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Impacts of climate change on agriculture in Taiwan

Last updated 28 October 2002
Originally answered 28 October 2002

Full Question

What may be the impacts of climate change on agriculture in Taiwan?

Answer

Here are some resources for you to learn about the potential impacts of climate change on agricultural production in Taiwan:

Check your library for databases such as AGRICOLA, BioAgIndex, etc. They will lead you to whatever peer-reviewed research is available in the literature. For example, I found this article by searching for “climate change AND Taiwan” in BioAgIndex:

Chang, Ching-Cheng. The potential impact of climate change on Taiwan’s agriculture. Agricultural Economics v. 27 no1 (May 2002) p. 51-64.

Searching Google for search words like “taiwan climate change agriculture” or “east asia global warming agriculture impacts” leads to a host of relevant sites. Among them are:

Global Change Research Center (GCRC) at the National Taiwan University
http://www.gcc.ntu.edu.tw/2002GCRC/English.htm (check links under “current activities")

The government of Taiwan has issued a report called “Green Vitality: Taiwan’s Sustainable Development”.
http://www.gio.gov.tw/taiwan-website/5-gp/eco/eco3.htm

The Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency has a “Climate Change Taiwan” website at http://sd.erl.itri.org.tw/fccc/en/

Climate Change and Rice
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/rbmatthews/rbm_cc1.htm

Institute of Botany, Academia Sinica in Taiwan
http://botany.sinica.edu.tw/personnel/419.html


The above entry is posted under the following topic(s): Impacts, Adaptation, VulnerabilityAgricultureRegional Impacts

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Could global warming worsen ozone depletion?

Last updated 08 August 2002
Originally answered 8 August 2002

Full Question

Could global warming worsen ozone depletion?

Answer

There are two schools of thought about how global warming will affect ozone depletion. One school suggests that by keeping more warmth in the lower atmosphere the upper atmosphere will cool making it easier for ice clouds to form and thereby providing greater opportunities for ozone depletion catalysis. The other school suggests that the increased temperature will lead to an increased mass exchange between the stratosphere and the troposphere which will result in a more rapid removal of CFCs and thus a faster recovery of the ozone layer.


The above entry is posted under the following topic(s): Global Change ScienceAtmospheric Chemistry and Composition

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Are ozone depletion and climate change linked?

Last updated 08 August 2002
Originally answered 8 August 2002

Full Question

Are ozone depletion and climate change linked?

Answer

According to the UNEP/WMO “Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2002,” ozone-layer depletion and climate change are linked in a number of ways, but ozone depletion is not a major cause of climate change. The stratosphere cools when ozone is destroyed because there is less ozone to absorb UV radiation. This cooling in turn affects air motions and chemical processes that are related to climate. In addition, some ozone-depleting gases (and, indeed, ozone itself) are also heat-absorbing “greenhouse gases,” so they play a dual role in climate change and ozone depletion. The potential contributions to climate change from ozone and ozone-depleting gases is smaller than from changes in other important atmospheric gases.


The above entry is posted under the following topic(s): Atmospheric Chemistry and CompositionClimate Variability and ChangeOtherImpacts of Ozone Depletion

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How does respiration by humans and animals affect carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere?

Last updated 14 July 2002
Originally answered 14 July 2002

Full Question

How does respiration by humans and animals affect carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere?

Answer

Humans exhale about 1 kg of carbon dioxide per day (http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/pns/faq.html). The exact amount depends on age, sex, size, and most importantly activity level. Multiply that by a world population of six billion and you get a very large number.

However, human exhalation of carbon dioxide is part of a closed system. There can be no net addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere because the amount of carbon dioxide we exhale can’t be greater than the carbon we put into our bodies by eating plants, or eating animals that eat plants. The plants got the carbon from the atmosphere via photosynthesis.

This closed system is true for any animal, not just humans. It is also true for a growing population. You simply can’t have more animals than there are plants to support those animals.

The reason why burning fossil fuels is a concern is because it is not a closed loop over human time scales. Extracting coal and oil and burning them puts carbon back into the atmosphere that plants removed millions of years ago.


The above entry is posted under the following topic(s): Global Carbon CycleHuman Contributions and Responses

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Has the Montreal Protocol been worth it?

Last updated 18 February 2002
Originally answered 18 January 2002

Full Question

Has the Montreal Protocol been worth it?

Answer

The “1998 UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) Assessment: Environmental Effects of Ozone Depletion” provides a list of “Frequently Asked Questions about Stratospheric Ozone Depletion” at the following web site: http://www.gcrio.org/ozone/toc.html

The following FAQ addresses your question.

FAQ 23. “Has the benefit of the Montreal Protocol been worth the cost?”

“Yes. Several attempts have been made to investigate the economic impacts of the problem of a depleted ozone layer. Such attempts meet with many problems. There are good reasons for concern for effects on humans, animals, plants and materials, but most of these cannot be estimated in quantitative terms. Calculating the economic impact of such effects is uncertain. Moreover, economic terms are applicable only to some of the effects, such as the cost of medical treatments, and the loss of production in fisheries and agriculture, and damage to materials; but what is the cost equivalent of suffering, of a person becoming blind or dying, or the loss of a rare plant or animal species?

In spite of all these difficulties, attempts have been made. The most comprehensive example is a study initiated by Environment Canada for the 10th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. In this study, ‘Global Costs and Benefits of the Montreal Protocol’ (1997), the costs were calculated for all measures taken internationally to protect the ozone layer, such as replacement of technologies using ozone-depleting substances. The benefits are the total value of the damaging effects avoided in this way. The total costs of the measures taken to protect the ozone layer were calculated to be 235 billion US (1997) dollars. The effects avoided world-wide, though far less quantifiable, were estimated to be almost twice that amount. This latter estimate included only reduced damage to fisheries, agriculture and materials. The cataracts and skin cancers, as well as the potential associated fatalities avoided, were listed as additional benefits, and not expressed in economic terms.”


The above entry is posted under the following topic(s): Mitigation of Ozone Depletion

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