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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

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

FROM VOLUME 4, NUMBER 1, JANUARY 1991

PERIODICALS


Item #d91jan104

"An Assault on the Climate Consensus," J. Gribbin, New Scientist, 26-29, 31, Dec. 15, 1990.

A critical examination of the controversial Marshall Institute report, considered to be wielding undue influence on U.S. greenhouse warming policy. Concludes that the scientific evidence for the report's arguments is insufficient. "Frost Fairs and Sunspots: The Climate's Natural Cycles" by B. Burroughs (p. 30) discusses use of the historical record of climatic fluctuations to assess natural variation and the role of fluctuations in solar output.


Item #d91jan105

"Global Warming: Back to the Future," J. Hecht, New Scientist, 38-41, Dec. 1, 1990.

The U.S. Geological Survey's Pliocene Research Interpretation and Synoptic Mapping (PRISM) project is collecting and analyzing data on ocean temperature, ice coverage, precipitation, sea level, and distribution of plants and animals during that time. Although the Earth was not at its warmest, for several reasons this period offers the best window to a warmer planet. The project will attempt to determine why the Earth was warmer then and will also assess the application of general circulation models to a greenhouse world.


Item #d91jan106

"How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too: Tomorrow's Energy," C. Sagan, Parade Magazine, 10-15, Nov. 25, 1990.

Gives an overview of energy consumption and associated past, current, and potential future environmental costs (ozone hole, greenhouse effect). Recommends that the United States make major investments in improving solar, wind and renewable energy technologies (which are more competitive with fossil and nuclear fuels when all true costs are accounted for), and in planting trees. These actions would also have subsidiary benefits.


Item #d91jan107

"Prudent Planning for a Warmer Planet," S. Schneider, New Scientist, 49-51, Nov. 17, 1990.

Action taken now against the possibility of global warming, even if only as an insurance policy, will result in other economic and environmental benefits. Recommends flexibility in adaptation and high leverage strategies and rethinking of ideologically rigid positions.


Item #d91jan108

"Ozone: The Burden of Proof," K. Warr, ibid., 36-40, Oct. 27, 1990.

Concern about and evolving understanding of the ozone layer dates from at least the early 1970s, when the impact of supersonic transport planes was debated. Uses the discovery of the ozone hole over Antarctica, which led to the Montreal Protocol on limiting the use of chlorofluorocarbons, as an example where international agreement can come about without an elusive ingredient--scientific certainty.


Item #d91jan109

"High and Dry in the Global Greenhouse," F. Pearce, ibid., 34-37, Nov. 10, 1990.

Global warming potentially has great consequences for the water supply--some agricultural regions could become wetter, while other areas could suffer drought. A conflict has developed between climate modelers (who predict dust bowls and desiccated crops) and agriculturists (who see an agricultural Eden with abundant water).


Item #d91jan110

"How to Stop Global Warming," J. Goldemberg (Secy. of State Sci./Technol. for Brazil; Phys. Dept., Univ. Sao Paulo), Technol. Rev., 25-31, Nov.-Dec. 1990.

Although the developed world has become more energy efficient and has moved toward a service economy now that major infrastructures are in place, other countries with larger populations will use more energy as they become industrialized. Advocates a carbon tax ($1 per barrel of oil equivalent) to generate funds for the transition of the less developed countries to an ecologically more benign economy and to slow the increase in greenhouse gases.


Item #d91jan111

"Saving the Climate Saves Money," C. Flavin, N. Lenssen, World Watch, 26-33, Dec. 1990.

Cutting energy use will not entail economic sacrifice, as those in the White House would have people believe. Improvements in energy efficiency alone can achieve a 20% cut in the carbon emissions of industrialized countries by the year 2010. Strategies to reduce greenhouse emissions that are economical in their own right will be the most successful.


Item #d91jan112

"Who Should Pay for Global Warming?" D. Helm, New Scientist, 36-39, Nov. 3, 1990.

This first article in a series examining the changing climate considers taxes on greenhouse gases, stating that controlling their emissions must be accomplished on an international level. Suggests that setting allowed pollutant levels through negotiations between government and industry does not work as well as would allowing the marketplace to decide through techniques such as carbon taxes and marketable permits. "Lessons from the Past: What People Do when Energy Costs More" (S. Boyle, p. 38), accompanies this article.


Item #d91jan113

Issues in Science and Technology, 7(1), Fall 1990. Contains a special section, "Global Warming: What to Do Next."

"The Making of a Greenhouse Policy," D.A. Bromley (Director, U.S. Off. Sci. Technol. Policy), 55-61. Uncertainties in computer modeling, the geological record and global temperature records, have been cited by the 1990 reports of the three working groups of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These in themselves do not argue for inaction on global warming, but render policy making difficult. Summarizes the Bush Administration's policies on global change and a possible framework convention on global change.

"The Missing Data on Global Climate Change," J. Hansen, W. Rossow, I. Fung (all NASA Goddard Inst. Space Studies, New York), 62-69. Important parameters relating to global change are not being measured and will not be until decade's end unless inexpensive, small satellites are launched soon. These would complement planned large polar orbiting platforms and would be compatible with NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. Elaborates on those additional parameters to be measured as they relate to climate forcing, climate feedback and climate change diagnostics.

"Rethinking the Economics of Global Warming," A. Miller, I. Mintzer, P.G. Brown (all Univ. Maryland), 70-73. Despite their limitations, models that assess the economic consequences of policies to limit global warming have unfortunately been ignored. They can be useful in investigating scenarios for policy directions and research needs, such as pointing the way toward minimizing costs during implementation of policies. A World Research Institute model has shown that an aggressive response to greenhouse gas emissions can be reconciled with vigorous and equitable economic growth.


Item #d91jan114

"Up in the Air," O. Tickell, New Scientist, 41-43, Oct. 20, 1990.

About 400,000 tons of CFC substitutes are expected to be released annually into the environment early in the next century, yet little is known about their environmental effects or about the effects of degradation by-products on the biosphere. Concern has been expressed about the production and potential dangers of a possible breakdown product, trifluoroacetic acid.


Item #d91jan115

"Global Warming Trends," P.D. Jones, T.M.L. Wigley, Scientific Amer., 84-91, Aug. 1990.

Reports on a 10-year analysis of a variety of global temperature trends from land and marine records dating as far back as 300 years. Gives details about the process of correcting records from various sources. Unequivocally concludes that global temperatures have risen by 0.5 C since the late 19th century.


Item #d91jan116

"Global Warming: No Nuclear Quick Fix," A. Miller, I. Mintzer, Bull. Atomic Sci., 31-34. A crash program to build new nuclear power facilities would not necessarily reduce the risks of global warming. The energy required for all stages in completing a plant (mining, construction, fuel enrichment, waste disposal) could result in an increase in carbon emissions rather than a decrease.

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