Global Change Forum

The MIT Global Change Forum has gained an international reputation for serious, frank, informed discussion of global change issues. Forum meetings provide a non-official, neutral setting for analysis and discussion of science and policy aspects of global environmental change, and for independent assessment of studies and policy proposals.


Each Forum convenes approximately 100 invited representatives of industry, government, non-governmental organizations, national and international policymaking bodies, and research groups.

Participants include experts from MIT and other universities and government research laboratories, high-level representatives from the ongoing IPCC effort, and representatives of industries with interests in the effects of climate change and related issues, industrial economics and energy technologies.


Crucial to the discussions is the inclusion of professionals directly involved in the policymaking process who possess a broad perspective, but who occupy positions that allow them to speak freely on the critical issues.

This group includes congressional or parliamentary committee staff, government officials at the level of assistant secretary, officials from relevant U.N. organizations and NGOs, officials of regional governmental organizations such as the European Union, and country negotiators in the UNFCCC process.

Forum attendance is by invitation only. For more information, please contact


Next Global Change Forum:

XL (40th) MIT Global Change Forum  -  March 29-31, 2017

Location:  Washington DC / VA region



Past Global Change Forums:

June 2016

GCF XXXIX: Corporate Strategy and Climate Change

SESSIONS: Land and Agriculture; Finance; Future Directions in Energy; Supply Chain Risk; Water Resources and Adaptation Strategies; Implementing the Climate Agreement
October 2015

GCF XXXVIII: Environmental Change & Economic Development in Africa

SESSIONS: Environmental Change in Sub-Saharan Africa; Development Prospects and Challenges in the Region; Energy Development and Investment Opportunities; Water, Agriculture, and Adaptation; Productivity, Development, Job Creation and the Environment; Developing Countries and the COP (panel)
October 2014

GCF XXXVII: Science and Policy Foundations of Post-2020 Actions

SESSIONS: Budget for Cumulative Carbon Emissions; COP-21 Prospects; Technology Options in Power and Transportation; Low Probability-High Impact Climate Risks; Risks and Options for Water, Food and Energy; Perspectives on a Prospective Post 2020 Agreement
January 2014

GCF XXXVI: Preparing for Climate Extremes

SESSIONS: Coastal Infrastructure & Severe Tropical Storms; Floods & Droughts; Arctic & Energy Vulnerability; Health, Heat Waves & Air Pollution; Preparation for COP 2015: U.S. and China; The Outlook for COP 2015
June 2013

GCF XXXV: Water, Food and Energy in a Changing World

SESSIONS: The Changing World I: Climate; The Changing World II: Economy and Demand; Water and Crops; Water and Energy; The Role of Technology and Institutions; Institutional, Trade, and Investment Policies
September 2012

GCF XXXIV: The Role of Fossil Fuels in the Transition Toward a Low Carbon Future

SESSIONS: Climate Change and the World's Breadbaskets; Transportation; Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Petroleum Resources; Alternative Fuels in the Utility Sector and the Life-Cycle Analysis; Emerging Petroleum Resources; International Market Developments and Climate Policy
March 2012

GCF XXXIII: Evaluating Progress on the Climate Front

SESSIONS: Progress on Climate Science; Independent Emissions Verification: Why and How?; Progress on Mitigation in the non-OECD; Progress on Mitigation in the OECD; Preparing for Adaptation; Government and Non-Government Actions
June 2011

GCF XXXII: Rethinking Global Climate

SESSIONS: The Scientific Evidence for Environmental Change; Energy Security; Managing Agricultural Resources; Managing the Threats to Ecosystems; Environmental Change and the Future of Cities; The Road From Cancun
October 2010

GCF XXXI: Confronting Domestic and Global Climate Strategies

SESSIONS: Lessons from Past Interglacial Climates; Forecasting Climate at the Regional Level; Global Economics, Global Trade and its Carbon Content; Consequences of Diverse Domestic Carbon & Energy Politics; Goals and Challenges in Assessing the State of the Science; The Road To and From Cancun
March 2010

