February 28, 2007
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A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 8, NUMBER 7, JULY 1995
OF GENERAL INTEREST: POLICY AND ECONOMICS
"Outcome and Value Uncertainties in Global-Change Policy," J.K.
Hammitt (Sch. Publ. Health, Harvard Univ., 718 Huntington Ave., Boston MA
02115), Clim. Change, 30(2), 125-145, June 1995.
The consequences of alternative policies cannot always be predicted because
of substantial "outcome uncertainties" linking policy choices to
consequences. Similarly, assessments of social preferences among alternative
outcomes are limited by "value uncertainties." These two types of
uncertainty are examined for ozone depletion and climate change. On the whole,
outcome uncertainty drove the policy response to ozone depletion in the 1980s,
but value uncertainty may be more important for climate change policy.
"Efficiency, Equity or Disagreement? The Economics of International
Carbon Abatement Negotiations," N. Mabey (Ctr. Econ. Forecasting, London
Business Sch., Sussex Pl., Regents' Pk., London NW1 4SA, UK), C. Smith, World
Resour. Rev., 7(2), 190-214, June 1995.
Economists often criticize the climate convention as inefficient because it
uses uniform targets instead of theoretically more efficient instruments such as
taxes. However, the effectiveness of any treaty depends on its political
stability and the ability to accurately monitor and enforce its conditions, not
just on economic efficiency. This paper analyzes the trade-offs involved in
order to balance the need for administrative convenience and economic efficiency
with the realization that any agreement is better than no agreement.
"Global Warming Risk in Russia: National Actions and Some Options
for International Cooperation," V.I. Sokolov (Russian Acad. Sci., 2/3
Khlebny pereulok, Moscow, 121814 Russia), ibid., 268-281.
A comprehensive survey of the state of the global warming issue in Russia
that begins by analyzing why the topic has received relatively little public and
governmental attention, a situation that has only recently begun to change.
Factors include the economic situation, contradictory views within the
scientific community, and poor cooperation between natural and social
scientists. Response options under consideration tend to be dominated by
national economic policies; global warming concerns are secondary. Joint
implementation of forestry projects, for example those involving the U.S. and a
German non-profit group, offer an attractive response option for Russia under
the current economic and technological conditions.
"Integrated Risk Analysis of Global Climate Change," A.
Shlyakhter, L.J. Valverde A. Jr., R. Wilson (Dept. Phys., Harvard Univ.,
Cambridge MA 02138), Chemosphere, 30(8), 1585-1618, Apr. 1995.
Demonstrates how the calculation of risk proceeds by considering a number of
nearly independent steps in the climate change problem. Since uncertainty plays
a central role, various aspects of uncertainty are considered, including impacts
on issues such as value of information and problems of interregional and
intergenerational equity. A widely held view among scientists and the lay public
is that policy responses should establish an insurance policy; this amounts to
considering the upper limit of a probability distribution of impacts. Efforts
should now focus on translating the large, existing body of contradictory
information about past and present climate into a defensible upper limit, and
integrated risk analysis should be an important tool in this process for
decision makers and risk managers.
Cost-benefit analysis applied to long-term environmental problems
(particularly afforestation to sequester carbon) is discussed at length in two
papers in Clim. Change, July 1995. (See Prof. Pubs./Of Gen. Int./Forests
and Afforestation, this issue--July 1995.)
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