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Global Climate Change Digest

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

FROM VOLUME 9, NUMBER 4, APRIL 1996

NEWS...
IPCC UNDER FIRE


Item #d96apr53

The latest in a series of pot shots aimed at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the publication of The Global Warming Debate. The book is a collection of essays edited by John Emsley, a chemist at London's Imperial College of Science and Technology, who has recently formed a group of scientists called the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF). It was released at a press conference timed to coincide with a March meeting of the Working Group on the Berlin Mandate, which is attempting to work out stronger commitments under the climate convention. (See Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 158-159, Mar. 6, 1996.)

Emsley and the ESEF challenge the conclusions of last fall's Second Assessment Report of the IPCC, arguing that the Earth may not be getting warmer, and if it is, carbon dioxide may not be the major cause; CFCs, methane, and nitrogen dioxide may be responsible. They think present scientific understanding is insufficient to warrant a painful shift from fossil fuels, and that the scientific consensus on climate change the IPCC purports to represent does not exist. An essay by Emsley praising the benefits of rising levels of CO2 appeared in the July 1995 issue of Chemistry in Britain (p. 562). It sparked lively correspondence printed in the November (pp. 870-871) and February (p. 30) issues. Contact ESEF at 73 McCarthy Ct., Banbury St., London SW11 3ET, UK (tel/fax: 44 171 924 2307).

Another jab at the IPCC was an editorial in Nature (p. 322, Nov. 23, 1995; discussed in Global Climate Change Digest News, Jan. 1996), which recommended elimination of the two working groups that do not deal directly with science. This has been countered by several writers in a later issue of Nature, including Michael Grubb, the lead author for Working Group III, in the Jan. 11 issue (pp. 108-109). A comment on one of those letters appears on p. 484 of the Feb. 8 issue.

Science recently published a comment from S. Fred Singer critical of the IPCC summary of its second assessment (pp. 581-582, Feb. 2). Counter arguments to Singer were made by Michael Prather (pp. 1042-1043, Feb. 23) and by T.M.L. Wigley (1481-1482, Mar. 15), with a reply by Singer to the latter (pp. 1482-1483).

For discussion of the IPCC second assessment see Global Climate Change Digest News, Jan. 1996, and the references listed there, or New Scientist, p. 5, Dec. 9, 1995. Global Environmental Change Report issued a special eight-page review of the assessment in March 1996, which includes a brief history and policy implications. Contact Cutter Information Corp., 37 Broadway, S. 1, Arlington MA 02174 (tel: 617 641 5118; fax: 617 648 1950; e-mail: clicata@cutter.com).

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