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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 #d89jul14

The Full Range of Responses to Anticipated Climatic Change, 182 pp., April 1989. Commissioned by the United Nations Environment Program through the Beijer Institute for Energy, Resources and the Human Environment (Stockholm, Sweden). Request from the various international offices of UNEP.

Prepared as a review of possible options for the UNEP Governing Council meeting in May 1989, this report does not attempt to produce a consensus document. Chapters by various international authors instead present a variety of views on topics such as strategies for reducing the risk of rapid climate change, adaptation to change, options for active intervention (such as injecting reflective particles into the stratosphere), various levels of political response, and work to be carried out by the WMO/ICSU/UNEP Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases.

Item #d89jul15

Scientific Perspectives on the Greenhouse Problem, F. Seitz, R. Jastrow, W.A. Nierenberg, 37 pp., June 1989. Issued by the George C. Marshall Institute (11 Dupont Cir. NW, S. 506, Washington DC 20036; 202-328-5470).

Reviews the reliability of predictions of the greenhouse problem, the status of greenhouse forecasts and other factors influencing climate in the last 100 years, based on interviews with leading scientists. Concludes that solar variability may account for a substantial part of the observed post-1880 temperature rise of 0.5° C; if so, natural cooling in the 21st century may offset any human influence. Recommends investment of up to $100 million in supercomputing facilities to improve the ability of general circulation models to predict climate change. This in addition to improvements in observational systems will reduce the inherent uncertainty in climate forecasts.

Item #d89jul16

Electric Power Trends, 107 pp., May 1989. Cambridge Energy Research Assoc. (Attn: Stephen Aldrich, 20 Univ. Rd., Cambridge MA 02138; 617-497-6446); $50 ($35, 10 or more copies).

Assesses the implications for the electric power industry of several driving forces: public perceptions and public policy regarding air and water pollution, climate modification and industrial safety; a new equation of risk governing power plant construction; growing electricity demand, and the current economics of power generation and power purchase, which work against electricity producers whose costs are heavily fixed. With regard to environmental concerns, effects on the industry remain an open question, but it seems likely they could affect cost and availability of electricity in some regions of the United States.

Item #d89jul17

Power Surge--The Status and Near-Term Potential of Renewable Energy Technologies, N. Rader, K. Boley et al., 100 pp., May 1989. Public Citizen-Critical Energy Mass Project (215 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington DC 20003; 202-546-4996); $20 (14-page summary, $5).

Renewable energy technologies have grown dramatically during the past eight years despite a 90% cut in research and development funds during the Reagan Administration, accounting for almost 10% of all U.S. energy sources. Costs have declined as much as 75% since 1980, and renewables are a leading option for mitigating global warming--capable of eliminating at least 15% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by year 2000. Recommends reorientation of Department of energy funds, strengthening of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) to more logically promote renewables, and encouragement of renewable energy use in developing countries by Congress.

Item #d89jul18

An Efficient Approach to Reducing Acid Rain--The Environmental Benefits of Energy Conservation, E. Nixon, C. Neme, 64 pp., May 1989. Center for Clean Air Policy (Attn: Nicole Werner, 444 N. Capitol St., S. 526, Washington DC 20001; 202-624-8191); $25.

This 18-month study was reviewed during its progress by a national panel of experts which included both advocates and skeptics of energy conservation as an acid rain control option. The impacts of two alternative conservation scenarios were evaluated for two utility systems--American Electric Power Co. and the Tennessee Valley Authority. An aggressive conservation program, including for instance utility rebates to consumers for purchasing energy-efficient appliances or insulating buildings, could reduce electricity generation by up to 13% by year 2010. Stemming from this reduction are several benefits: costs of acid rain control, especially under current proposals based on scrubbers, would be lower; capital investment and operating and fuel costs would be lower, and contributions of carbon dioxide emissions to global warming would be reduced. Based on this study the authors and the review panel make several recommendations for incorporating energy conservation into acid rain legislation. Most important is the use of emission ceilings or caps rather than emission rate requirements, which do not reward energy conservation.

Item #d89jul19

State of the World--1989, L.R. Brown, A. Durning et al., 256 pp., 1989. Worldwatch Institute (1776 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036; 202-452-1999); $9.95. (Also available through W.W. Norton Co., 37 Great Russell St., London WC1B 3NU, UK.)

Sixth in an annual series, this report describes how the gap is widening between what is needed to reverse deterioration of the earth's environmental systems, and what is actually being done. It focuses on four key areas: developing energy strategies that have climate protection as their cornerstone, expanding the earth's forest cover, enhancing food security, and slowing the tremendous population growth that is lowering living standards in the Third World. Other chapters deal with protecting the ozone layer, halting land degradation and combatting AIDS.

Item #d89jul20

The Crucial Decade: The 1990s and the Global Environmental Challenge, 30 pp., 1989. World Resources Institute (1709 New York Ave. NW, Washington DC 20006; 202-638-6300). Order from WRI Pubs., POB 620, Holmes PA 19043; $7.

The Bush Administration and the U.S. Congress face a new agenda of environmental challenges that must be addressed now; they should declare atmospheric protection a national objective. Specific recommendations involve strengthening the Montreal Protocol, developing appropriate energy strategy, and initiatives to counter tropical forest destruction.

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