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 9, NUMBER 3, MARCH 1996
"Mitigating Climate Change: The Case for Energy Taxes," F.
Muller (Ctr. for Global Change, Univ. Maryland, 7100 Baltimore Ave., College Pk.
MD 20740), Environment, 38(2), 12-20, 36-43, Mar. 1996.
Develops a rough guide for public policy practitioners to the various types
of tax schemes, including the taxes adopted by five northern European countries,
and summarizes three separate tax proposals considered by the European Union,
the United States, and Australia. Suggests strategies to promote the adoption of
carbon/energy taxes. Attempts to stimulate discussion of the practical issues
facing policymakers who see such taxes as one of a wide range of policy
instruments for climate protection.
"Sensitivity of Direct Global Warming Potentials to Key
Uncertainties," D.J. Wuebbles (Dept. Atmos. Sci., Univ. Illinois, Urbana IL
61801), A.K. Jain et al., Clim. Change, 29(3), 265-297, Mar.
Examines several uncertainties in determining the potential effects on
climate of greenhouse gases compared to that of CO2 (GWPs), which are quite
sensitive to the assumed background level of CO2. Attempts to improve on the
IPCC estimates of 1990 by using a balanced carbon cycle model, which
produces up to 21% enhancement of the GWPs for most trace gases for time
horizons up to 100 years, but a decreasing enhancement with longer time
horizons. Uncertainty regarding the CO2 fertilization effect contributes a 20%
range in GWP values. Assumption that atmospheric levels of traces gases change
with time gives GWPs that are 19 to 32% greater than if constant levels are
A letter to the Editor from K. Ya. Kondratyev (Res. Ctr. for Ecol.
Safety, Russian Acad. Sci., Korpusnaya St. 18, 197042 St. Petersburg, Russia),
Clim. Change, 32(2), 229-230, Feb. 1996.
Makes brief, specific comments on an article on the science/policy history
of the climate convention by Hecht and Tirpak (Global Climate Change Digest,
Prof. Pubs./Of General Interest/General and Policy, June 1995). It is time to
abandon the "greenhouse climate stereotype" (an overemphasis on
supposed greenhouse climate warming), and to recognize that the broadly
discussed measures to reduce emissions are not a panacea against undesirable
"Emerging Issues in Global Environmental Policy," G.F. White
(Dept. Geog., Univ. Colorado, Boulder CO 80309), Ambio, 25(1),
58-60, Feb. 1996.
Three issues that deserve attention require both nongovernmental and
governmental involvement: (1) finding adequate means to define new problems; (2)
carrying out incisive and comprehensive audits of the effectiveness of programs
completed or underway; and (3) developing means of reconciling the diverse
interest groups and values involved in designing and evaluating new programs of
study and action.
"Stockholm, Rio and Beyond: Lessons from Two Decades of
International Environmental Politics," H. Breitmeier (IIASA, A-2361
Laxenburg, Austria), Clim. Change, 32(1), 1-6, Jan. 1996.
Essay and review of The Greening of Machiavelli. The Evolution of
International Environmental Politics by T. Brenton (282 pp., 1994,
Earthscan). Breitmeier finds the book to be an important contribution because of
the author's expertise as a political practitioner.
"A Multinational Model for CO2 Reduction. Defining Boundaries of
Future CO2 Emissions in Nine Countries," T. Kram (Energy Technol. Systems
Analysis Prog., Intl. Energy Agency, POB 1, 1755 ZG Petten, Neth.), D. Hill,
Energy Policy, 24(1), 39-51, Jan. 1996.
Nine industrialized countries have explored the technical boundaries of CO2
emissions restrictions during the next 40 to 50 years using comparable scenario
assumptions and a standard model, MARKAL. Quantitative results for the countries
are shown side by side in a set of energy maps that compare the least-cost
evolution of the national energy systems. The most cost-effective measures
differ among countries; an international agreement that would mandate
substantial emissions restrictions among countries by an equal percentage
reduction is clearly impossible. But the results are a first step toward a basis
for allocating reductions.
Comment and reply on "The United Nations Climate Convention:
Unattainable or Irrelevant?" Science, 271(5248), 431, Jan.
26, 1996. (That paper is listed in Global Climate Change Digest, Prof.
Pubs./Policy, Jan. 1996.)
"Effects of Carbon Taxes in an Economy with Prior Tax Distortions:
An Intertemporal General Equilibrium Analysis," L.H. Goulder (Dept. Econ.,
Stanford Univ., Stanford CA 94305), J. Environ. Econ. & Mgmt., 29(3,
Pt. 1), 271-297, Nov. 1995.
Analyzes the costs of a carbon tax in a model that recognizes interactions
between that tax and pre-existing taxes. For instance, the costs of a U.S.
carbon tax are reduced when its revenues finance cuts in income taxes,
significantly reducing but not eliminating the overall policy cost. Results also
show that models that disregard pre-existing taxes may substantially understate
the costs of new environmental taxes.
"Global Warming and Carbon Taxation: Optimal Policy and the Role of
Administration Costs," M. Williams (Milken Inst., 1250 Fourth St., S. 200,
Santa Monica CA 90401), Energy Econ., 17(4), 319-327, Oct. 1995.
A new carbon tax will require substantial administrative costs that will
reduce the benefit of controlling greenhouse gas levels. A model relating CO2
emissions to atmospheric concentrations, global temperature change and economic
damages is developed and used to find the break-even point at which the benefits
of the tax equal the administrative costs. Finds that the optimal level of a
carbon tax is zero for the next several decades and very likely forever, even
under the most extreme plausible conditions. This is not to say that global
warming should be ignored by policymakers, but much research is needed to
determine the optimal strategy for the distant future.
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