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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 #d92aug1

"A Sequential Decision Strategy for Abating Climate Change," J.K. Hammitt (RAND, 1700 Main St., Santa Monica CA 90407), R.J. Lempert, M.E. Schlesinger, Nature, 357(6376), 315-318, May 28, 1992.

Proposes a two-phase policy consisting of a near-term period (1992-2002) followed by a least-cost abatement policy to limit global mean temperature rise to a target amount. Uses a simple climate/ocean model to compare the costs of two alternatives during the first phase: moderate emissions reductions (by energy conservation only), or aggressive reductions (conservation plus switching to other fuel sources). The moderate option is less expensive if the allowed temperature increase is large; otherwise, the aggressive option is cheaper.

Item #d92aug2

"Strengthening the Montreal Protocol: Does It Cool Down the Greenhouse?" M.G.J. den Elzen (RIVM, POB 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, Neth.), R.J. Swart, J. Rotmans, Sci. Tot. Environ., 113(3), 229-250, Mar. 31, 1992.

Evaluates the global warming implications of ozone protection policy options using the Institute's Integrated Model to Assess the Greenhouse Effect (IMAGE), a science-based policy model. Methylchloroform, halons, and those HCFCs and HFCs with lower global warming potentials than HCFC-22 contribute only marginally to the greenhouse effect. From the perspective of global warming, the use of these alternatives could be tolerated during a transition period if they help avoid further growth of the total production of HCFCs after replacement of the present CFCs.

Item #d92aug3

Two papers from Sci. Tot. Environ., 112 (2-3), Mar. 1992, by C. Kroeze (Dept. Environ. Sci., Univ. Amsterdam, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, 1018 VZ Amsterdam, Neth.) and L. Reijnders:

"Halocarbons and Global Warming, II," 269-290. Uses an improved zero-dimensional computer model to calculate the future use of CFCs, halons and H(C)FCs and their warming impacts. The renewed Montreal Protocol may result in an equilibrium temperature increase at the Earth's surface of 0.38° -0.75° C by 2100 when H(C)FCs are used unrestrictedly to replace CFCs and halons, although this warming could be reduced 40% by better housekeeping and handling of halocarbon wastes. A phase-out of HCFCs by 2035, which is under discussion, could result in either more or less warming depending on the properties of the chemicals used to replace them and the extent of emission controls employed.

"Halocarbons and Global Warming, III," 291-314. Estimates impacts of specific halocarbons and their applications based on expected use through the year 2100. Refrigeration and mobile air conditioning (and HCFC-22 and HFC-134a) will contribute most to warming if H(C)FCs are used unrestrictedly to replace CFCs and halons. If HCFCs are phased out and replaced by HFCs, the greatest contribution to warming will be from HFC-134a, -143a and -125.

Item #d92aug4

"Extreme Events in a Changing Climate: Variability is More Important Than Averages," R.W. Katz (ESIG, NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), B.G. Brown, Clim. Change, 21(3), 289-302, July 1992.

Uses statistical theory to show that the frequency of extreme events (which serve as a catalyst for concern about climate change) depends more on changes in the variability than in the mean. Climate model experiments should be designed to detect changes in climate variability, and policy analysis should not rely on scenarios of future climate involving only changes in means.

Item #d92aug5

The following are three of seven articles from an issue of Impact of Sci. on Society (No. 166, 1992) devoted to "Ennironment and Development." (Published jointly by UNESCO and Taylor & Francis Ltd.):

"The Ocean and Climate," R.W. Stewart (4249 Thornhill Cr., Victoria, B.C. V8N 3GC, Can.), 163-170. Overview of the importance of the ocean in the climate system, and the types of research needed to improve our understanding. Adapted from material developed for the Second World Climate Conference.

"The Evolution of Global Environmental Change: Issues and Research Programs," M.F. Price (Dept. Geog., Univ. Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK), 171-182. Describes the evolution of concern over global environmental change and of related international research programs, emphasizing the link between the natural and social sciences.

"Climatic Change and Desertization," H.N. Le Houérou (CNRS-CEFE, B.P. 5051, 34033 Montpellier Cedex, France), 183-201. The possible future increase in global temperature will only accelerate the process of desertification, to the detriment of life and the economy of many developing countries.

Item #d92aug6

"Canada, Carbon Dioxide and the Greenhouse Effect," L. Hughes (Dept. Math., St. Mary's Univ., Halifax, N.S. B3H 3C3, Can.), S. Scott, Intl. J. Energy, Environ., Econ., 1(2), 111-117, 1991.

Considers the impact of Canadian CO2 emissions on the greenhouse effect in light of recommendations from the 1988 Conference on the Changing Atmosphere. A computer model shows that unless steps are taken immediately, Canada will not be able to meet the conference's proposed CO2 emission reduction of 20% of 1988 levels by the year 2005, let alone meet any more substantial cuts that may be required.

Item #d92aug7

"Climate Hazards, Climatic Change and Development Planning," W.E. Riebsame (Dept. Geog., Univ. Colorado, Boulder CO 80309), Land Use Policy, pp. 288-296, Oct. 1991.

The threat of global warming calls for new approaches to development planning and expansion of the repertoire of options that will help avoid premature action or paralysis by uncertainty. Options should include actions that are easily and cheaply implemented and reversed. Planners should seek strategies that link the uncertain threat of climatic change to current certainties: current natural hazards, and the contribution to current environmental problems of resource management systems.

Item #d92aug8

Special issue: "An Annotated Bibliography on the Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change," M.D. Handel (Phillips Lab./GPAS, Hanscom Air Force Base, MA 01731), J.S. Risbey, Clim. Change, 21(2), 97-255, June 1992. Discusses over 600 articles, reports and books selected to facilitate rapid introduction to important issues and findings. Topics include observations, theory and modeling, policy issues, history of the study of the greenhouse effect, and other causes of climate change. The following editorial by the same authors precedes the bibliography:

"Reflections on More Than a Century of Climate Change Research," 91-96. Examines the consequences of the shift in research focus from present and past climates to prediction of future climate change due to human activity. Suggests future research.

Item #d92aug9

"The Long-Term Ecological Effects of Pollutants; Some Issues," L.W. Blank (ERL Ltd., 106 Gloucester Pl., London, UK), A.J. Crane, R.A. Skeffington, Sci. Tot. Environ., 116(1-2), 145-158, May 1, 1992.

Considers three case studies: increased emissions of CO2, excess nitrogen deposition to natural vegetation, and acid rain. Three sources of pollutants are involved: natural processes, natural human functions, and industrial processes related to energy consumption (from which emissions can be reduced but not eliminated). The sum of these sources produces an "irreducible" background pollution level, the ecological consequences of which need further exploration.

Item #d92aug10

"Access and Assimilation: Pivotal Environmental Information Challenges," H. Benking, U.B. Kampffmeyer (Isestr. 63, 2000 Hamburg 13, Ger.), GeoJournal, 26(3), 323-334, Mar. 1992.

Gives a lengthy, illustrated description of the Harmonization of Environmental Measurement project (HEM) established by UNEP under the Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS). Key design elements are a multilingual thesaurus and hypertext applications. Compares features of a number of existing national and international monitoring programs.

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