NEW Miami Magazine issue on CLIMATE CHANGE
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Sea Level Rise: What’s Coming and What We Can Do About it
Severe weather events like Superstorm Sandy are revealing the vulnerability of New York City and other coastal communities, particularly as sea levels continue to rise. In his lab at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School, Ben Kirtman is using one of the world’s largest supercomputers to more accurately predict the risk of severe flooding—in the upcoming weeks and decades. In this ’Cane Talk, Professor Kirtman describes what his research means for cities across the globe.
Ben Kirtman is a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. He leads UM’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies and the Center for Computational Science’s Climate and Environmental Hazards Program. Known internationally for using complex computer models to bring unprecedented detail to climate change measurement, Professor Kirtman also serves as an advisor to the United Nations and other multinational organizations.

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Special Report on Climate Change Highlights UM Research
Debuting in advance of Earth Day, the University of Miami’s Climate Change Special Report, developed by University Communications, features more than 40 articles on science and research; dozens of interviews with UM faculty, alumni, and students; and social and interactive engagement with polls, graphics, and an opportunity for you to write your own haiku to the environment. Visit to get the full report.



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In 2007 President Donna E. Shalala signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. This historical event sent a strong and unequivocal message about University of Miami’s dedication to sustainability. As part of this commitment, a Climate Action Plan was designed in 2009 (download here). The University of Miami, since then, has taken steps towards carbon neutrality and has engaged in the path of Greenhouse Gas emissions reduction.

The University of Miami’s 2014 Sustainability Interim Report follows the steps of our first Climate Action Plan. This report intends to give a snapshot of the State of Green Initiatives and achievements at UM, specifically for the campus of Coral Gables and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. It is a part of the roadmap that the University follows in its journey towards carbon neutrality.  In order to fulfill long-term goals of greenhouse gas emission reductions, UM has committed to various programs, projects and policies that will be outlined in this document.  Future scenarios and strategic planning for emission reductions will be the object of a separate and more comprehensive Sustainability Action Plan that we are expecting to release in 2016.

As sustainability continues to be implemented further, it will be essential to keep track of our emissions on a regular basis. The data gap currently spanning between 2008 and 2013 will need to be filled in our 2016 Sustainability Action Plan. We already made the choice to use the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System as the most appropriate tool for this endeavor. The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. UM is an active member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.  Our application to STARS will ensure that the plan gets constant monitoring, evaluation and feedback.   

This interim report highlights the need for a holistic approach to sustainability on our campuses. We hope to foster a culture transformation that will put sustainable behaviors and investments at the core of our institution values. The first installment of the University of Miami’s Climate Action Plan in 2009 proposed a tentative timeline, as well as various possible methods to reduce our carbon footprint. The university will need to build on this foundation, review it, and update it. We are confident that by the end of 2016, we will have completed this task and open a new chapter in UM’s journey to Sustainability.

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“CLIMATE CHANGE: What lies ahead?”
December 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm
Global Ties Miami at the Center for Social Change
2013 Coral Way, 2nd Floor, Miami, FL 33145
Registration at

Panel discussion- A first-hand report of the Climate Change Summit (COP21): What are the impacts on local communities and how does South Florida address the climate issue?

Opening remarks – Françoise Laine, President of the Board of Global Ties Miami
Introduction – Philippe Létrilliart, Consul general of France

      - Harold R Wanless, Ph.D.-  Chairman UM Department of Geological Sciences
      - Jim Murley - Chief Resilience Officer at the Miami-Dade County
      - Dr Larry Frolich – Professor in the Biology department/ Miami Dade College

Moderator: Joseph B Treaster, PhD , Professor UM School of Communication

As we are closing the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), the annual meeting of all countries taking initiative for the climate held in Paris-Le Bourget, France, from Nov. 30 to December 11, the organization Global Ties in collaboration with the Consulate general of France in Miami invite you to an evening dedicated to the climate issue.
Background: Global surface temperature is rising. It will probably be 1.5 °C higher at the end of the century compared with the pre-industrial era (1850-1900). Biodiversity, coastal regions, the oceans, health and even our cultural heritage are affected by the impacts of climate change. This was the essential message of the 5th report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in 2014.
Impacts already visible: Climate change is a reality. Disturbances are already being seen in the ecological balance of large ecosystems: a changing physical environment and living things that are trying to adapt or disappearing. We are also beginning to envisage the consequences for human societies: forced migrations, an increase in the number of conflicts (use of water resources, appropriation of fertile soils, etc.)

