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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 3, MARCH 1991

REPORTS...
INTERNATIONAL


Item #d91mar51

The State of the Environment, Org. for Econ. Coop. & Devel., 300 pp., Jan. 1991. Available for $29.95 from OECD Pubs., 2001 L St. NW, S-700, Washington DC 20036 (202-785-6323), or from OECD, 2 rue Andre-Pascal, 75016 Paris, France.

(See related News item, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Mar. 1991.) This third OECD report on the state of the environment reviews environmental progress achieved over the past two decades, and identifies an agenda for the 1990s. It emphasizes the relationship between economic growth and structural changes in the OECD countries, and places its analysis in the context of world ecological and economic interdependence. It draws on extensive contributions of data from member countries, and as such constitutes a substantial reference.

International challenges of the 1990s will be to ensure that newly formed international agreements will become realities; to supplement them to address newly emerging problems like climatic change; to monitor improvements in the international environment and contributions of different countries; to promote the integration of environmental concerns into trade and aid policies.

Included as a separate 80-page volume is Environmental Indicators--A Preliminary Set, containing indicators suitable for the integration of environmental and economic decision making at the national and international levels. The project was prompted in part by the G-7 economic summits in Paris (1989) and Houston (1990).


Item #d91mar52

State of the World 1991, L.R. Brown, A. Durning et al., 254 pp., Feb. 1991. Worldwatch Inst., 1776 Mass. Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036 (202-452-1999); $19.95 hbk./$10.95 pbk.

This eighth Worldwatch report emphasizes environmental taxes as a means by which nations can speed the transition to an environmentally sustainable economy. Eight possible taxes are analyzed including one on the carbon content of fuels, important for controlling greenhouse warming. Although several European countries have recently initiated such taxes, they will have to be raised substantially to spur major changes in energy use. Also discussed is the World Bank, which the report concludes still needs environmental reform and grossly underfunds new priorities such as energy efficiency.


Item #d91mar53

Methane Emissions and Opportunities for Control, IPCC Response Strategies Working Group, 180 pp., Sep. 1990. Available (no charge) from Kathleen Hogan, Off. Air & Radiation, U.S. EPA, 401 M St. SW, Washington DC 20460 (202-475-9304).

Based on two workshops sponsored by the Japan Environment Agency and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in support of the IPCC. The Agricultural, Forestry and Other Human Activities Subgroup dealt with flooded rice fields and livestock; the Energy and Industry Subgroup covered natural gas systems, coal mining and waste management systems. Concludes that control of increasing methane levels is an important opportunity to address climatic change. It may be possible to stabilize methane concentrations with control options identified here that are profitable or low-cost, but additional analysis is necessary. A variety of international control mechanisms, such as economic incentives, market mechanisms and technological means, should be considered as alternatives to regulatory "command and control" approaches that require emission rollbacks.


Item #d91mar54

Tradeable Permits and Greenhouse Gas Reductions: Some Issues for U.S. Negotiators (G-90-06), D.G. Victor, 60 pp., 1990. Available from Public. Dept., Energy & Environ. Policy Ctr., Kennedy Sch. Govt., Harvard Univ., 79 JFK St., Cambridge MA 02138 (617-495-1350).

Difficulties in monitoring and verification of emissions from each country prevent the implementation of a comprehensive, global system of tradeable permits covering all greenhouse gases. The costs of developing and monitoring a verification scheme for methane emissions, for example, may consume much of the economic benefit of a tradeable permit approach. Recommends a stepwise approach beginning with a system for CO2, which is best understood; as knowledge advances, it may be possible to add N2O in the near future.


Item #d91mar55

The International Politics of the Global Climate Change Issue, J.B. Shlaes, 29 pp. Jan. 1991. Available (no charge) from the author at Edison Elec. Inst., 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington DC 20004 (202-508-5000).

The author was a nongovernmental observer (NGO) representing international business and industry at the Feb. 1991 meeting of the U.N. International Negotiating Committee. Originally developed as an academic presentation, this summarizes and comments on the recent activities and policy development of the United Nations, the United States, interest groups and their role in U.N. functions as NGOs, and the World Bank. One conclusion: the cooperation of industry will be necessary for any progress in debating CO2 and other emissions.


Item #d91mar56

The Greenhouse Effect: Implications for Economic Development (Disc. Paper 78), E.A. Arrhenius, T.W. Waltz, 18 pp., 1990. Order from World Bank Public., 1818 H St. NW, Washington DC 20433 (202-473-2941); $5.95.

The main themes are why the development community should be concerned about possible climatic change, and the possible role of economic development in mitigating and adjusting to change. The development community should outline a research and policy program for sustainable economic development that emphasizes efficiency in the energy sector.


Item #d91mar57

Biomass Burning and Ozone Depletion: An Assessment of the Problem and Its Implications for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, Annie Makhijani, Arjun Makhijani, 44 pp., Nov. 1990. Available from Inst. for Energy & Environ. Res., 6935 Laurel Pk. MD 20912 (301-270-5500), or Inst. für Energie-und Umweltforschung Heidelberg e.V., Im Sand 5, 6900 Heidelberg, FRG (tel:(011-49) 6221-10101).

One form of atmospheric chlorine that has been ignored in international policy is methyl chloride. The relative contributions of natural and human sources are still unclear, but human activities probably contribute 20-30% of methyl chloride, mainly from biomass burning. Scientific and policy recommendations are made; the latter include elimination of Amazon forest burning by 1995, and reduction of other biomass burning by roughly 50% over the next 15-20 years.

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