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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d91apr1

Special Issue: Evaluation Review, 15(1), Feb. 1991. Edited by Steve Rayner, Global Environ. Studies Ctr., Oak Ridge Nat. Lab., Oak Ridge TN 37831. Published by Sage Publications, 2455 Teller Rd., Newbury Pk. CA 91320. Contains selected papers from the international workshop Managing the Global Commons: Decision Making and Conflict Resolution in Response to Climate Change (Knoxville, Tenn., Aug. 1-4, 1989). Social scientists attempted to develop a better understanding of how the world will react to a growing perception of increasing environmental changes from climate change, when obvious remedies appear to conflict with economic development.

"The Role of International Law: Formulating International Legal Instruments and Creating International Institutions," P.C. Szasz (formerly U.N. Off. Legal Affairs; Sharp's Ldng., Box 253, Germantown NY 12526)), 7-26.

International Agreements and Cooperation in Environmental Conservation and Environmental Resource Management," P.S. Thacher (World Resources Inst., 1709 New York Ave. NW, Washington DC 20006), 27-45.

"Bargaining among Nations: Culture, History and Perceptions in Regime Formulation," R.D. Lipschutz (Pacific Inst., 1681 Shattuck Ave., S. H, Berkeley CA 94709), 46-74.

"A Cultural Perspective on the Structure and Implementation of Global Environmental Agreements," S. Rayner, 75-102.

"Cross-National Differences in Policy Implementation," S. Jasanoff (Prog. Sci. Technol. & Soc., Cornell Univ., Ithaca NY 14853), 103-119.

"Global Thinking, Local Acting: Movements to Save the Planet," L.P. Gerlach (Dept. Anthropol., Univ. Minn., Minneapolis MN 55455), 120-148.

"Developmental and Geographical Equity in Global Environmental Change: A Framework for Analysis," R.E. Kasperson (CENTED, Clark Univ., Worcester MA 01610), K.M. Dow, 149-171.

Item #d91apr2

"The Greenhouse Effect in Central North America: If Not Now, When?" T.R. Karl (Global Clim. Lab., Nat. Clim. Data Ctr., NOAA, Fed. Bldg., Asheville NC 28801), R.R. Heim et al., Science, 251(4997), 1058-1061, Mar. 1, 1991.

Examined the predictions of climate models with the record over the past 95 years in the central U.S., finding that the signs of some trends are consistent with models, while others are not. None of the changes were significant except for maximum and minimum temperatures, but these were not predicted by the models. If the models are correct, it will take 40 years before statistically significant precipitation changes are detected and 50-60 years before projected changes in temperature are detected.

Item #d91apr3

"Positive about Water Feedback," R.D. Cess (Inst. Terr./Planet. Atmos., SUNY, Stony Brook NY 11794), Nature, 349(6309), 462-463, Feb. 7, 1991. Discusses implications of the following paper, which supports the conventional view (recently challenged by Lindzen) that atmospheric water vapor provides a positive feedback to increasing greenhouse gases.

"Positive Water Vapour Feedback in Climate Models Confirmed by Satellite Data," D. Rind (NASA-Goddard, 2880 Broadway, New York NY 10025), E.-W. Chiou et al., ibid., 500-503.

Item #d91apr4

"Could Reducing Fossil-Fuel Emissions Cause Global Warming?" T.M.L. Wigley (Clim. Res. Unit., Univ. E. Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK), ibid., 503-506.

CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels should warm the atmosphere, while the SO2 emissions, through production of sulfate aerosols, could result in cooling. Examined the sensitivity of the climate system to simultaneous changes in CO2 and SO2 emissions and concluded that it is possible that the increased radiative forcing from lowered SO2 concentrations could more than offset reductions in radiative forcing due to reduced CO2 emissions.

Item #d91apr5

"Predicting Ecosystem Responses to Elevated CO2 Concentrations," H.A. Mooney (Dept. Biol. Sci., Stanford Univ., Stanford CA 94305), B.G. Drake, et al., BioScience, 41(2), 96-103, Feb. 1991.

