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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d90nov49

"Global Warming: Will It Affect Health?" B.S. Murdock, Health & Environ. Dig., 4(9), 1-3, Nov. 1990. Published at 11 issues per year by the Freshwater Foundation (POB 90, Navarre MN 55392, B.S. Murdock, Ed.). Subscription rates: $80 (govt./public sector); $105 (pvt. sector); $120 (outside N. Amer.).

Increased global temperatures will result in more frequent, long-lasting heat waves that will be more extreme in urban heat islands. Heat-related deaths will increase. Higher temperatures could also exacerbate urban air pollution; an increase in respiratory disease would be expected, particularly if O3 increases. Agriculture could be disrupted, leading to reductions in the food supply.

Item #d90nov50

"In the Ozone Hole," L.B. Young, World Monitor, 3(8), 62 ff, Aug. 1990. The writer, who visited Antarctica, gives a first-hand description of the research into the ozone hole. A major British study reported that ozone depletion is occurring faster than forecast, and is also occurring over North America and Europe.

Item #d90nov51

"The Great Climate Debate," R.M. White, Sci. American, 263(1), 36-43, July 1990.

This review and assessment of the topic concludes by recommending a "no regrets" policy, whereby the first steps to counter global warming taken are those which make sense for other economic or environmental reasons. These include energy conservation and efficiency, increased use of nonfossil energy sources, and phase-out of CFC production.

Item #d90nov52

"Cooling It," S.H. Schneider (Nat. Ctr. Atmos. Res., POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), ibid., 30-38, July 1990.

Gives an extensive discussion of the science and politics of global warming and media responses. Looks at how different disciplines view the uncertainty associated with predictions of global warming; for example, a statistician assumes that a 95% confidence level in a prediction represents a moderate probability that global warming will occur, while a policy maker might view a 50% confidence level adequate to make a decision. Concludes that the public must understand that there are greater disagreements over what to do about global warming than over the precise probability that unprecedented change is being built into 21st century climate. Greenhouse gas emissions can be cut now without taking draconian measures.

Item #d90nov53

"Scientists Studying 'The Greenhouse Effect' Challenge Fears of Global Warming," D.L. Wheeler (Asst. Editor, Chronicle of Higher Educ.), J. Forestry, 88(7), 34-36, July 1990. (Reprinted from Chronicle of Higher Educ., 1990.)

Presents diverse opinions of several scientists. For example, Richard Lindzen, Mass. Inst. Technol., calls forecasts of global warming inaccurate and fraught with uncertainty. Allan Miller, Univ. Maryland, calls this skepticism a healthy sign that will strengthen the science. NASA's James Hansen concludes that the earth has been getting warmer for the last century; however, climatologist Thomas Karl, who also reviewed temperature records, concludes that most warming over the last century occurred before the rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases. In the face of these differences of opinion, others debate whether scientific research will produce answers quickly.

Item #d90nov54

"Pro William A. Nitze," The Environ. Forum, 7(4), 15-19, July/Aug. 1990. Published by Environ. Law Inst., 1616 P St. NW, Ste. 2000, Washington DC 20036.

As Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Environment, Health and Natural Resources, Nitze chaired the U.S. National Security Council's working group on climate change and drafted Secretary of State James Baker's address to a working group of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Nitze was an advocate of strong action on climate change, but this conflicted with other top Bush administration officials, notably John Sununu. In this interview, Nitze discusses Bush administration policies and other topics.

Item #d90nov55

"Science in the Senate," Technol. Rev., 43-50, July 1990. An interview with Senator Albert Gore Jr. in which he reviews his environmental efforts past and present, such as the Strategic Environmental Initiative.

Item #d90nov56

"Sharper Focus on Greenhouse Science," J. Douglas, EPRI J., 4-13, June 1990.

Summarizes the debate relating to global warming and the implications for electric utilities. EPRI has several climate-related projects that complement federal and other research, for example, studying historical temperature trends, ocean-atmosphere interactions, forest response to CO2, and power plant NOx emissions.

Item #d90nov57

"NOAA Revived for the Green Decade," R.A. Kerr, Science, 248, 1177-1179, June 8, 1990.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a new administrator, John A. Knauss, who is being credited with vastly improved morale at the agency. Funding for the agency is also increasing and staff reportedly have recovered their sense of mission. Two emerging areas--modernization of the Weather Service and research in climate and global change--stand to gain the greatest increases in funding.

Item #d90nov58

"Report on Reports: Our Changing Planet: the FY 1990 Research Plan--The U.S. Global Change Research Program, and Its Update, Our Changing Planet: The FY 1991 U.S. Global Change Research Program," A.B. Pittock (Clim. Impacts, CSIRO, Mordialloc, Australia), Environment, 32(4), 25-28, May 1990. (See Global Climate Change Digest, REPORTS/GENERAL, Oct. 1989 and Mar. 1990 issues.)

The keys to these plans are their budgets and priorities. Programs are to be either "focused," aimed specifically at global change, or "contributing," designed for other purposes with a contribution to global change as a side benefit. One major "focused" program is to be housed in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA appears to have a dominant role in space-based observations and in data management, modeling and prediction. The plans have been criticized for giving very low priority to studying human interactions (population policy, expansion of technology, urban planning, energy inefficiency) and to earth system history (paleoclimatology). The Administration appears to view the problem of global change as a subject for technological fixes and not intimately related to population and life styles.

Item #d90nov59

"Debating GAIA," S.H. Schneider (NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), Environ., 32(4), 5-9, 29-32, May 1990.

A leading climatologist reviews the history and controversy of the Gaia hypotheses, which suggest that the earth be viewed as a whole physiological system, where complex mechanisms maintain a stable environment beneficial for life on this planet. These ideas are gaining acceptance as a legitimate science known as geophysiology. Relates Gaian principles to global warming and climate change.

Item #d90nov60

"Fueling Our Global Future," D.A. Dreyfus (Gas Res. Inst., Washington, D.C.), A.B. Ashby, ibid., 17-20, 36-41.

The United States faces two energy-related crises: an immediate need for investment in new energy supply capability, and the possibility that unless some new major energy source is introduced, dominant global reliance on coal and nuclear fission energy appears inevitable. Globally, developing nations will probably determine future trends in global energy demand.

Item #d90nov61

"Overview: On Gorbachev and Bush," ibid., 32(4), 2-3, 42.

Perspectives by W.A. Nitze and W.R. Moomaw contrast Gorbachev's and Bush's priorities regarding the environment. Gorbachev's proposals reflect a careful balance of environmental and foreign policy goals, while Bush's rhetoric clearly defines his perception of the dichotomy between economics and the environment and threatens to stalemate constructive efforts to deal with environmental problems.

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