February 28, 2007
GCRIO Program Overview
Our extensive collection of documents.
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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
"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
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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
"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).
"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.
"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.
"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.
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
"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.
"Up in the Air," O. Tickell, New Scientist, 41-43, Oct.
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.
"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.
"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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