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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

FROM VOLUME 10, NUMBER 1, JANUARY 1997

REPORTS...
POLICY


Item #d97jan60

Paying the Piper: Subsidies, Politics and the Environment (Worldwatch Paper 133), D.M. Roodman, 80 pp., Dec. 1996, $5 (Worldwatch).

More than $500 billion is spent by governments each year to subsidize deforestation, overfishing and other environmentally destructive activities. In the U.S., for example, taxpayers pay $111 billion a year in road and driving subsidies worth $.70 for each gallon of gas or diesel fuel sold. The government of Indonesia in 1990 sold rainforest logging rights for $2 billion less than they were worth, an amount equal to nearly half what other countries gave Indonesia in aid and loans. In Australia, building of logging roads in Victoria cost $170 billion more than was earned on the wood hauled from the forests. Subsidies do little good on their own terms; they hike the cost of government and burden economies. Citizens and lawmakers should withdraw from the business of paying the polluter.


Item #d97jan61

Has Environmental Protection Really Reduced Productivity Growth? We Need Unbiased Measures, R. Repetto, D. Rothman et al., 46 pp., 1996, $14.95 (WRI).

Some people have argued that environmental regulation has caused the productivity slowdown that began in the early 1970s, just when major environmental laws went into effect. This report counters that argument by showing how the conventional measure of productivity growth misrepresents the industrial process by taking into account only pollution abatement costs and ignoring pollution damages averted. Using an alternate, unbiased productivity measure, the productivity picture is recast for the electric power, pulp and paper, and agricultural sectors.


Item #d97jan62

Ozone Protection in the United States: Elements of Success, E. Cook, Ed., 130 pp., 1996, $14.95 pbk. (WRI).

Presents 10 case studies of innovative regulatory initiatives and voluntary actions that show how economic incentives, entrepreneurial government activities, corporate leadership and competition, along with scientific advances and public activism, made significant contributions to adoption of CFC alternatives. Explains how this experience applies to climate change.


Item #d97jan63

The Quite Reversal of U.S. Global Climate Change Policy (Contemporary Issues Ser. 83), C. Douglass, M. Weidenbaum, Nov. 1996, 16 pp. pamphlet (CSAB).

The Clinton Administration is reversing its position on climate change by calling for a set of binding legal mechanisms on each nation's emissions of greenhouse gases. Forcing such restrictions could do great harm to the American economy; for example, William Nordhaus estimates that emissions stabilization at 1990 levels would generate a net discounted cost of $7 trillion. Several key points deserve substantial public airing, and Congress should hold intensive hearings soon.


Item #d97jan64

Joint Implementation as a Cost-Effective Climate Policy Measure: A Chinese Perspective, Z.X. Zhang, 63 pp., Oct. 1996, $15 (Wageningen/Econ.).

Prepared for the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment. Analyzed macroeconomic and sectoral effects of carbon emission limits for China and found that the carbon taxes required there are much lower than those for both the industrialized countries and the world average, to achieve the same percentage of emission reductions. This finding provides the economic rationale for developing JI projects with China, where the areas of most interest are related to increased energy efficiency and fuel switching. Addresses operational aspects of Joint Implementation from a Chinese perspective.


Item #d97jan65

Fossil Fuels or the Rio Treaty — Competing Visions for the Future, F.D. Palmer, 21 pp., Oct. 1996 (Western Fuels).

A speech presented at COALTRANS 96 (Madrid, Oct. 1996) that asserting that the Rio Treaty represents an initial step by government to massively regulate almost all human activity everywhere all of the time, particularly since fossil fuels are burned by some humans somewhere all of the time. More people are living and living longer because of fossil fuels. The living standard of developed countries is the envy of the world; we should help people who live like animals in abject poverty to achieve our standard of living. Widespread availability of cheap electricity from fossil fuels is one reason why the industrialized West has high living standards. Government interference in energy markets will cause widespread suffering for the common man.


Item #d97jan66

Global Warming: Difficulties Assessing Countries' Progress Stabilizing Emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GAO/RCED-96-188), 33 pp., Sep. 1996, no charge (GAO).

Evaluates the progress of the U.S. and other "Annex I countries" (to the UNFCCC) toward meeting their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2000; and looks at major factors that affect their ability to reach that goal.


Item #d97jan67

European Environmental Agency (EEA) report on climate change: an update of Environment in the European Union 1995 and Report for the Review of the Fifth Environmental Action Program, Sep. 1996, EEA. Contact Ernst Klatte, EEA, Copenhagen (tel: 45 33 367100).

This report was presented at a climate change conference (Linz, Austria, Sep. 1996), hosted by the European branch of the Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE). It concluded that the European Union must accelerate its policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if it is to meet UNFCCC goals. A reduction of these gases of 30-55% might be needed in industrialized countries by 2010. Although global CO2 emissions did not grow from 1990 to 1995, those of OECD countries have increased.


Item #d97jan68

Third Report on Global Warming and the Economic System, July 1996 (Japan Environ. Agency). In Japanese. (See Intl. Environ. Rptr., p. 663, July 24, 1996; Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 3-4, July 26.)

Prepared by the agency's study team on global warming and the economic system. Concludes that the only way for Japan to meet its CO2 emissions reduction goal is with the immediate introduction of a carbon tax of 3000 yen, coupled with efficiency subsidies. If a only a tax were used, the level would be ten times as much, or 30,000 yen. As a result of the 3,000 yen tax (equivalent to $27.50 per ton of gasoline, or $.02 per liter), Japan's gross domestic product would decelerate only 0.01%.


Item #d97jan69

Climate Change and CO2 Policy: A Durable Response (draft), 175 pp., 1996 (N.Z. Min. of Environ.).

Acknowledges that New Zealand will probably miss the target for stabilizing CO2 emissions, and the current policy intention to introduce a carbon charge in 1997 will be triggered. Recommends that the country proceed with its current policy, rather than adopt a tradable permit system, while international negotiations proceed. The draft document was open for comment until Nov. 1.

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