas of consensus that could have broad and unprecedented buy-in. Such a structured deliberative process among leaders from business, government, academia and civil society has proven to be a highly effective means for discussing possible solutions to complex problems. Over the past few years, Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute and Chair of the Roundtable, has found great benefits in this approach in his work on commissions and consensus-building efforts with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Secretary-General.

The Roundtable has six over-arching objectives:

To assist development of an improved global consensus on a sensible course for climate policy – one that steers carefully among the simultaneous objectives of mitigating man-made climate change on the one side while achieving economic development and growth on the other;

To explore technological and policy options for providing clean, efficient and affordable energy, transportation and production facilities that fully meet the need for economic development and economic growth around the world but in a manner that does not dangerously destabilize the climate system;

To help set in motion demonstration projects that test, scale, promote or otherwise assist the development and implementation of new technologies, processes or policies for mitigating or adapting to climate change;

To assist businesses to adjust to climate change realities in all dimensions, including: forecasting and adjustment to climate change itself; anticipating public policies that will address climate change; and navigating in a world of unprecedented stresses and changes to the world’s energy and productive systems;

To provide a unique forum for discussion, analysis and the exchange of ideas among business from all economic sectors and all parts of the world, international institutions, non-governmental organizations, and leading academic experts;

To act as a catalyst in fostering new initiatives and interactions among Roundtable participants to address climate change.

Five technical working groups support the Roundtable. Each is composed of 10-20 of the world's leading experts from the academic, private and public sectors. The working groups provide the Roundtable with independent, authoritative information about relevant scientific, technological, economic, and policy decision-making and communication issues. This includes assembling clear, concise background information, offering expert consultation and drafting reports specifically requested by Roundtable members. The Roundtable and its working groups are made possible by a generous grant from the Lenfest Foundation.

The Roundtable provides an extraordinary opportunity for stakeholder to stakeholder discussion of complex issues related to climate change in a relaxed, private, productive and information-driven environment. Roundtable participants are drawn from all regions of the world and every major economic sector, including industry manufacturing, transportation, non-renewable resources, renewable resources, energy, finance, insurance, health, food and agriculture. Participants also include leading figures from international organizations, national and local governments, academia, and non-governmental organizations. Participation in the Roundtable is by invitation only.