Discusses what can be predicted about the CO2 response of plants from physiological measurements and what has been learned from field observations. Gives results from direct tests of the CO2 response of whole ecosystems and indicates the promise and problems of the approaches used. Concludes there is an urgent need for additional research on the response of terrestrial ecosystems to elevated CO2 and climate change. This would include direct experimentation on intact ecosystems, with plots large enough to encompass feedbacks.

Item #d91apr6

Special Issue: "Global Environmental Change and International Relations," Millennium: J. Intl. Studies, 19(3), Winter 1990. Published by Millennium Pub. Group, London Sch. Econ., Houghton St., London WC2A 2AE. Single copy price US$10/Can$12/?5.

"Global Environmental Change and International Governance," O.R. Young (Inst. Arctic Studies, Dartmouth Coll., Hanover NH 03755), 337-346. In the study of international environmental regimes, five themes have emerged: structural, power-based, interest-based, cognitive and contextual. Further inquiry should be broadened to include such problems as preparatory activities leading to institutional bargaining, the problems associated with North-South interactions and the role of non-state actors.

"Obtaining International Environmental Protection through Epistemic Consensus," P.M. Haas (Dept. Political Sci., Univ. Massachusetts, Amherst MA 01003), 347-363. Epistemic communities are transnational networks of knowledge-based communities that are politically empowered through their claims to exercise authoritative knowledge and motivated by shared causes and principled beliefs. Although an epistemic community helped create the existing regime to protect the ozone layer, agreements are unlikely to be achieved by the same process in the global warming issue.

"Economics and the Global Environmental Challenge," D. Pearce (Dept. Econ., Univ. Coll. London, Gower St., London WC1E 6BT, UK), 365-387. After laying out a "constant natural capital" framework, argues that international agreement on ozone layer protection fits into this structure. Concludes that pollution taxes and tradeable permits are more likely to achieve internationally agreed global environmental targets than are command-and-control measures.

"The Environmental Challenges in Eastern Europe," C. ZumBrunnen (Geog. Dept., Univ. Washington, Seattle WA 98195), 389-412.

"Institutional and Legal Responses to Global Climate Change," G. Plant (Intl. Law., London. Sch. Econ., Houghton St., London WC2A 2AE, UK), 413-428. In confronting global climate change, decision makers will decide whether to reform existing international institutions or create new ones. The most plausible scenario involves an enhanced status and role for the U.N. Environment Program, along with its rationalisation within the U.N. system.

"North-South Issues, Common Heritage of Mankind and Global Climate Change," K. Ramakrishna (Intl. Environ. Law., Woods Hole Res. Ctr., Woods Hole MA 02543), 429-445. The experience of the Law of the Sea Convention cannot be used as a model for a law of the atmosphere. The more general concept, the common heritage of mankind, also is difficult to apply.

"Planetary Geopolitics," N. Brown (Atmos. Impacts Res., Univ. Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK), 447-460.

Item #d91apr7

"Nylon Production: An Unknown Source of Atmospheric Nitrous Oxide," M.H. Thiemens (Dept. Chem., Univ. California, La Jolla CA 92093), W.C. Trogler, Science, 251(4996), 932-934, Feb. 22, 1991. Nylon manufacture, for which N2O is a byproduct, may account for about 10% of the increase in atmospheric N2O.

Item #d91apr8

"New Estimates of Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Biomass Burning," W.R. Cofer III (Atmos. Sci. Div.,NASA-Langley, Hampton VA 23665), J.S. Levine et al., Nature, 349(6331), 689-691, Feb. 21, 1991.

Measurements made over a large prescribed fire using a real-time in situ technique from simultaneous grab-bottle sampling. The results from 27 small laboratory biomass test fires also help clarify the validity of earlier assessments. Concluded that biomass burning contributes about 7% of atmospheric N2O, as opposed to earlier estimates of several times this value.

Item #d91apr9

Correspondence (p. 467) among Jastrow, Lindzen et al. on the recent review by Hansen and Lacis of the relative importance of greenhouse gas emissions from various countries; correspondence (pp. 468-469) regarding greenhouse gas budgets by Enting and Rodhe. Nature, 349(6309), Feb. 7, 1991.

Item #d91apr10

"Impact of Desertification on Regional and Global Warming," R.C. Balling Jr. (Lab. Climatol., Arizona State Univ., Tempe AZ 85287), Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 72(2), 232-234, Feb. 1991.