GCF XXX: Features of the Road from Copenhagen: Science, Technology and Economics

SESSIONS: Evolving Views of the Threat; Regional Climate Risks and Adaptation Aid; Developments in Land Use; Technological Prospects: Electric Generation; Technological Prospects: Energy Use; Emerging National and International Policy Architecture
June 2009

GCF XXIX: The Scientific, Economic and Policy Background for COP-15

SESSIONS: Progress in Analysis of Climate Risk at Regional Scale; Managing Climate Risk in the Mediterranean Basin; The Effects of Recession on Climate Policy; Protection of Forest Carbon and Diversity: Verification and Permanence; Mechanisms or Broadening Engagement by Developing Countries; The State of the COP-15 Negotiations
October 2008

GCF XXVIII: Reconciling Short-Term Policy with Long-Term Goals

SESSIONS: Current Estimate of Climate Change Risk; Setting Long-term Goals: Bali, the Large Emitters, and the G8; Short-term Mitigation: The U.S., E.U. and Japan; Deforestation and Forest Degradation; Adaptation; Financing the Transition
March 2008

GCF XXVII: Challenges to Low-CO2 Energy Supply at Proposed Scale and Pace

SESSIONS: Scale Implications of Energy Growth plus Policy Targets; Nuclear Power; Coal with CO2 Capture and Storage; Biofuels; Solar and Wind Power; Policy Needs of the Transformation
June 2007

GCF XXVI: Coping with Climate Change

SESSIONS: The Scale and Timing of the Mitigation Change; Renewables at Large Scale; The Science of Geoengineering; International Institutions and Geoengineering; Anticipatory Adaptation; Climate Policy Developments in the U.S.
October 2006

GCF XXV: Opening up Climate Policy: Perspectives Beyond the Kyoto Protocol

SESSIONS: EU Emissions Trading Scheme — Review of Phase 1 and preparing for Phase 2; Will Climate Policy Benefit from the EU Policy Agenda?; The Effectiveness of Existing Policies and Measures in Greenhouse Gas Mitigation; The Adequacy of Current Forecasts of Climate Change; Evaluation of the Role of Adaptation in Climate Policy; Possible Dimensions of Future International Climate Negotiations
January 2006

GCF XXIV: Long-Term Goals for Climate Policy: Stabilization and Alternatives

SESSIONS: Ongoing Stabilization Scenario Exercises; Stabilization Calculations: The Role of Threshold Processes, Issues in Definition and Expression of Results; Meta Benefit-Cost Analysis of Stabilization: Defining "Danger"; The Role of Stabilization Levels in Climate Policy; Status and Prospects for Post-2012 Negotiations
March 2005

GCF XXIII: Research to Inform Climate Policy: Identifying the Critical Gaps

SESSIONS: Science: Improving Forecasts of Climate Change; Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change;Technology: Electric Generation; Transportation; Public and Private Inducement of Innovation and Technical Change; International Cooperation in Science, R&D, and Technology Transfer
June 2004

GCF XXII: Broadening Climate Discussions: The Linkage of Climate Change to Other Policy Areas

SESSIONS: International Trade; Agriculture and Land Use; Air Pollution Control; Energy Security; Economic Development and International Aid; Urban Development and Coastal Protection; Prospects for an International Climate Regime
October 2003

GCF XXI: Climate Uncertainty, Long-Term Goals, and Current Mitigation Effort

SESSIONS: Scenarios and Uncertainty Analysis of Future Emissions; Uncertainty in Climate Projections; Determination of Atmospheric Goals Under Uncertainty; Preparing Risk Results for Public Communication; Relating Long-Term Goals to Current Mitigation Policy; Next Steps in Climate Negotiations
January 2003

