February 28, 2007
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Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 5, NUMBER 6, JUNE 1992
GENERAL INTEREST AND POLICY
Joint Climate Project to Address Decision Makers'
Uncertainties--Report of Findings, Science & Policy Assoc., 180 pp., May
1992, no charge. Request copies (No. TR-100772) from EPRI Distrib. Ctr., POB
23205, Pleasant Hill CA 94523 (510-934-4212).
(See News Notes, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST issue--June
1992.) Documents a federal-private sector effort sponsored by the Electric Power
Research Institute and several government agencies. In the first phase, dozens
of U.S. government and private sector officials were queried through interviews
and workshops to develop a consensus set of broad, policy-relevant questions for
researchers to address. In the second phase, experts in climate-related
disciplines met to discuss: (1) the research necessary to answer the questions;
(2) expectations for providing better information over the next two, five, ten
years and beyond; and (3) needs and opportunities for improving dialogue between
decision makers and researchers. Major findings follow:
More frequent and effective two-way communication is urgently needed between
decision makers and researchers. Researchers need to communicate to policy
makers interim information and iterative assessments while developing long-term
answers, being explicit about inherent uncertainties but not compromising
Some key questions can be addressed within a few years, based on available
scientific information. More information is needed on the regional impacts of
climate change from the economic, social and ecological sciences. Information on
climate change impacts and response strategies has the greatest potential for
assisting decision makers, yet these fields are the least researched.
While researchers need to provide a broad array of information to address
the complex decisions on climate change, decision makers need to recognize the
long time scales involved in the research, and the importance of continuity of
funding and program goals. The objective (as opposed to publicly perceived)
risks of climate change must be weighed against the risks of other economic,
social and environmental issues.
Included are charts of specific potential research results for understanding
climate change, its impacts and possible policy responses, over three time
frames: one or two years, five years, and ten years.
U.S. Views on Global Climate Change, 10 pp., May 1992, no charge.
OES, EGC, Rm. 4329, U.S. Dept. State, Washington DC 20520.
(See News Notes, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST issue--June
1992.) In view of the uncertainties regarding climate change, the U.S. prefers a
flexible, "bottom-up" (nonregulatory) approach using actions to
mitigate or adapt to possible warming that are also justified for other reasons.
Estimates individual reductions in greenhouse emissions resulting from current
federal programs, particularly those aimed at energy use. Overall, they
represent a 7-11% reduction in net projected emissions for the year 2000. Also
discusses international technology cooperation and the international
The following two reports are available (no charge) from George C.
Marshall Inst., 1730 M St. NW, S. 502, Washington DC 20036 (202-296-9655).
Global Warming Update--Recent Scientific Findings, 32 pp., Apr.
1992. (See News, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST issue--June 1992.)
Using results of very recently published research and other information, a panel
of scientists associated with the Marshall Institute argues that, contrary to
the IPCC findings, there is no strong case for predictions of serious greenhouse
warming. A five-year delay in launching expensive policies will make the world
warmer by at most one tenth of a degree, but we may understand the problem much
better by then. Topics include reasons for the poor quality of greenhouse
forecasts, recent findings on the influence of the sun on global temperature
over the last 100 years, and new results on global sea level.
Global Warming: What Does the Science Tell Us? 72 pp., 1990.
Explains the technical issues in the debate in language readily understandable
to the nonspecialist, including uncertainties in climate modeling related to
clouds and ocean circulation, and the search for a greenhouse signal in existing
climate records. Offers a projection of 21st-century warming based on the
response to known increases in greenhouse gas emissions over the past 100 years.
The Greenhouse Debate Continued: An Analysis and Critique of
the IPCC Climate Assessment, S.F. Singer, Ed., 100 pp., May 1992, $25 (Exec.
Summ. $5). Sci. & Environ. Policy Project, 2101 Wilson Blvd., S. 1003,
Arlington VA 22201 (703-527-0130).
(See News, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST issue--June 1992.) A
panel of 12 climate scientists from six countries reviewed the 1990 scientific
assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and its 1992 update
(GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST, Reports/General Interest, May 1992). The
panel concluded that the major assertions of the summary to the 1990 assessment,
regarding evidence for greenhouse warming over the last 100 years and expected
warming in the future, are not supported by either document. Major new findings
that cast further doubt on the 1990 conclusions have not been adequately treated
in the 1992 update. Recent surveys conducted by this organization and others
show that a majority of active climate specialists are skeptical about the
importance and urgency of the greenhouse problem. Includes a detailed analysis
of individual statements in the two documents.
The Acid Rain Experience: Lessons for the Future, R. Perhac, 8
pp., Feb. 1992. Single copies free to not-for-profit, governmental and
educational organizations. Contact Elec. Power Res. Inst. (510-934-4212).
Reprint of a two-part article in Power Engineering with implications
for climate change research and policy (see Prof. Pubs./Gen. Interest, this GLOBAL
CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST issue--June 1992).
The Greening of America's Taxes: Pollution Charges and Environmental
Protection (Policy Rep. No. 13), R.N. Stavins, B.W. Whitehead, 35 pp., Feb.
1992. Progressive Policy Inst., 316 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, S. 555, Washington DC
The Progressive Policy Institute is a project of the Democratic Leadership
Council that develops alternatives to the conventional left-right debate. This
paper argues that the challenge for environmentalists in the 1990s is to promote
greater reliance on market-based policies, which rely on the day-to-day
self-interest of individuals and firms rather than on centralized rulemaking.
Carbon charges to reduce greenhouse emissions and gasoline taxes for greater
fuel efficiency are two specific topics.
Jobs-at-Risk: Short-Term and Transitional Employment Impacts of
Global Climate Policy Options, W.A. Steger, F.H. Rueter, May 1992. For
7-page exec. summary contact Peter Soh, CONSAD Res. Corp. (202-828-8889).
Results of recent studies on the possible impacts of carbon taxes on the
U.S. economy were reviewed and synthesized. Concludes that 600,000 or more
American workers will lose their jobs by the year 2000 as a result of the
adoption of a carbon tax or similar climate change policies. States most heavily
affected would be Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois; the most
affected industries include mining and primary metals, chemicals and allied
products, oil and gas.
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Index of Abbreviations