February 28, 2007
GCRIO Program Overview
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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 8, NUMBER 4, APRIL 1995
OF GENERAL INTEREST: GENERAL AND POLICY
"Ignorance, the Precautionary Principle and
Sustainability," S.R. Dovers (Ctr. for Resour. &
Environ. Studies, Australian Natl. Univ., GPO Box 4, Canberra,
ACT 2601, Australia), J.W. Handmer, Ambio, 24(2),
92-97, Mar. 1995.
Explores decision and policy making for sustainability in the
face of pervasive scientific uncertainty, and questions the
utility of the much-vaunted precautionary principle. The latter
advocates early action to forestall possible future environmental
damages, even if they are uncertain. It is not a policy panacea,
and it is much more a political than a scientific concept. A more
detailed understanding of different types, sources and contexts
of uncertainty is required. Proposes an "ignorance auditing
framework" to this end. However, resolution of
sustainability issues will remain firmly moral and political,
despite what politicians and scientists desire or believe.
"State Roles in the Global Climate Change Issue," S.A.
Changnon (Illinois State Water Survey, 2204 Griffith Dr.,
Champaign IL 61820), Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 76(2),
227-233, Feb. 1995.
By 1994, 22 states had established laws, regulations or
research programs addressing climate change. This article
discusses the Illinois program, broader than most, which includes
a Global Climate Change Office to foster research and provide
information, and a task force to address a wide array of issues,
particularly state input to federal policies. Calls for increased
attention to regional impacts and to research on methods of
adapting to future climate change.
Economic Costs of Global Warming Damage: A Survey," S.
Frankhauser (Ctr. Social & Econ. Res. on the Global
Environment, Univ. E. Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK), Global
Environ. Change, 4(4), 301-309, Dec. 1994.
Examines primarily the comprehensive literature on the topic
of greenhouse damage valuation, which has received relatively
less attention than other economic aspects of global warming,
such as costs of mitigation. Discusses the main shortcomings of
studies to date, and the problems faced by researchers.
"China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions," V. Smil (Dept.
Geog., Univ. Manitoba, Winnipeg MB R3T 2N2, Can.), ibid.,
Already the world's second largest producer of greenhouse
emissions, China will continue to increase its emissions during
the coming generation and will almost inevitably lead the world
by 2025. Heavy reliance on coal will more than double its recent
CO2 emissions, and increased food production will lead
to greater agricultural releases of methane and nitrous oxide.
"Global Climate Protection Policy: The Limits of Scientific
Advice," S. Boehmer-Christiansen (Sci. Policy Res., Univ.
Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RF, UK), Global Environ. Change,
1994. "Part 1," 4(2), 140-159, June; "Part
2," 4(3), 185-200, Sep.
Attempts to demonstrate empirically the close links between
science/technology and policy by analyzing the role played by the
international institutions of science and their
advice in the preparation of the Framework Convention on
Climate Change. Part 1 analyzes the emergence and nature of
scientific advice. Part 2 traces subsequent political impacts and
argues that research institutions tend to produce ambiguous
advice, while politics will use scientific uncertainty to advance
other agendas. Discusses the experience of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, which necessarily led to advice which
was ambivalent and too weak.
"Long-Term Study of the Natural Environment-Perceptive
Science or Mindless Monitoring?" T.P. Burt (Sch. Geog.,
Oxford Univ., Mansfield Rd., Oxford OX1 3TB, UK), Prog. Phys.
Geog., 18(4), 475-496, 1994.
Assesses the value of long-term observations within the
context of the Environmental Change Network, established in 1992
to provide a minimum of 30 years' data from a network of sites
within the U.K. Discusses the value and limitations of long-term
study, using meteorological and hydrological examples from the
network. Long-term study by well-designed programs with sustained
funding provides an invaluable basis for the development of
environmental science, and provides the best conditions for
studying processes whose effects can only be identified over long
periods, and for revealing new questions which could not have
been anticipated at the time the monitoring began.
"Climate Change Implications for Europe-An Application of
the ESCAPE Model," J. Rotmans (Global Dynamics Dept., Natl.
Inst. Public Health & Environ. Protect. [RIVM], POB 1, 3720
BA Bilthoven, Neth.), M. Hulme, T.E. Downing, Global Environ.
Change, 4(2), 97-124, June 1994.
Describes an interactive climate impact assessment model
recently developed for the Environment Directorate of the
Commission of the European Communities. Its use is demonstrated
with a range of input scenarios reflecting different global
policy, economic and technological futures. Shows that the world
is already committed to future warming regardless of current or
near-future policy interventions, and that a climate policy
implemented solely within the EC will have only a small effect on
future climate change.
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