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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 1, NUMBER 2, AUGUST 1988

REPORTS


Item #d88aug58

Developing Policies for Responding to Climatic Change --A Summary of Discussions and Recommendations of the Workshops Held in Villach...and Bellagio...under the Auspices of the Beijer Institute, Stockholm (WMO/TD-No. 225), J. Jaeger (Beijer Inst.) et al., 53 pp., April 1988. Obtain in U.S. from Environ. Defense Fund, 257 Pk. Ave S., New York NY 10010; in Europe from Beijer Inst., Stockholm, or World Meteor. Org., Geneva.

The two autumn 1987 workshops summarized were initiated by the Beijer Institute of Sweden, and the Environmental Defense Fund and Woods Hole Oceanographic Laboratory in the U.S., in response to the recommendations of an international conference in Villach, Austria, in 1985 which evaluated possible climatic changes. (See following entry, and Kondratyev article in PROF. PUBS./OF GEN. INTEREST, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Aug. 1988.) They were sponsored primarily by the WMO and UNEP, as well as other international groups. In the first 1987 workshop, about 50 scientists and technical experts examined how climatic change resulting from increases of greenhouse gases could affect various parts of the earth, and the technical, financial and institutional options for limiting or adapting to climate changes. The 24 participants of the second meeting used this information to explore policy steps for the near term, and necessary institutional arrangements. During the extensive review process, divergent views emerged on the emphasis of many issues, which underscores the need for the policy research, which is among the recommendations.

Three scenarios of possible climate change were developed, which project temperature increases per decade ranging from 0.06 C (lower bound) to 0.8 C (upper bound). The most extreme temperature increases would probably occur in winter in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Resulting changes would include withdrawal of summer pack ice, increased cloudiness, and changes in tundra and permafrost, with many effects on human activities. Rainfall in the mid-latitudes in summer may decrease. Sea-level rise would probably be at least 30 cm, enough to cause extensive coastal effects and damage. The main impacts in middle latitudes is expected to be on forests; serious effects, like die-back and species extinction, would not occur before year 2100 in the lower bound case, but subsequent release of carbon to the atmosphere would intensify the greenhouse problem. Semi-arid tropical regions would become drier, aggravating existing problems of food and fuel supply.

A coordinated international response to the problem is essential, because expected temperature changes are large compared to observed historic changes. Strategies must attempt to limit the change as well as adapt to it; the interaction with other manifestations of atmospheric and water pollution must be considered. Reasonable limitation of greenhouse warming mandates significant reduction in fossil fuel use. Among the other specific recommendations are: critical examination of long-term energy strategies; the reversal of deforestation; measures to limit greenhouse gases other than CO2; consideration by appropriate organizations of a global law or convention on the atmosphere.


Item #d88aug59

Report of the International Conference on the Assessment of the Role of Carbon Dioxide and of Other Greenhouse Gases on Climate Variations and Associated Impacts (WMO No. 661), 1986. World Climate Program, World Meteor. Org., Geneva.

Summarizes the 1985 Villach workshop that prompted the policy evaluation described in the previous entry.

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