Climate Change Syllabus

ProjectARCC members compiled a large and varied assortment of resources related to climate change, from general resources for the beginner, communication strategies about climate change, disaster response, and popular science.

This is an evolving document, so check back often for updates.

We are extremely grateful and happy to receive suggestions for additional resources: contact us. Please add resources below in APA citation style, along with a one to three sentence description. Please also add a URL if possible.

General Resources

For the beginner:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2014). Fifth assessment report.

The IPCC is the main international body charged with examining the scientific basis for climate change, as well as studying the impacts on people and ecosystems, as well as measures for mitigation and adaptation. The IPCC has issued five major reports since the first in 1990.

NASA. What is Climate Change? (2015). 

NASA provides basic information about climate, climate change, and the evidence of human-induced effects on the climate.

U.S. Global Change Research Program. (2014). National climate assessment.

Composed of several federal agencies, this assessment examines how climate change will impact the communities and ecosystems of the United States. The takeaway is that as much as we might wish to believe climate change will affect other countries more than us, many of our fellow Americans are already seeing their communities threatened due to climate change.

Environmental Protection Agency. (2015). Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action.

This report evaluates climate change scenarios by the year 2100, with outcomes including possibilities with policy changes and without policy changes to help mitigate the impact of climate change. The benefits are mainly given in cost savings or spendings. The report focuses on health, electricity, infrastructure, water resources, agriculture & forestry, and ecosystems.

Transition United States. (2015) Transition 101.

The Transition US movement is the United States version of a successful movement in the UK to build sustainable, resilient communities. It is grassroots based, with the community putting forth initiatives for behavior change to face the challenges ahead due to climate change. There may be a Transition group in your own city.

For those with some knowledge:

Archer, D. (2006). Global warming: Understanding the forecast. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Environmental Protection Agency. (2015). Report on the environment.

 The EPA’s ROE compiles most reliable current indicators to answer 23 questions about the condition of the environment and human health in the United States. These areas begin with 5 themes [air, water, land, human exposure and health, ecological condition]. The Air theme includes information on greenhouse gases trends []. Pertinent information models and graphs can also be found in the ROE indicators section [].

RealClimate Contributors. (2007). RealClimate: Climate Science from Climate Scientists. Retrieved from

Informed but seeking more detail:

Resources needed.

For those who are seeking best practices on communicating climate change:

Visualizer Tools:

NOAA Office for Coastal Management. Sea Level Rise Viewer.

This viewer allows you to adjust sliders predicting different levels of future sea level rise along American coastlines (i.e., between no rise, 6 meters.) Screen shots of sites help one see how far up the water would come to the built environment.

Climate Central. Surging Seas: sea level rise analysis.

This tool, much like the NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer, allows us to see the effects of sea level rise on the coast. It also overlays data pertaining to social vulnerability, high population centers, ethnicity, income, and property.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Climate Time Machine.

 This visualization tool allows you to see changes over time in sea ice, sea level, carbon dioxide, and global temperatures. 

Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Earth Institute, Columbia University * EcoAmerica. Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Change Communication.

This guide is designed for experienced and novice communicators of climate change, and it explains how people, both personally and professionally, can engage the American public on the issue. It includes strategies for boosting engagement with different types of audiences and best practices for organizations seeking meaningful engagement with individuals and groups about climate change.

Sociopolitical Effects

Hsieh, Steven. “People of Color Are Already Getting Hit the Hardest by Climate Change.” The Nation.

A quick introduction to the concept of climate justice in the context of American communities of color, through an interview with the NAACP Climate Justice Initiative director.

Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, 2014.

Klein’s volume unabashedly locates rampant unbridled capitalism as the main impediment to climate change. It’s not just an indictment of how money trumps the common good, but a vision of what a healthier, saner, more just world would look like for all the peoples, flora, and fauna of the world. 

Burns, Bridget and Patouris, Joanna (WEDO). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Decisions and Conclusions: Existing Mandates and Entry Points for Gender Equality. Gender & Climate Change Technical Guide for COP20, Lima, Peru, 2014.

This report outlines the conclusions regarding gender equality and climate change from the UNFCCC meeting in Peru. It a document that highlights decisions made that specifically target gender equality, and gaps left.

Protecting our Collections

Resources needed.

How climate change will affect archives

Gordon-Clark, Matthew. “Paradise Lost? Pacific Island Archives Threatened by Climate Change.” Archival Science 12, no. 1 (March 2012): 51–67. doi:10.1007/s10502-011-9144-3.

Gordon-Clark is one of the few archivists doing research on how climate change will materially affect archives. His research looks at how rising sea levels will threaten the national archives of Pacific island nations.

Gordon-Clark, Matthew, and Simon Shurville. “‘To Take up Arms against a Sea of Troubles’: Finding Safe Havens for the National Archives of Low-Elevation Pacific Islands and Nations Threatened by Climate Change.” Archives & Manuscripts 38, no. 1 (May 2010): 78–93.

Cassar, May. Climate Change and the Historic Environment. UCL Centre for Sustainable Heritage.

