February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 3, NUMBER 6, JUNE 1990
The following comments refer to the satellite observation study by
Spencer and Christy (listed above) in Science, pp. 1558-1560, Mar. 30,
"Too Much Hot Air," New Sci., 126(1713), 19, Apr.
21, 1990. Explains that the satellite results do not demonstrate that there is
no global warming, as the ten-year testing period is too short to show a trend.
However, they do show that satellite measurements are a good guide to global
temperatures, and match the temperatures inferred from traditional ground-based
"Uncertainties About Global Warming," P.H. Abelson, Science,
247(4950), 1529, Mar. 30, 1990. Despite uncertainties, we should still
be forming long-range goals and taking actions that induce conservation and
enhance energy efficiency.
Environ. Sci. Technol., 24(4), Apr. 1990. The views of
three scientists who differ on the global warming issue are presented in this
"Some Remarks on Global Warming," R.S. Lindzen (Mass. Inst.
Technol., Cambridge MA 02139), 424-426. Focuses on the role of CO2 in global
warming and shows how policy designed to prevent warming will have almost no
effect on it. Given the logarithmic dependence of warming on CO2, the
elimination of America's 20% contribution to CO2 production would reduce warming
by a fraction of a degree--a reduction that would be wiped out in a few years by
the rest of the world. The challenge of environmentalism in the 1990s will be
dealing with problems like this in a responsible manner.
"Climate Change and Global Warming--A New Role for Science and Decision
Making," P. Rogers (Harvard Univ., Cambridge MA 02138), 428-430. Long-term
financial commitments are needed for thorough and extended study of global
climate change. The climatological community must expand its research methods
and membership to include many other disciplines such as statistics, hydrology
and operations research. This expansion will assist in assigning priorities to
possible responses to global warming.
"The Global Warming Debate: Science or Politics?" S.H. Schneider
(NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), 432-435. The global-warming debate is both
science and politics. An awareness of just what models are and what they can and
cannot do is probably the best we can ask of the public and its representatives.
The tough policy problem will be how to apply society's values in facing the
future, given the possible outcomes that climate models foretell.
"The Greenhouse Effect: The Fallacies in the Energy Efficiency
Solution," L. Brookes (Energy Econ. Consult., Bournemouth, Hampshire, UK),
Energy Policy, 8(2), 199-201, Mar. 1990.
Argues, in reference to work by Keepin and Kats, that widespread
improvements in energy efficiency cannot by themselves halt the build-up of
greenhouse gases worldwide. Reductions in energy intensity of output that are
not damaging to the economy are associated with increases, not decreases, in
energy demand at the macroeconomic level. Proposes alternative strategies for
averting global warming, and suggests that the current intense interest on the
topic has avoided sober consideration of the validity and cost of solutions.
"A Survey of Informed Opinion Regarding the Nature and Reality of a
Global Greenhouse Warming," D.H. Slade (Environ. Sci. Consult., 859 Loxford
Terrace, Silver Spring MD 20901), Clim. Change, 16(1), 1-4, Feb.
Twenty-two respected environmental scientists were polled with a 16-question
survey that dealt mainly with the technical aspects of global warming, but also
with institutional concerns. Results show a general agreement that the issue is
real and that we may look forward to climatic surprises, although the magnitude
of the climate change may be about as predicted. Argues for research program
mechanisms that are flexible and can respond rapidly to these surprises.
"Greenhouse Guessing: When Should Scientists Speak Out?" A.
Henderson-Sellers (Sch. Earth Sci., Macquarie Univ., New South Wales 2109,
Australia), ibid., 5-8, 1990.
In an editorial, a leading climatologist explains why scientists should
argue for increased energy efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The general public may not understand that, by the time scientists are
absolutely certain of global warming, it will be much too late to avert most of
the changes that mankind is currently effecting.
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