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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 #d92may1

"A Comprehensive Approach to Climate Policy: Reconciling Long-Term Needs with Short-Term Concerns," R.J. Swart (Bruce Co., Washington, D.C.), Intl. J. Environ. Aff., 4(1), 35-55, Winter 1992.

In international climate negotiations, the U.S. has recently favored a comprehensive approach that takes account of all sources and sinks of greenhouse gases. As the only approach that can ultimately control climate change, that has both environmental and economic benefits, it should be a guiding principle of any international agreement as well as for research, monitoring and technology transfer. To avoid delaying development of currently cost-effective or useful policies, a two-phase introduction is proposed. In the first five to ten years, experience would be gained by national and international arrangements and would form a basis for designing quantitative objectives or implementation mechanisms. They would focus on fossil CO2 emissions, and possibly chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and net biotic CO2 emissions (balance of deforestation and reforestation). The second phase would involve a multinational system with a full comprehensive approach.

Item #d92may2

"Verifying Compliance with an International Convention on Greenhouse Gases," J.C. di Primio (KFA Res. Ctr., Jülich, Ger.), G. Stein, H.F. Wagner, Environment, 34(2), 4-5, 45, Mar. 1992.

In contrast to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, on-site inspection and surveillance aimed at establishing material balance is inappropriate as an international verification system for greenhouse gases. Proposes a system whereby national agencies determine their countries' emissions in terms of reliable calculations or proxies, and declare this information to an international organization which would verify it through audits and other checks of reliability. A global inventory of anthropogenic emissions and related data is an urgent need.

Item #d92may3

"Effects of Fuel and Forest Conservation on Future Levels of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide," J.C.G. Walker (Dept. Atmos. Sci., Univ. Michigan, Ann Arbor MI 48109), J.F. Kasting, Global Planet. Change, 5(3), 151-189, Mar. 1992.

Presents a numerical simulation of the global biogeochemical cycles of carbon extending from years to millions of years, which includes the ocean, atmosphere and minerals, and accounts for the fertilization effect of elevated CO2 levels. It reproduces reasonably well the historical record of CO2 levels over the past 200 years in response to fossil fuel burning and land use changes. Although the fertilization effect of increased CO2 currently outweighs the effects of forest clearance, future CO2 levels are very sensitive to the fate of forests. Atmospheric levels of CO2 below 500 ppm could be sustained indefinitely if fossil fuel combustion rates were immediately cut by a factor of 25, and if forest clearance halted.

Item #d92may4

Three items from Science, 256(5053), Apr. 3, 1992:

"Fugitive Carbon Dioxide: It's Not Hiding in the Ocean," R.A. Kerr, p. 35. (See Research News, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST issue--May 1992.)

"Oceanic Uptake of Fossil Fuel CO2: Carbon-13 Evidence," P.D. Quay (Sch. Oceanog., Univ. Washington, Seattle WA 98195), B. Tilbrook, C.S. Wong, 74-80.

The net amount of CO2 taken up by the oceans and released from the biosphere between 1970 and 1990 have been determined from the changes in three measured values: atmospheric CO2, its delta 13C value, and the delta 13C of dissolved inorganic carbon in the ocean. The result, a net ocean uptake of 2.1 gigatons per year, implies that the ocean is the dominant net sink for anthropogenic CO2 and that there has been no significant net CO2 released from the biosphere during the last 20 years.

"Biomass and Carbon Budget of European Forests, 1971 to 1990," P.E. Kauppi (Finnish For. Res. Inst., Unioninkatu 40 A, SF-00170 Helsinki, Finland), K. Mielikäinen, K. Kuusela, 70-74.

Based on measurements from six western European countries, concludes that biomass has increased in the 1970s and 1980s in forests of Europe, despite adverse effects of air pollution. If there has been a similar increase on other continents, biomass accumulation in nontropical forests can account for much of the estimated mismatch between sinks and sources of atmospheric CO2.

Item #d92may5

"Global Environmental Change Issues in the Western Indian Ocean Region," F.J. Gable (Coastal Res. Ctr., Woods Hole Oceanog. Inst., Woods Hole MA 02543), D.G. Aubrey, J.H. Gentile, Geoforum, 22(4), 401-419, 1991.

Sets into a regional context for countries on the east coast of Africa the problems arising from changes in global climate, focusing on the coastal zone. A regional strategy is needed to address the following: acquisition of tide-gauge and other data to estimate relative sea-level rise; alteration of regional and local activities that may contribute to greenhouse gas emissions; policies to minimize impacts from possible future relative sea-level rise and meteorological changes; and linkages between potential climate changes and present anthropogenic stress on the environment.

Item #d92may6

"The MINK Project: A New Methodology for Identifying Regional Influences of, and Responses to, Increasing Atmospheric CO2 and Climate Change," N.J. Rosenberg (Clim. Prog., Resour. for the Future, 1616 P St., Washington DC 20036), P.R. Crosson, Environ. Conserv., 18(4), 313-322, Winter 1991.

This major study of impacts on the total economy of the Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-Kansas (MINK) region included possibilities of response and adaptation, and intersectoral linkages. The method developed is not scenario-dependent and has potential for application to other regions. Results indicate that impacts of projected change would be profound for agriculture, but substantial adaptation would be possible; current water resource limits would intensify and irrigation would shift eastward; impacts on forestry would be severe with little opportunity for adaptation, unless biomass production becomes economically viable. (See related reports, GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST, Reports/Impacts, Oct. 1991.)

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