Identification of greenhouse signals in temperature records are hindered by spurious trends. Widespread desertification is producing an additional statistically significant warming trend in land-based temperature records over the past century (4.99 x 10-3? C per year compared to areas with no desertification). Any greenhouse-driven desertification may amplify regional and global warming.

Item #d91apr11

"Rapid Changes in the Range Limits of Scots Pine 4000 Years Ago," A.J. Gear (Environ. Res. Ctr., Univ. Durham, South Rd., Durham DH1 3LE, UK), B. Huntley, Science, 251(4993), 544-547, Feb. 1, 1991.

Pine forests, present in Northern Scotland 4000 years ago, expanded then retreated rapidly by 70-80 km. Despite the rapidity of this response to climate change, it occurred at rates slower by an order of magnitude than those necessary to maintain equilibrium with forecast climate changes attributed to the greenhouse effect.

Item #d91apr12

"Calculating National Accountability for Climate Change," A.L. Hammond (World Resour. Inst., 1709 New York Ave. NW, 7th Fl., Washington DC 20006), E. Rodenburg, W.R. Moomaw, Environment, 33(1), 11-15, 33-35, Jan.-Feb. 1991.

Various methods are currently used to assess national contributions to greenhouse warming. However, in assessing climate input parameters nations vary in their measuring ability, organizational structures and application of standard methods, such that the accuracy and timeliness of most national-level data bases are poor. Proposes a realistic and workable method of making national comparisons and tracking trends in anthropogenic greenhouse emissions.

Item #d91apr13

"Three Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," S.H. Schneider (NCAR, POB 300, Boulder CO 80307), ibid., 25-30.

Reviews reports from the three IPCC working groups. At first dubious about the advisability of undertaking the two-year study leading to these reports, Schneider now concludes that they have provided a major opportunity for scientists and others to engage in responsible discussions about global warming, its potential impacts and possible solutions.

Item #d91apr14

"Potential Impacts of Contemporary Changing Climate on Caribbean Coastlines," F.J. Gable (Coastal Res. Ctr., Woods Hole Oceanog. Inst., Woods Hole MA 02543), D.G. Aubrey, Ocean Shoreline Mgmt., 13(1), 35-67, 1990.

Management of the region's coastal areas has been hindered by lack of understanding of complex coastal ecosystems and by the shortage of experts in coastal science and policy. Because of the wide diversity in storm exposure, local tectonics and land use, nations of the wider Caribbean cannot rely solely on a generic response to climate change. They should begin appropriate research and planning to set forth a response to global change.

Item #d91apr15

"Factors That May Influence Responses of the U.S. Transportation Sector to Policies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions," E.L. Hillsman (Ctr. Global Environ. Studies, Oak Ridge Nat. Lab., POB 2008, 4500N, MS-6206, Oak Ridge TN 37831), F. Southworth, Transport. Res. Record, No. 1267, 1990. Published by Transport. Res. Bd., Nat. Res. Council, Washington, D.C.

Although technical options to reduce CO2 emissions exist, policies must recognize the fragmentation of responsibility for key transportation activities and the need to coordinate decision making. Some of the diverse groups include vehicle suppliers, transportation service suppliers, consumers, fuel suppliers, and infrastructure developers.

Item #d91apr16

"Environmental Impact of Fires in Kuwait," R.D. Small (Pacific-Sierra Res. Corp., 12340 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90025), Nature(6313), 11-12, Mar. 7, 1991. Estimates of smoke mass produced by destruction of Kuwait's oil wells and refineries and of the smoke stabilization altitude do not support any of the purported climatic impacts. Only a small increase in the global CO2 budget results.

Item #d91apr17

Special Issue: "Biology and Palaeobiology of Global Climate Change," Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 5(9), Sep. 1990. Published by Elsevier Trends Journals, 68 Hills Rd., Cambridge CB2 1LA, UK.

Contains an introduction and 12 referenced articles by specialists on such topics as: climatic change and influences on species as evidenced by the fossil record; patterns of terrestrial biological communities; ocean productivity; microevolutionary consequences. Includes a detailed two-page illustration of characteristics of greenhouse gases.

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