Local impacts and local actions: Thanks to the participation of the Consul general of France, Professors and local leaders, the objective of this evening focusing on climate change is to discuss the impacts of the COP21 negotiations in South Florida and the involvement of the local communities.


UM participated to the South East Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit 2014.

The Honorable Harvey Ruvin, Clerk of the Courts, Miami-Dade County with UM Sustainability Manager, Teddy Lhoutellier at the SEF Climate Leadership Summit 10.02.14

The annual Summit is coordinated by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, a partnership between Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties, their municipalities and the Institute for Sustainable Communities.

Green U, students from the Environmental Justice Center - School of Law and the Abess Center

Faculty: Dr. Van Leer, Dr Sonia Chao, Director of UM Center for Urban and Community Design.

Visitors learned about UM’s latest Climate Change mitigation initiatives. Special emphasis was given to Climate Adaptation Research where UM is clearly among the main leaders in the Nation with the new Marine Technology & Life Sciences Seawater Complex. The Complex provides research and teaching laboratories in two critical areas: air-sea interactions and biology of living marine organisms, including a wind-wave-storm surge simulator capable of generating Category 5 hurricane-force winds in a three-dimensional test environment, a state of the art tool, unique in the World.
To learn more about it, visit RSMAS - SUSTAIN



Today, Dr. Shalala is reaffirming UM’s commitment to Sustainability:
“In many ways, Florida is a testing ground for how the United States will manage the risks of climate change. Will we sit by and watch as many of our coastal cities face an ever-rising sea, and as severe heat strains our electric grids and hobbles our workers? Or will we act now to help reduce the risk that these impacts will spiral out of control in the future? It’s time for us all to step up.”

Donna A. Shalala is Member of the Risky Business Project Committee





Faculty Experts  - Research at RSMAS


University of Miami - Marine Technology & Life Sciences Seawater Complex

Research at RSMAS

The University of Miami’s Marine Technology & Life Sciences Seawater Complex will open at the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science in 2013. The new complex will provide research and teaching laboratories in two critical areas: air-sea interactions and biology of living marine organisms, including a wind-wave-storm surge simulator capable of generating Category 5 hurricane-force winds in a three-dimensional test environment.

Faculty Experts

Welcome to a list of University of Miami experts on subjects related to green initiatives. Please browse our listing by selecting from the following topics below.

If you cannot reach the faculty expert listed, or need a source for a topic not listed below, please contact the Media Relations Office at 305-284-5500.

Browse experts by subject:

Climate Change and Global Warming
Ocean Policy
Hydrogen Fuels Cell Technology/Alternative Energy

UM Professor, Dr. Harold Wanless on Sea Level Rise in South Florida



The CLEO Institute

The CLEO Institute’s Founder and Executive Director, Caroline Lewis, was a high school teacher and principal for 22 years. She moved on to become the Director of Education at Fairchild Botanic Garden, where she created programs and expanded outreach by 800%.

Lewis frequently speaks at summits and conferences and has influenced environmental education efforts in institutions around the United States and internationally. In December 2012, she was appointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Education Advisory Council. In 2013, she was one of twelve individuals recognized as a White House Community Resilience Champion of Change for building climate resilience in the community through her work at CLEO.

CLEO’s lead advisor is Dr. Harold Wanless, a nationally renowned scientist, professor and department chair of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami. Scores of other scientists, educators, leaders, specialists (government and non-governmental, local and national) also provide tremendous support and expertise, as does CLEO’s staff, strong Board of Directors, Advisory Council, Youth Task Force, and Volunteer Corps.