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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d97dec17

"Zen and the Art of Climate Maintenance," S. Rayner (Pacific Northwest Natl. Lab., 901 D St. SW, S. 900, Washington DC 20024), E.L. Malone, Nature, 390(6658), 332-334, Nov. 27, 1997.

As nations grapple with commitments to mitigate climate change, the time is ripe for a fresh look at climate change policy strategy. This article outlines a new approach suggested by Human Choice and Climate Change, a social science assessment edited by the authors (January, 1998). The current emphasis on targets and timetables sidesteps other pressing issues of human welfare. The authors recommend building responsive institutional arrangements that monitor change, and maximize the flexibility of populations to respond creatively and constructively to it.

Item #d97dec18

"Short-Term Improvements in Public Health from Global-Climate Policies on Fossil-Fuel Combustion: An Interim Report," Working Group on Public Health & Fossil Fuel Combustion (attn. D.L. Davis, World Resources Inst., 1709 New York Ave. NW, Washington DC 20006), The Lancet, 350, 1341-1348, Nov. 8, 1997.

The working group, consisting of health officials and experts on climate and air pollution, estimated the short-term reduction in human mortality from lowered particulate air pollution that would result if developed countries significantly reduce carbon emissions. By 2020, 700,000 deaths would be avoided annually worldwide. In the U.S. alone, avoidable deaths in 2020 would equal those from human immunodeficiency disease or all liver diseases in 1995.

Item #d97dec19

"What To Expect From Kyoto," J. Lanchbery (Verification Technol. Info. Clearinghouse (VERTIC), 20 Embankment Pl., London WC2N 6NN, UK), Environment, 39(9), 4-11, Nov. 1997.

Summarizes the diverse interests and competing agendas coming to the Kyoto negotiating table in December 1997.

Item #d97dec20

Three related papers in Nature, 390(6657), Nov. 20, 1997:

"The Great Debate on CO2 Emissions," K. Ramakrishna (Woods Hole Res. Ctr., POB 296, Woods Hole MA 02543; e-mail:, 227-228. Comments on the following two papers, which address, from different viewpoints, the question of how fast to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Any commitments adopted by developed countries, along with private-sector involvement, will give a powerful impetus to developing countries to adopt similar emission-reduction measures.

"Implications of Recent CO2 Emission Limitation Proposals for Stabilization of Atmospheric Concentrations," T.M.L. Wigley (NCAR, S. 259, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), 267-270. To illustrate policy options for stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations, the IPCC has constructed concentration pathways or profiles into the future. This paper devises new profiles that take into account emissions-limitation proposals restricted to developed countries, as well as more recent emissions data. To stabilize CO2 concentration at twice the preindustrial value, they show that developed countries have several decades before their emissions need to depart significantly from "business as usual." Alternatively, international trade in carbon emissions would allow developing countries to emit below their expected baselines, and benefit from the trading of emissions rights.

"Influence of Socioeconomic Inertia and Uncertainty on Optimal CO2-Emission Abatement," M. Ha-Duong, M.J. Grubb (Energy & Environ. Prog., Royal Inst. of Intl. Affairs, 10 St. James's Square, London SW1Y 4LE, UK), J.-C. Hourcade, 270-273. Uses an integrated climate-economic model to investigate the interplay of inertia in the energy systems that produce CO2, and the uncertainty in desirable target greenhouse gas concentrations. Finds that previously applied integrated assessment models underplay inertia, and that early (possibly immediate) efforts to limit carbon emissions will minimize the risk to environmental and economic systems.

Item #d97dec21

"A Dynamic Crediting Regime for Joint Implementation to Foster Innovation in the Long Term," A. Michaelowa (Hamburg Inst. for Econ. Res.—HWWA, Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20347 Hamburg, Ger.), H. Schmidt, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 2(1), 45-56, 1997.

Joint implementation can be an efficient short-term policy, but in the long term can hinder innovation in developed countries. To realize short-term efficiency gains but also avoid long long-term efficiency losses, this paper proposes fully crediting joint implementation initially, but reducing the credit ratio with time while domestic carbon taxes are raised.

Item #d97dec22

"Joint Implementation Under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change: Technical and Institutional Challenges," J.N. Swisher (E4 Inc., 1790 30th St., S. 440, Boulder CO 80301), Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 2(1), 57-80, 1997.

Discusses some of the information needs of joint implementation projects and clarifies some common assumptions and arguments. Focuses on the position of developing countries and their potential risks and benefits regarding joint implementation.

Item #d97dec23

"The Social Costs of Climate Change: The IPCC Second Assessment Report and Beyond," S. Fankhauser (Global Environ. Facility, 1818 H St. NW, Washington DC 20433), R.S.J. Tol, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 1(4), 385-403, 1997.

Earlier studies have estimated an aggregate monetized damage equivalent to 1.5 to 2.0% of world GDP for doubled CO2. This paper reviews available monetary damage assessments, starting from Chapter 6 of IPCC Working Group III and covering more recent work. Newer studies increasingly emphasize adaptation, variability, extreme events, non-climatic stresses, and the need for integrated assessment of damages. Estimates do not differ much from initial figures.

Item #d97dec24

"Environmental Market Failures: Are There Any Local Market-Based Corrective Mechanisms for Global Problems?" R.U. Ayres (CMER, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France), Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 1(3), 289-309, 1997.

Reviews previously discussed policy tools, including legal, administrative and fiscal (tax) schemes, as well as tradeable emission permits, and concludes that none of them are really suitable for dealing with global problems. Suggests an alternative: tradeable individual consumption quotas for traded commodities at the national level, to be extended later to the global level by trading quotas among nations.

Item #d97dec25

"Economic Modeling and the False Tradeoff Between Environmental Protection and Economic Growth," S.J. DeCanio (Dept. Econ., Univ. California, Santa Barbara, Calif.; e-mail:, Contemporary Econ. Policy, 15(4), 10-27, Oct. 1997.

Examines "top-down" and "bottom up" technical-economic models, finding that the former incorporate questionable assumptions. Policy makers must abandon the presumption that increased environmental quality can only be purchased at the expense of other goods and services. Economists should acknowledge the limits on their analyses that do not account for rapid technical change.

Item #d97dec26

"Energy Technology R&D Essential to Curb Global Warming," M.G. Morgan (Dept. Engineering & Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh PA 15213), H. Dowlatabadi, Environ. Sci. & Technol., 31(12), 574A-575A, Dec. 1997.

Advocates vigorous funding of energy research. The technical community needs to make it clear that research is not a substitute for regulatory action, but an integral part of such action.

Item #d97dec27

"Is Joint Implementation a Realistic Option?" Environment, 39(9), 44-48, Nov. 1997.

Writers from Brazil, Zambia and India discuss an earlier comment on joint implementation.

Item #d97dec28

"Regulatory and Mixed Policy Options for Reducing Energy Use and Carbon Emissions," J.N. Swisher (UNEP Collaborating Ctr. on Energy & Environ., Risų Natl. Lab., POB 49, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark), Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 1(1), 23-49, 1996.

Reviews non-fiscal policy options (such as utility energy-efficiency programs, and accelerating technology development and demonstration), resulting environmental impacts, and experiences with these options to date. Examines why such options are mostly absent from energy-economic models and climate change policy studies, and suggests approaches to include them more.

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