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 5, MAY 1992
GENERAL INTEREST AND POLICY
"A Comprehensive Approach to Climate Policy: Reconciling Long-Term
Needs with Short-Term Concerns," R.J. Swart (Bruce Co., Washington, D.C.),
Intl. J. Environ. Aff., 4(1), 35-55, Winter 1992.
In international climate negotiations, the U.S. has recently favored a
comprehensive approach that takes account of all sources and sinks of greenhouse
gases. As the only approach that can ultimately control climate change, that has
both environmental and economic benefits, it should be a guiding principle of
any international agreement as well as for research, monitoring and technology
transfer. To avoid delaying development of currently cost-effective or useful
policies, a two-phase introduction is proposed. In the first five to ten years,
experience would be gained by national and international arrangements and would
form a basis for designing quantitative objectives or implementation mechanisms.
They would focus on fossil CO2 emissions, and possibly chlorofluorocarbons,
methane, and net biotic CO2 emissions (balance of deforestation and
reforestation). The second phase would involve a multinational system with a
full comprehensive approach.
"Verifying Compliance with an International Convention on Greenhouse
Gases," J.C. di Primio (KFA Res. Ctr., Jülich, Ger.), G. Stein, H.F.
Wagner, Environment, 34(2), 4-5, 45, Mar. 1992.
In contrast to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, on-site inspection and
surveillance aimed at establishing material balance is inappropriate as an
international verification system for greenhouse gases. Proposes a system
whereby national agencies determine their countries' emissions in terms of
reliable calculations or proxies, and declare this information to an
international organization which would verify it through audits and other checks
of reliability. A global inventory of anthropogenic emissions and related data
is an urgent need.
"Effects of Fuel and Forest Conservation on Future Levels of
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide," J.C.G. Walker (Dept. Atmos. Sci., Univ.
Michigan, Ann Arbor MI 48109), J.F. Kasting, Global Planet. Change, 5(3),
151-189, Mar. 1992.
Presents a numerical simulation of the global biogeochemical cycles of
carbon extending from years to millions of years, which includes the ocean,
atmosphere and minerals, and accounts for the fertilization effect of elevated
CO2 levels. It reproduces reasonably well the historical record of CO2 levels
over the past 200 years in response to fossil fuel burning and land use changes.
Although the fertilization effect of increased CO2 currently outweighs the
effects of forest clearance, future CO2 levels are very sensitive to the fate of
forests. Atmospheric levels of CO2 below 500 ppm could be sustained indefinitely
if fossil fuel combustion rates were immediately cut by a factor of 25, and if
forest clearance halted.
Three items from Science, 256(5053), Apr. 3, 1992:
"Fugitive Carbon Dioxide: It's Not Hiding in the Ocean," R.A.
Kerr, p. 35. (See Research News, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST issue--May
"Oceanic Uptake of Fossil Fuel CO2: Carbon-13 Evidence," P.D. Quay
(Sch. Oceanog., Univ. Washington, Seattle WA 98195), B. Tilbrook, C.S. Wong,
The net amount of CO2 taken up by the oceans and released from the biosphere
between 1970 and 1990 have been determined from the changes in three measured
values: atmospheric CO2, its delta 13C value, and the delta 13C of dissolved
inorganic carbon in the ocean. The result, a net ocean uptake of 2.1 gigatons
per year, implies that the ocean is the dominant net sink for anthropogenic CO2
and that there has been no significant net CO2 released from the biosphere
during the last 20 years.
"Biomass and Carbon Budget of European Forests, 1971 to 1990,"
P.E. Kauppi (Finnish For. Res. Inst., Unioninkatu 40 A, SF-00170 Helsinki,
Finland), K. Mielikäinen, K. Kuusela, 70-74.
Based on measurements from six western European countries, concludes that
biomass has increased in the 1970s and 1980s in forests of Europe, despite
adverse effects of air pollution. If there has been a similar increase on other
continents, biomass accumulation in nontropical forests can account for much of
the estimated mismatch between sinks and sources of atmospheric CO2.
"Global Environmental Change Issues in the Western Indian Ocean
Region," F.J. Gable (Coastal Res. Ctr., Woods Hole Oceanog. Inst., Woods
Hole MA 02543), D.G. Aubrey, J.H. Gentile, Geoforum, 22(4),
Sets into a regional context for countries on the east coast of Africa the
problems arising from changes in global climate, focusing on the coastal zone. A
regional strategy is needed to address the following: acquisition of tide-gauge
and other data to estimate relative sea-level rise; alteration of regional and
local activities that may contribute to greenhouse gas emissions; policies to
minimize impacts from possible future relative sea-level rise and meteorological
changes; and linkages between potential climate changes and present
anthropogenic stress on the environment.
"The MINK Project: A New Methodology for Identifying Regional
Influences of, and Responses to, Increasing Atmospheric CO2 and Climate Change,"
N.J. Rosenberg (Clim. Prog., Resour. for the Future, 1616 P St., Washington DC
20036), P.R. Crosson, Environ. Conserv., 18(4), 313-322, Winter
This major study of impacts on the total economy of the
Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-Kansas (MINK) region included possibilities of response
and adaptation, and intersectoral linkages. The method developed is not
scenario-dependent and has potential for application to other regions. Results
indicate that impacts of projected change would be profound for agriculture, but
substantial adaptation would be possible; current water resource limits would
intensify and irrigation would shift eastward; impacts on forestry would be
severe with little opportunity for adaptation, unless biomass production becomes
economically viable. (See related reports, GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST,
Reports/Impacts, Oct. 1991.)
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