I have some obscure "hobbies." For example, I like to guess what sorts of feelings and responses advertisements try to fetch. When I can't make any sort of conclusion, I suppose that I am not the target audience. I get really excited when I meet someone that admits an affinity or dislike for a particular commercial because I think it tells me something about that person. Indeed, commercials are one of my favorite topics.
In line with the above, I like to make note of job postings sent out by an academic department to their student listserves. These are regulated and often have a one or a handful of gatekeepers. So, I tend to assume that whatever goes out on the listserve is symbolic of the direction that the department hopes their students go. It is symbolic of the ideals supported by the department.
In 2005, I proudly graduated from the Climate and Society program. The cost of doing so was debt accrued in 1 year that amounted to ~50% of the cost of attending a Texas state institution for 4.5 years. Benefits were also substantial: I met some awesome people, saw some cool things, and garnered a healthy skepticism of climate science, the UN, economists, and anything "Ivy League."
It should be noted that the Climate and Society graduate program is the baby of the IRI at Columbia. Being in the program, I got the feeling that the intent was to rapidly teach many individuals how to use the climate forecasts so they could go forth and do just that. Slap a Columbia certification on 'em and you got yourself someone with legitimacy.
Anyways, long story short, I'm on their listserve.
Several moons ago, I got an email from the Climate and Society graduate program listserve advertising a job that was forwarded by one of the program's graduates. The job was for a "Manager, Insurance Program" with Ceres. An excerpt,
The insurance industry performs two distinct roles in the global economy—risk management and investment—making it both subject to the impacts of climate change and an essential driver of climate action. As risk experts, insurers have special credibility in delivering messages—via the media and directly to the companies and individuals they insure—that affirm the reality and impact of climate change. Insurers also are some of the largest investors in the world, controlling more than $23 trillion in global investments. US insurers hold more than a quarter of this total, making them a critical source of capital for the global economy to transition toward a low-carbon future. Ceres is the only sustainability NGO with deep expertise on the insurance industry...
Description & ResponsibilitiesCeres is looking to hire a manager focused on the insurance sector... The manager position offers a unique opportunity to move a key sector of the economy toward action on this century’s most pressing environmental issue... Specific duties include, but are not limited to the following:· ...engaging with a range of insurance industry actors, including large insurance and reinsurance companies, insurance regulators, catastrophe modelers, and climate scientists on climate change and insured losses....· Effectively communicating to a broad range of actors, including the broader financial community, equity analysts and bond rating agencies, about the risks that climate change poses for insurers....· Writing research reports and other multi-media communications to reach companies and stakeholder groups with timely information on Ceres’ industry programs and sustainability issues...
Columbia has close ties to the UN, which also backs the insurance to address climate change issue. Maybe it is ultimately just towing the company line, as the UN is all about the carbon market and the insurance that can stabilize its existence.
I remember the first day of class. It was also the first day of the program! A well known, brilliant climate scientists asked us something like, "Do scientists have an ethical obligation to society?" It wasn't until many years later, and more debt :-), did I realize the true depth of this loaded question.