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 8, NUMBER 6, JUNE 1995
OF GENERAL INTEREST: GENERAL AND POLICY
"Trends in U.S.
Climate During the Twentieth Century," T.R. Karl (NCDC, NOAA, Fed. Bldg.,
Asheville NC 28801), R.W. Knight et al., Consequences,
1(1), 3-12, Spring 1995. (New journal; see NEWS, this Digest
Temperature and precipitation data for the conterminous U.S. over the past
century were analyzed for indications of climatic change. A Climate Extremes
Index devised for the study supports the notion that the climate of the U.S. has
become more extreme in recent decades, yet the magnitude and persistence of the
trend is not large enough to conclude that climate has systematically changed.
Similarly, a Greenhouse Climate Response Index reflects for recent years the
type of response predicted for increasing greenhouse gases; the probability of
occurrence by chance is 5-10%. None of the results unequivocally support
anthropogenic climate change, but it will be important to follow the behavior of
these indices over the next decade.
Emissions Trading: Early Lessons from the U.S. Acid Rain Program," B.D.
Solomon (Acid Rain Div., EPA, 401 M St. SW Washington DC 20460), Clim.
Change, 30(1), 75-96, May 1995.
Free market trading of SO2 emission allowances among U.S. electric utilities
began in 1992 under that year's amendments to the Clean Air Act. This paper
discusses early lessons learned, as well as issues and challenges that would be
involved in extending this approach to trading allowances among industries and
nations, and to other gases and emission offset programs. Prominent issues
include CO2 allowance allocations, equity, emissions monitoring,
enforcement, and cost-effectiveness.
Two related items in
Clim. Change, 29(4), Apr. 1995:
"Framework Agreement on Climate Change: A Scientific and Policy
History," A.D. Hecht (Off. Intl. Activities, EPA, 401 M St SW, Washington
DC 20460), D. Tirpak, ibid., 29(4), 371-402, Apr. 1995. An
annotated chronology of key events and publications since 1970 that led to the
signing of the convention in 1992; also incorporates the authors' insights on
those events and their perspective of how science and policy-making interacted.
Neither the science nor policy stories had any clear beginning; each affected
the other as they developed.
"On Writing Good Histories of Climate Change and Testing Social Science
Theories," D.G. Victor (IIASA, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria), 363-369. A
editorial comment that discusses several points raised by the preceding analysis
of the climate convention, for instance, that the central obligations of the
convention mainly reflect the interests of the U.S. It then goes on to suggest
how such histories, once carefully constructed, can be used to test social
Forests: Need for a Policy Appraisal," N. Myers (Upper Meadow, Old Road,
Headington, Oxford OX3 8SZ, UK), Science, 268(5212), 823-824.
Presents a selection of policy options for consideration by the soon to be
established World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development. In addition
to encouraging sustainable development, they include enhancing the institutional
status of forests; removing "perverse" subsidies; calculating the
costs of inaction; and promoting forests as global-commons resources.
Corporations and the Transfer of Environmental Technology to Developing
Countries," C.R. Hadlock (Bentley College, Boston, Mass.), Intl.
Environ. Affairs, 6(2), 149-174, Spring 1994.
A decade or so ago, multinational firms paid scant attention to
environmental concerns in their foreign plants, but the force of public opinion
and fear of liabilities have caused many firms to reverse this. Now, the
multinational firms may be the single most important vehicle for the transfer of
environmental information and technology to the developing world.
Reduction Targets: What Sort, and How Soon?"
IIASA Options, pp. 4-9, Spring 1995. (Published quarterly by the
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, A-2361 Laxenburg,
David Victor and Julian Salt present the case against, and John Lanchbery
presents the case for, legally binding national targets for reductions in
emissions of greenhouse gases. The discussion stems from an article by Victor
and Salt in the Jan. 26 issue of Nature (Global Climate Change
Digest, p. 1, Feb. 1995), combined with other material circulated at the
Berlin Conference of Parties in March. The three authors are members of IIASA's
project on International Environmental Commitments.
Implementation and Cost-Effectiveness under the Framework Convention on Climate
Change," T. Jackson (Ctr. Environ. Strategy, Univ. Surrey, Guildford GU2
5XH, UK), Energy Policy, 23(2), 117-138, Feb. 1995.
Uses national greenhouse gas abatement costing studies from four varied
nations to examine both the general claim for cost-effectiveness in joint
implementation, and the implicit assumption that reductions will be cheaper and
easier in developing nations and economies in transition than in developed
countries. Finds that the benefits may be highly dependent on the level of
associated transaction costs, and that reductions may be considerably cheaper
for some developed countries than for developing countries. Stresses the need
for developing methodology, and discusses the dangers of allowing ad hoc
trading in emissions credits by a heterogeneous community of private investors.
Policies Uncertainty, Value of Information, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions,"
H.W. Gottinger (Intl. Inst. Environ. Econ. & Mgmt., Schloss Waldsee, D-88339
Bad Waldsee, Ger.), ibid., 23(1), 51-56, Jan. 1995.
