February 28, 2007
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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 5, NUMBER 12, DECEMBER 1992
GENERAL INTEREST AND POLICY
Two items from Ambio, 21(6), Sep. 1992:
"Stabilizing Atmospheric Concentrations: Towards International Methane
Control," J. Rotmans (Dept. Math., RIVM, POB 1, 3720 Bilthoven, Neth.),
M.G.J. den Elzen et al., 404-413.
An international policy on methane need not wait until carbon dioxide
controls have been settled. Model calculations indicate that a 10% reduction of
current methane emissions combined with stabilization of carbon monoxide
emissions by 2025 would probably stabilize methane at present levels. Controls
of CFCs, HCFCs and NOx would have an adverse effect on methane concentrations,
requiring greater methane reductions. An international protocol on methane
should focus on technology transfer and increased research especially in
"Using Tropical Forests to Fix Atmospheric Carbon: The Potential in
Theory and Practice," T.D. Bekkering (DVH Consultants, ARD Dept., POB 1399,
3800 BJ Amersfoort, Neth.), 414-419.
Based on predictions of population growth and land use in 117 tropical
countries as well as wood utilization trends and market developments, the
maximum potential for two strategies are evaluated: forest conservation and
forest expansion. For sequestering CO2, 15 countries have major potential for
conservation, while afforestation should be concentrated in 11 countries.
However, the contribution to reducing atmospheric CO2 levels is at best
moderate, and dramatic increases in activities of the Forestry Action Plan
would be required.
Two items from Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 73(10), Oct.
"Global Warming: A Reduced Threat?" P.J. Michaels (Dept. Environ.
Sci., Univ. Virginia, Charlottesville VA 22903), D.E. Stooksbury, 1563-1577.
Examines evidence bearing on the currently popular apocalyptic vision of
climate change, such as temperature histories and trace gas concentrations,
artificial warming from urban heat islands, high-latitude and diurnal
temperatures, direct effects of increased CO2 on vegetation, and compensatory
cooling from anthropogenic sulfate aerosols. The sensitivity of climate to
anthropogenic aerosols, and the general lack of previously predicted global
warming could drastically alter the debate in favor of less expensive policies.
"Shifts in Perceptions of Climate Change: A Delphi Experiment
Revisited," S.A. Changnon (Illinois St. Water Survey, 2204 Griffith Dr.,
Champaign IL 61820), W.M. Wendland, J.M. Changnon, 1623-1627.
Compares results of similar polls of atmospheric scientists in the
midwestern U.S. made in 1982 and in 1992, concerning their perceptions of
current climate trends and the climate-change issue. In both polls, a large
majority believed that information being presented to them on the topic was
confusing to them and to the lay public. Half the 1992 respondents believed that
evidence that a change in climate will occur was convincing, up from 20% in
1982. In 1992 half thought enhanced global warming had begun, and half did not.
"Profitably Stabilizing Global Climate," A.B. Lovins (Rocky Mtn.
Inst., 1739 Snowmass Creek Rd., Snowmass CO 81654), L.H. Lovins, Clim.
Change, 22(2), 89-94, Oct. 1992.
Summarizes a more extensive paper (pp. 433-531 in Annual Rev. Energy &
Environ., 1991, listed in GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST,
Books/Energy, Oct. 1992) by countering ten prevalent myths about avoiding
climate change, for instance, that abating climate change would be costly, and
that if cost-effective abatements were available, they would already have been
Immediately following is a rebuttal by W.R. Cline (Inst. Intl. Econ., 11
Dupont Cir. NW, Washington DC 20036), who finds the implication that global
warming can easily be resolved at a profit is detrimental to the policy debate;
the fundamental mistake of the Lovinses is to confuse one-time shifts in
efficiency with very long-term trends.
Two items from Environment, 34(8), Oct. 1992:
"How Should We Judge UNCED's Success?" P.M. Haas (Dept. Political
Sci., Univ. Massachusetts, Amherst MA 01003), M.A. Levy, E.A. Parson, 6-11,
"A Summary of the Major Documents Signed at the Earth Summit and the
Global Forum," E.A. Parson (Kennedy Sch. Govt., Harvard Univ., Cambridge MA
02138), P.M. Haas, M.A. Levy, 12-15, 34-36.
"Institutions for the Earth: Promoting International Environmental
Protection," M.A. Levy (Dept. Political Sci., Princeton Univ., Princeton NJ
08544), P.M. Haas, R.O. Keohane, ibid., 34(4), 12-17, 29-36, May
International environmental protection may only come with the assistance of
international institutions that promote states' sovereignty. Analyzes the roles
such institutions have played in problems such as ozone depletion and acid rain.
Includes a section on greenhouse gas negotiations.
"A Proposal in Observation of Biosphere Day: Repairing the Biosphere
through a Global Commons Trust Fund," C.D. Stone (Law Ctr., Univ. Southern
California, Los Angeles CA 90089), Environ. Conserv., 19(1),
3-5, Spr. 1992.
Proposes a fund for correcting and preventing global environmental damage,
to be raised as user fees on common resources. These would take the form of
taxes on carbon-based fuels, certain pollutants, waste dumping in the oceans,
ocean fishing and the like. Explains how the necessary infrastructure exists,
and how this proposal differs from others.
"Future Concentrations of Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases CO2, CFC, and
CH4: An Assessment on the Educational Level," S. Hoppenau (M. Planck Inst.
Meteor., Bundesstr. 55, D-2000, Hamburg 13, Ger.), Amer. J. Phys., 60(5),
408-415, May 1992.
Describes a model, designed as a teaching tool, that is suitable for a
personal computer, and takes into account CO2, CFC and CH4 emissions, and
deforestation and population growth.
"Barry Commoner: Making Peace with the Planet," K.A. Strasser
(Law School, Univ. Connecticut, Storrs CT 06269), Ecology Law Quart.,
19(2), 413-430, 1992. In a lengthy review of Commoner's book (Pantheon
Books, 292 pp., 1990, $19.95), the author concludes that policy makers must
realize how economics and politics are essential for crafting a more effective
"Adapting to Climate Change: A Study of International Rivers and
Their Legal Arrangements," G. Goldenman (Comm. European Communities,
Environ. Directorate, Brussels, Belg.), ibid., 17(4), 741-802,
1990. Examines the legal and institutional arrangements among nations which
share rivers, to assess what can be done now to develop peaceful, equitable and
cooperative ways of accommodating and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
"Towards Sustainable Development," R.E. Munn (Inst. Environ.
Studies, Univ. Toronto, Toronto ON M5S 1A4, Can.), Atmos. Environ., 26A(15),
2725-2731, Oct. 1992.
Considers the meaning, history and application to the future of sustainable
development. Because long-term environmental policy formation always involves
uncertainty, there is an urgent need for methods of policy formation that leave
options open and permit continuous review and adaptation of policies. Examples
from Canada and IIASA in Austria are discussed.
Guide to Publishers
Index of Abbreviations