February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 8, NUMBER 10, OCTOBER 1995
OF GENERAL INTEREST: CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY
"Climate Change and Carbon Dioxide Forever," P.P. Tans
(CMDL, NOAA, 325 Broadway, Boulder CO 80303), P.S. Bakwin, Ambio, 24(6),
376-378, Sep. 1995.
Reviews the current understanding of the long-term increase of CO2 in the
atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, as a basis for policy recommendations.
Because of the extremely long-term nature of the CO2 problem, enough is known
already for society to start taking steps toward decreasing CO2 emissions.
Outlines a research agenda for the carbon cycle. The importance to society of
any serious attempt to curb CO2 emissions makes it imperative that our knowledge
of the carbon cycle is very firm; it should be based on several truly
independent lines of evidence.
Global Environ. Change, 5(3), June 1995 contains two
comments on a previous two-part article by Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen ("Global
Climate Protection Policy: The Limits of Scientific Advice"):
"The IPCC: Policy Relevant (Not Driven) Scientific Assessment,"
R.H. Moss (IPCC Working Group II, c/o U.S. Global Change Res. Prog., 300 D St.
SW, S. 840, Washington DC 20024), 171-174. Counters Boehmer-Christiansen's
critical view that the conclusions of the IPCC (the scientific advisory panel
for the climate convention) are determined by the desire for research funds
rather than by scientific rationale, and that the panel is removed from the
information needs of the policy community. Argues that the IPCC is an effective
link between the policy and scientific communities, represents a broad spectrum
of scientific views, and draws on a broad range of disciplines including
socioeconomic impacts. However, Boehmer-Christiansen does raise valid concerns
about manipulation of uncertainty in politics.
"IPCC Gazing and the Interpretative Social Sciences," S. Shackley
(Ctr. for Study of Environ. Change, Lancaster Univ., Lancaster LA1 4YN, UK), T.
Skodvin, 175-180. Presents some problems with Boehmer-Christiansen's arguments,
stressing the role of negotiation within the IPCC. Also uses this case to
discuss the role of the interpretive social sciences in global environmental
"Explaining National Climate Change Policies," I.H. Rowlands
(London Sch. Econ., Houghton St., London WC2A 2AE, UK), ibid., 235-249.
First discusses generally the "interest-based explanation" for
international environmental policy, which assumes that the world can be viewed
as a collection of self-interested utility maximizers. This concept is then
tested for climate change policy by evaluating the positions of 24 countries.
The policy positions of 11 of these are consistent with the interest-based
explanation. Comments on the limitations and potential of the concept.
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