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Global Warming

A Guide to Finding Government and Legal Information

Web version of this guide includes links to web resources.

Search Tips:

Mix and match these terms in searching the library catalog, WestCat , or use them to search journal articles and law reviews via the library's Databases page. You can also use them to search government information sites listed on our Starting Points page - click the tab and pay particular attention to the Top Six.

  • global warming
  • climate change
  • climatic changes
  • government policy
  • political aspects
  • environmental policy
  • climate variability
  • ocean acidification
  • ice age or glaciers
  • carbon cycle/dioxide/tax
  • ecosystems
  • carbon sequestration
  • hydrocarbons or methane
  • cap and trade
  • greenhouse effect/gases
  • Kyoto Protocol
  • Copenhagen Accord
  • international cooperation
  • rainforests
  • alternative energy
  • polar ice caps
  • permafrost


Related Topics:
  • endangered species
  • migration
  • pollution

An important source for many research topics is Congress. Congressional committees and subcommittees hold hearings on a wide variety of controversial and timely subjects. Simply add the word "hearing?" to a search string in WestCat .

Search Engines

Google and StartPage
Use these search engines to search for government information by typing "site:gov" in the search box preceding your search terms:

  • site:gov "climate change"
  • site:mil global warming

Main Government Websites
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in 1990, this website assesses the state of knowledge on climate change and provides scientific, technical, and socio-economic advice to the world on the issue of climate change. - U.S. Global Change Research Program

Thirteen federal agencies work together to study climate change and prepare the nation. Also, check out the Fourth National Climate Assessment, V. I , V. II. (NOAA)

Lots and lots of information here: teaching climate by age range, videos and animations explaining issues related to climate science, map applications showing ocean temps or precipitation, and more.

U.S. Climate Atlas (NOAA)

This basic tool shows a map of the country with maximum or minimum temperature or precipitation for each month back to January 1895.

America's Climate Choices (2011)

This report, along with the four reports that preceded it, can be read online. Topics include: environmental quality and health, ecology, the ocean, ecosystems, and environmental health.

Global Climate Change: National Security Implications

This 400+ page report is the product of a 2-day colloquium on the potential national security implications of global climate change, but includes so much more, including a paper on the history of the study of climate change and another on the science behind it.

Agency Websites on Climate Change


Illinois Government Information
Report of the Illinois Climate Change Advisory Group

This 2008 report from an advisory group created by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2006, which included representatives from all facets of the Illinois economy, discusses a list of recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by Illinois industries and citizens to 1990 levels by 2020.

Climate Change in Illinois

This webpage from the State Climatologist Office discusses what climate change will mean for Illinois.

Legal Information
"Duty and Breach in an Era of Uncertainty: Local Government Liability for Failure to Adapt to Climate Change"

This article examines the elements required to prove liability under tort law and imagines tort law to be an effective avenue in advocating for adaptations to mitigate the effects of coming climate changes.
George Mason Law Review. Vol. 20, pp.775-802, spring 2013 use the Journals tab on the Library webpage.

Subject Guides