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At an October 2005 conference sponsored by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and held in Aspen, Colorado, more than a hundred leading scientists, policymakers, journalists, and leaders from business, religion and civil society identified the critical need for a central authoritative source for climate change information. A broad group of climate experts later confirmed this need during a November 2006 New York meeting convened by James Gustave Speth, Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. At roughly the same time, in Palo Alto, California, The 11th Hour Project began organizing with the mission to popularize good information about global warming solutions, using the power of Silicon Valley scientists, entrepreneurs, and inventors.

These meetings inspired the idea for Climate Central, which took shape early in 2008 with seed money from The Flora Family Foundation and development funds from 11th Hour Project.

Climate Central’s founding board members were Jane Lubchenco, Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology and Distinguished Professor of Zoology at Oregon State University; Stephen Pacala, Petrie Professor of Biology and Director of Princeton’s Institute for the Environment; and Wendy Schmidt, founder of The 11th Hour Project.

Climate Central is an independent nonprofit organization, a 501(c)(3) public charity headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey and with an office in Palo Alto, California.