GCF XX: Instabilities in the Human-Climate System

SESSIONS: Ocean Processes: Current Theory and the Paleo Record; Polar Processes: Trends and Instabilities; Land Ecosystems: Rapid Change and Possible Irreversibilities; Ocean Biodiversity and Biological Processing; Sub-National vs. National Climate Policy Programs; The Future of a Fragmented Climate Regime
June 2002

GCF XIX: Managing Fragmented Climate Regimes

SESSIONS: The Evolving State of the Climate Regime; Emerging Trading Systems; Trade Balance and Competitiveness Issues; The Role of Regional Climate Forecasts in Policy; Linkages between Climate and Air Pollution; Forces Pushing for Convergence
October 2001

GCF XVIII: Paths to a Workable Climate Regime

SESSIONS: Uncertainty in Human-Climate Interaction; The IPCC TAR: What's New and Implications for Policy; Knitting National Responses into Global Agreement; A Long-Term "Solution"?: Alternatives to Conventional Fossil Technology; A Short-Term "Bridge"?: The Promise and Problems of Sinks; The Outlook for a Workable Climate Regime
January 2001

GCF XVII: Designing Post-Kyoto Mechanisms

SESSIONS: Review and Analysis of the Results of COP-6; The Future of Annex B Commitments; The Role of CDM, With and Without Entry into Force; Greenhouse Gas Mitigation and Urban/Regional Pollution Control; Regional Climate Projection and Adaptation Aid; Long-term Issues: Accession and Convergence
June 2000

GCF XVI: Key Non-Linearities and Uncertainty in Climate Policy

SESSIONS: Ocean Response and the Stabiity of the Thermohaline Circulation; Aerosols and Clouds; The Response of the Terrestrial Biosphere; Integration of Components Into Overall Uncerainty Analysis; Emission Control Decisions Uncer Uncertainty; Progress of the Climate Negotiations and Expectations for COP-6
November 1999

GCF XV: Definitions, Measurement, and Monitoring in Climate Policy

SESSIONS: Detection of Climate Change and Calibration of Climate Models; Measurment, Monitoring, and Envorcement of Carbon Sinks; Interpreting the "Danger" Goal in the Climate Convention; The Use of GWPs in Climate Agreements; Interaction of Air Pollution Control and Global Change; Measurement and Implementation in National Permit Trading Systems
January 1999

GCF XIV: Easing the Burdens of Emissions Control

SESSIONS: The Biophysical Potential of Forest and Agricultural Sinks; Economics and Policy of Sinks; The Potential for Other Gases; Technology Options for Utilities; Technology Options in Transportation; Integrated Emissions Trading
June 1998

GCF XIII: Climate Assessment and Policy Development after Kyoto

SESSIONS: Detection and Attribution of Climate Change; New Developments in the Science of Climate Change; New Dimensions in the IPCC Assessment Process; Implementation of Annex I Flexibility: Bubbles, Trading and Joint Implementation; Implementation and Extension of Provisions Involving Non-Annex I Parties; Prospects for Ratification and Implementation of the Kyoto Protocol
September 1997

GCF XII: Effects of Global Change on Natural and Human Systems

SESSIONS: Health Effects of Potential Climate Change; Effects on Agriculture and Forestry; Effects on Water Supply and Quality; Biodiversity, Ecosystem Function, and Effects of Climate Change; Integrating Global Change Effects for Policy Analysis and Public Communication; Prospects for Kyoto
January 1997

GCF XI: The Berlin Mandate: Progress, Prospects, and Aftermath

SESSIONS: Interpreting the Results to Date in the Ad-Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate; The Likely Climate and Economic Effects of Stabilization Proposals; Greenhouse Policy Architecture and Institutions; The Lessons from Sulfur Trading for Carbon Policy; Prospects for Reconciling the Competing Interests in COP-3; Beyond COP-3
June 1996