Uses a model of optimal statistical decisions to determine when it pays to
act and then learn, and when it pays to learn and then act. Some interesting
policy results are obtained for the dynamic intertemporal decision situation
when the value of new information is an outcome of stochastic optimization with
"Coal Policy and
Climate Protection. Can the Tough German CO2 Reduction Target Be Met
by 2005?" W. Bach (Ctr. Appl. Clim., Univ. Muenster, R. Koch Str. 26,
D-48149 Muenster, Ger.), ibid., 85-91.
Investigates whether there is cause for a growing concern in Germany that
the government's CO2 reduction target will be missed, and that
decisions are being made on energy and transport policy that militate against
climate and ecosystem protection even beyond 2005. Concludes that governmental
policies are not compatible with its target and its climate protection policy.
Makes concrete recommendations for altering the current policy.
and the Choice of Policy Instruments for Limiting CO2 Emissions,"
Z.X. Zhang (Dept. Gen. Econ., Landbouw Univ., POB 8130, 6700 EW Wageningen,
Neth.), Energy & Environ., 5(4), 327-341, 1994.
Gives an overview and comparison of policy options including the
command-and-control approach, energy taxes, carbon taxes, and tradeable carbon
permits, with special attention paid to the economic instruments. Synthesizes
findings from studies on carbon taxes, and concludes that carbon taxes appear to
be the superior and more flexible instrument for controlling emissions and
avoiding large and unexpected costs.
Gas Methane (CH4): Sources and Sinks, the Impact of Population
Growth, Possible Interventions," G.K. Heilig (IIASA, A-2361 Laxenburg,
Austria), Population & Environ., 16(2), 109-137, Nov. 1994.
Reviews the methane budget and its history for the past 160,000 years.
Although great uncertainties still exist with respect to major present day
sources and sinks, the most recent methane projections of the IPCC are used to
estimate the contribution of population growth to future methane emission.
Discusses options for restricting anthropogenic methane emissions.
Change, Technology Transfers, and the Negotiation of International Agreements,"
C. Carraro (Dept. Econ., Univ. Venice, Venice, Italy), A. Lanza, A. Tudini, Intl.
Environ. Affairs, 6(3), 203-222, Summer 1994.
The Framework Convention on Climate Change needs to be strengthened to
become effective. Technological change should be accomplished through a
combination of taxation, innovation subsidies, and policies that favor the
diffusion of innovation, with governmental support essential for success.
Attempts to achieve full cooperation of all countries will only cause delay; if
a group of countries like the OECD takes the lead, further cooperation will
and Greenhouse Politics," E.O. Eleri (Fridtjof Nansen Inst.), ibid.,
6(2), 133-148, Spring 1994.
Africa is in a deep development and environmental crisis. Against this
background, calls for sacrifices to mitigate global warming, a problem caused
mostly by industrialism, are viewed with skepticism. Regardless of greenhouse
concerns, Africa needs policies that promote sustainable development, control
population, encourage less carbon-intensive energy strategies, and check
deforestation. The North should recognize the threat to its self-interest by an
ailing Africa, where environmental decline could cancel the best efforts of the
Four items from a
special issue of Chemosphere, 29(5), 1994.(See PROF.
PUBS./PREINDUSTRIAL HUMAN IMPACTS, this Digest issue--June 1995, for a list of
the other papers.)
"Preindustrial Human Environmental Impacts: Are There Lessons for
Global Change Science and Policy?" D.M. Kammen (Woodrow Wilson Sch.,
Princeton Univ., Princeton NJ 08544), K.R. Smith et al., 827-832. Introduction
to the special issue, which is based on a Sep. 1993 conference of historians,
anthropologists, economists and physical scientists.
"North-South Differences, Global Warming and the Global System,"
M.R. Dove (Environ. Prog., East-West Ctr., 1777 East-West Rd., Honolulu HI
98648), 1063-1077. Questions the use of the 19th century as the baseline for
anthropogenic contributions to global warming. Extends the discussion to the
analysis of the relationships among differences in national histories, the
problem of global warming, and the development of a global system capable of
"Industrial and Non-Industrial Anthropogenic Inputs to the Global
Biogeochemical Cycles: Implications for Intertemporal Environmental Policy,"
D.M. Kammen (Woodrow Wilson Sch., Princeton Univ., Princeton NJ 08544),
1121-1133. The majority of developing nations still rely on biomass energy, and
have a strong linkage between preindustrial and future national development.
Examines the implications of environmental decision-making necessitated by
natural time scales of forest growth, biogeochemical cycles, and the
anthropogenic release of trace gases.
"Pre-Industrial Missing Carbon and Current Greenhouse Responsibilities,"
K.R. Smith (Environ. Prog., East-West Ctr. 1777 East-West Rd., Honolulu HI
96848), 1135-1143. In many international discussions of the relative national
responsibilities for past and current greenhouse emissions, the net emissions
from human land-use changes are included along with emissions from fossil fuels.
However, since there has been substantial human management of the global
biosphere long before the industrial revolution, the entire biosphere must be
omitted from indices of responsibility for global allocation of the costs of
climate change mitigation.
Guide to Publishers
Index of Abbreviations