February 28, 2007
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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 10, NUMBER 12, DECEMBER 1997
CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY
and the Art of Climate Maintenance," S. Rayner (Pacific Northwest
Natl. Lab., 901 D St. SW, S. 900, Washington DC 20024), E.L. Malone, Nature,
390(6658), 332-334, Nov. 27, 1997.
As nations grapple with commitments to mitigate climate change, the time
is ripe for a fresh look at climate change policy strategy. This article
outlines a new approach suggested by Human Choice and Climate Change,
a social science assessment edited by the authors (January, 1998). The
current emphasis on targets and timetables sidesteps other pressing issues
of human welfare. The authors recommend building responsive institutional
arrangements that monitor change, and maximize the flexibility of
populations to respond creatively and constructively to it.
Improvements in Public Health from Global-Climate Policies on Fossil-Fuel
Combustion: An Interim Report," Working Group on Public Health &
Fossil Fuel Combustion (attn. D.L. Davis, World Resources Inst., 1709 New
York Ave. NW, Washington DC 20006), The Lancet, 350,
1341-1348, Nov. 8, 1997.
The working group, consisting of health officials and experts on climate
and air pollution, estimated the short-term reduction in human mortality
from lowered particulate air pollution that would result if developed
countries significantly reduce carbon emissions. By 2020, 700,000 deaths
would be avoided annually worldwide. In the U.S. alone, avoidable deaths
in 2020 would equal those from human immunodeficiency disease or all liver
diseases in 1995.
To Expect From Kyoto," J. Lanchbery (Verification Technol. Info.
Clearinghouse (VERTIC), 20 Embankment Pl., London WC2N 6NN, UK), Environment,
39(9), 4-11, Nov. 1997.
Summarizes the diverse interests and competing agendas coming to the
Kyoto negotiating table in December 1997.
related papers in Nature, 390(6657), Nov. 20, 1997:
"The Great Debate on CO2 Emissions," K.
Ramakrishna (Woods Hole Res. Ctr., POB 296, Woods Hole MA 02543; e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org), 227-228. Comments on the following two papers,
which address, from different viewpoints, the question of how fast to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Any commitments adopted by developed
countries, along with private-sector involvement, will give a powerful
impetus to developing countries to adopt similar emission-reduction
"Implications of Recent CO2 Emission Limitation
Proposals for Stabilization of Atmospheric Concentrations," T.M.L.
Wigley (NCAR, S. 259, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), 267-270. To illustrate
policy options for stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations, the IPCC has
constructed concentration pathways or profiles into the future. This paper
devises new profiles that take into account emissions-limitation proposals
restricted to developed countries, as well as more recent emissions data.
To stabilize CO2 concentration at twice the preindustrial
value, they show that developed countries have several decades before
their emissions need to depart significantly from "business as usual."
Alternatively, international trade in carbon emissions would allow
developing countries to emit below their expected baselines, and benefit
from the trading of emissions rights.
"Influence of Socioeconomic Inertia and Uncertainty on Optimal CO2-Emission
Abatement," M. Ha-Duong, M.J. Grubb (Energy & Environ. Prog.,
Royal Inst. of Intl. Affairs, 10 St. James's Square, London SW1Y 4LE, UK),
J.-C. Hourcade, 270-273. Uses an integrated climate-economic model to
investigate the interplay of inertia in the energy systems that produce CO2,
and the uncertainty in desirable target greenhouse gas concentrations.
Finds that previously applied integrated assessment models underplay
inertia, and that early (possibly immediate) efforts to limit carbon
emissions will minimize the risk to environmental and economic systems.
Dynamic Crediting Regime for Joint Implementation to Foster Innovation in
the Long Term," A. Michaelowa (Hamburg Inst. for Econ. Res.HWWA,
Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20347 Hamburg, Ger.), H. Schmidt, Mitigation
and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 2(1), 45-56,
Joint implementation can be an efficient short-term policy, but in the
long term can hinder innovation in developed countries. To realize
short-term efficiency gains but also avoid long long-term efficiency
losses, this paper proposes fully crediting joint implementation
initially, but reducing the credit ratio with time while domestic carbon
taxes are raised.
Implementation Under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change:
Technical and Institutional Challenges," J.N. Swisher (E4 Inc., 1790
30th St., S. 440, Boulder CO 80301), Mitigation and Adaptation
Strategies for Global Change, 2(1), 57-80, 1997.
Discusses some of the information needs of joint implementation projects
and clarifies some common assumptions and arguments. Focuses on the
position of developing countries and their potential risks and benefits
regarding joint implementation.
Social Costs of Climate Change: The IPCC Second Assessment Report and
Beyond," S. Fankhauser (Global Environ. Facility, 1818 H St. NW,
Washington DC 20433), R.S.J. Tol, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies
for Global Change, 1(4), 385-403, 1997.
Earlier studies have estimated an aggregate monetized damage equivalent
to 1.5 to 2.0% of world GDP for doubled CO2. This paper
reviews available monetary damage assessments, starting from Chapter 6 of
IPCC Working Group III and covering more recent work. Newer studies
increasingly emphasize adaptation, variability, extreme events,
non-climatic stresses, and the need for integrated assessment of damages.
Estimates do not differ much from initial figures.
Market Failures: Are There Any Local Market-Based Corrective Mechanisms
for Global Problems?" R.U. Ayres (CMER, INSEAD, Fontainebleau,
France), Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change,
1(3), 289-309, 1997.
Reviews previously discussed policy tools, including legal,
administrative and fiscal (tax) schemes, as well as tradeable emission
permits, and concludes that none of them are really suitable for dealing
with global problems. Suggests an alternative: tradeable individual
consumption quotas for traded commodities at the national level, to be
extended later to the global level by trading quotas among nations.
Modeling and the False Tradeoff Between Environmental Protection and
Economic Growth," S.J. DeCanio (Dept. Econ., Univ. California, Santa
Barbara, Calif.; e-mail: email@example.com), Contemporary Econ.
Policy, 15(4), 10-27, Oct. 1997.
Examines "top-down" and "bottom up"
technical-economic models, finding that the former incorporate
questionable assumptions. Policy makers must abandon the presumption that
increased environmental quality can only be purchased at the expense of
other goods and services. Economists should acknowledge the limits on
their analyses that do not account for rapid technical change.
Technology R&D Essential to Curb Global Warming," M.G. Morgan
(Dept. Engineering & Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh
PA 15213), H. Dowlatabadi, Environ. Sci. & Technol., 31(12),
574A-575A, Dec. 1997.
Advocates vigorous funding of energy research. The technical community
needs to make it clear that research is not a substitute for regulatory
action, but an integral part of such action.
Joint Implementation a Realistic Option?" Environment, 39(9),
44-48, Nov. 1997.
Writers from Brazil, Zambia and India discuss an earlier comment on
and Mixed Policy Options for Reducing Energy Use and Carbon Emissions,"
J.N. Swisher (UNEP Collaborating Ctr. on Energy & Environ., Risų
Natl. Lab., POB 49, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark), Mitigation and
Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 1(1), 23-49, 1996.
Reviews non-fiscal policy options (such as utility energy-efficiency
programs, and accelerating technology development and demonstration),
resulting environmental impacts, and experiences with these options to
date. Examines why such options are mostly absent from energy-economic
models and climate change policy studies, and suggests approaches to
include them more.
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