GCF X: Burden Sharing Under the Climate Convention

SESSIONS: Recent Assessments of Climate Change: "Fingerprints" and Forecasts; Joint Implementation: Definition; Analysis, and Implementation; Common Policies and Measures: Leading Proposals, Analysis of Effectiveness, and Distribution of Burdens; Mulit-Gas Control Proposals: Analysis and Implementation; The Interaction of Local Pollution Control and Global Emissions Policies; The Development, Transfer, and Diffusion of Improved Technical Options; Targets, Common Measures, and Burden Sharing: The "Architecture" of Policy Emerging in the Ad-Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate
November 1995

GCF IX: Handling Uncertainty in Assessment of Climate Change Policy

SESSIONS: Framing the Policy Issues: The Relevance of Uncertainty to Current Choices; Analysis of Uncertainty in Large Modeling Systems; "Fingerprints" of Climate Change: Probing the Content of Observational Data; Limits to Predictability in Climate Analysis; Interactions and Feedbacks in the MIT Climate Change Framework; The Status of Climate Negotiations and 1995 IPCC Reports
May 1995

GCF VIII: The Role of Science in the Climate Convention

SESSIONS: The Berlin Conference and the Future of the FCCC; Climate Prediction: Key Issues and Future Resolution; Ecosystem Impacts: Accommodating Transients and Uncertainty; Integrated Assessment: Case Analysis Using the MIT Framework; Scientific Progress and Policy Influence Since 1988; The Science Advisory Process: Are We Communicating?
October 1994

GCF VII: Economic Components of Climate Policy Analysis

SESSIONS: Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Policy Cost: Detailed Regional and Sectoral Modeling; Long-Term GHG Emissions: Econometric Evidence; Characterizing Resources, Technology and Cost; Analysis of Key Developing Countries; Linking Emissions to Atmospheric Concentrations; Policy Analysis of GHG "Stabilization"
June 1994

GCF VI: Climate Change: Potential Impacts and Policy Response

SESSIONS: Climate Change: Potential Impacts and Policy Response; Sea Level Rise; Storm Tracks and Intensity; Agriculture and Water Resources; Climate Effects on Natural Ecosystems; Likely Developments in the Framework Convention on Climate Change; Policies and Prospects for Greenhouse Gase Stabilization in the OECD and Developing Countries
October 1993

GCF V: Integrated Assessment of Climate Change

SESSIONS: Overview of the Integrated Assessment Task; Issues in Modeling Climate; Measuring and Modeling Effects of Global Change; Formulting Policy Choices Given Uncertainty and Irreversibility; Analysis of Economic and Energy Interactions; Next Steps in Integrated Assessment
April 1993

GCF IV: Capture and Utilization Options for Greenhouse Gases

SESSIONS: Capture and Utilization Options; Land Disposal: Capacity, Transportation and Safety; Ocean Disposal: Circulation, Chemistry and the Engineering Options; Cost Assessment, and Implications for Future Work; The Future of the Framework Convention on Climate Change; Future Activity of the IPCC and the Role of Independent Integrated Studies
October 1992

GCF III: The Role of Developing Countries in the Climate Change Issue

SESSIONS: The Business Role in Greenhouse Gas Strategies for Developing Countries; Effects of GHG Control Policies on Developing Countries; Climate Change at Regional Scale: Observations, and Predictions; Agricultural Impacts of Potential Climate Change; Integrated Analysis of Climate Change
March 1992

GCF II: The Agenda for Action After the Rio de Janeiro UNCED Conference

SESSIONS: Review and Discussion of IPCC Update; Emerging Science Issues Important for Policy; The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee Process After Brazil; Mitigation Policies; Information and Analysis Needs, Post-Brazil
September 1991

GCF I: Key Issues in the Framework for an Integrated Study of Climate Change

SESSIONS: Climate Prediction for Policy Analysis; Global Greenhouse Gas Budgets; Cost Analysis of Control Policies; LDC St