February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 9, NUMBER 6, JUNE 1996
CLIMATE CHANGE ASSESSMENT
Assessment Report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
last fall was formally published in three volumes this month by Cambridge
University Press. (See Books, this Digest issue--June 1996.) The
synthesis and summary for policymakers are available as a booklet from IPCC, WMO
Bldg., CP 2300, 1211 Geneva 2, Switz..
In March, the European Science and Environment Forum published a set of
papers by scientists questioning the IPCC conclusions. (See Books, this Digest
issue--June 1996, and News, April 1996.) Now three more critiques have appeared,
from the World Energy Council, the Western Fuels Association, and the Marshall
Institute. (See Reports, this Digest issue--June 1996.)
The World Energy Council considers potential climate change a serious
although uncertain threat. Its major concerns with the assessment are that the
underlying uncertainty has not been sufficiently publicized, and that it does
not sufficiently stress the urgency to undertake "minimum regret"
actions now, as insurance against climate change. The Council's review is
discussed at length in Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-3, May 24,
1996, and more briefly in Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 361-362, May 1,
The Western Fuels document is the first of an annual research review from
the Global Climate Coalition, a U.S. industry consortium. It contains
contributions from five climatologists that clearly differ from the IPCC
conclusions concerning the detection and prediction of anthropogenic climate
change. The review consolidates much of the material that has appeared in the
biweekly World Climate Report, also funded by Western Fuels.
The Marshall Institute report asserts that anthropogenic greenhouse gases
account for at most only a few tenths of a degree of observed global warming.
(For excerpts and comments, see Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 339-340, Apr.
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