These are the findings and recommendations of a study conducted in England at the English Heritage sites, but I think the concerns and conclusions drawn translate well to archives. Of particular interest to us and our charge is the observation that there is “a gap between climate change prediction, and its translation into practical guidance to help shape policy development and operational management.” I think we are working to bridge this gap. Also, part of the study was a questionnaire sent to the administrators of the heritage sites, which might be helpful as we develop our own questions for archivists affected by climate change.

How disasters affect archives

Council of State Archivists. “Safeguarding a Nation’s Identity Report,” 2007.

The Council of State Archivists does awesome work in the area of disaster preparedness and management. This report assesses the preparation levels of state archives and records programs.

Disaster preparedness and response resources

Excellent guides to handling damaged materials in the context of a disaster can be found on several websites, including NEDCC, AIC, LC, ALA, SAA, and CoSA.

NEDCC COSTEP (Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness) Framework.

This framework is intended to help cultural heritage professionals learn how to work with state emergency managers in the context of disaster preparedness.

Heritage Emergency National Task Force.

The future of this effort is unknown as the parent organization is transitioning most of its other programs to AIC. It may be placed in a federal agency. Eira Tansey (Protect Committee chair) is looking into it.

American Institute for Conservation – Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT).

A group of conservators specially trained to respond to disaster situations involving cultural heritage institutions.

D-Plan : The Online Disaster-Planning Tool for Cultural and Civic Institutions.

Disaster prevention and response with an online customizable template to create a disaster plan for your institution.

Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) –

AudioVisual Preservation Solutions (AVPS) –

Disaster Response Information & Assistance List of Resources.

Specs Bros.

Hurricane and flood recovery for magnetic tapes.

The Library of Congress – Emergency Preparedness Page.

Reducing threats to collections posed specifically by water

Reducing our Carbon Footprint 

Abbey, Heidi. (2012). The Green Archivist: A Primer for Adopting Affordable, Environmentally Sustainable, and Socially Responsible Archival Management Practices:

Meyer, Rebecca, Shannon Struble, and Phyllis Catsikis. (2014). “Sustainability: A Review,” in Preserving Our Heritage: Perspectives from Antiquity to the Digital Age. Chicago: ALA Publishing.

The above review is a fantastic resource for learning about environmental, economic, and social sustainability, and how sustainability in general can be harnessed by information/cultural heritage institutions to reduce our professional ecological footprint and mitigate the effects of climate change on our collections. Many topics are expanded on, from the meaning of being a “green” or LEED-certified building, to maintaining sustainable environmental control for collections, to employing environmentally sound conservation actions, and to educating the public about sustainability. Ultimately, this review illustrates how by being environmentally sound, an institution is also socially sound and, certainly, economically sound, the effects of which bolster the longevity of the institution.

Brophy, Sarah S. and Elizabeth Wylie. (2008). The Green Museum: A Primer on Environmental Practice. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

The above is not specifically about archives but has a lot of good practical ideas for reducing the carbon footprint of cultural heritage institutions, including the nitty-gritty details of best practices and how to implement them logistically and economically.

Aulisio, George J. (2013). “Green Libraries Are More than Just Buildings.” Electronic Green Journal, 1.35: 1-10.

Sustainable institutions (beyond just libraries) are not only “green” buildings. They are also charged with providing the public with accurate resources on and education about climate change and sustainability. They must serve as an advocate for sustainable practices within and outside of the profession.

Linden, J., J. Reilly, and P. Herzog. (2012). “Research on Energy Savings Opportunities in University Libraries.” Library Hi Tech 30.3: 384-396.

Energetically efficient HVAC systems for preservation-level environmental control are necessary to sustainability in LAMs. This article discusses what the Image Permanence Institute has experimented with in this regard.

Elevating Collections

Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Earth Institute, Columbia University * EcoAmerica. Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Change Communication.

This guide is designed for experienced and novice communicators of climate change, and it explains how people, both personally and professionally, can engage the American public on the issue. It includes strategies for boosting engagement with different types of audiences and best practices for organizations seeking meaningful engagement with individuals and groups about climate change.

Preserving the Climate Movement

Resources needed.

Community Archives

Community Archives: The Shaping of Memory. (2009) Start an Archives! Blog documenting the process of developing a community archives project in Philadelphia. Project developed and blog written by an archivist, Scott.  

Repositories for research data

To be expanded: APA and summary.



General/Popular Science, Websites, Resources on Climate Change

To be expanded: APA and summary.

Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Ever-Ending Earth by Craig Childs

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Adaptors podcast.

The Elephant podcast.

the biggest story in the world podcast.

Spycast. Author Debriefing: Climate Change and Conflict Prevention. Podcast.

Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway.

6 thoughts on “Climate Change Syllabus

  1. Richard Tol, a professor of economics at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and an expert on climate change, removed his name from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. While he considers much of the science sound and supports the underlying purpose of the IPCC, Tol says the United Nations agency’s inflammatory and alarmist claims delegitimize the IPCC as a credible and neutral institution.

    Read more at:


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