Archives of the
Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 11, NUMBER 6, JUNE 1998
Fueling Global Warming: Federal Subsidies to Oil in the United
States, D. Koplow (Industrial Economics Co.; tel: 617 354 0074), A.
Martin, June 1998. Prepared for Greenpeace Intl., whose Web site provides
the full text: http://www.greenpeace.org/~climate/.
Examines federal subsidies for oil, demonstrating that subsidies
continue to play a substantial role in the U.S. economy. Identifies areas
for reform that can save taxpayers money, reduce environmental damages,
and help meet carbon reduction targets.
Using Emissions Trading to Regulate U.S. Greenhouse Gas
Emissions: Basic Policy Design and Implementation Issues (RFF Clim.
Issue Brief #10), June 1998 (RFF). ...Additional Policy Design and
Implementation Issues (RFF Clim. Issue Brief #11), June 1988 (RFF).
Both by C. Fischer (e-mail: email@example.com), M. Toman and S. Kerr.
Available in print and on the RFF Web site.
The first paper addresses what sources and gases are covered by
regulation; what commodity is to be traded and with what method; how
rights to greenhouse gas permits are defined; and how uncertainties are
dealt with. The second paper explores designing and implementing a trading
system: initiation, intertemporal flexibility, and interactions with the
Tradable Carbon Permit Auctions: How and Why to Auction Not
Grandfather (RFF Discussion Paper 98-34), P. Cramton (e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org), S. Kerr, 50 pp., June 1998 (RFF). Full text
available on Web site.
The authors favor auctions of tradable permits over grandfathering
because they allow reduced tax distortions, provide more flexibility in
distribution of costs, provide greater incentives for innovation, and
reduce the likelihood of political arguments. To minimize administrative
costs, permits should be required at the level of oil refiners, coal
processing plants and the like.
Technology Opportunities to Reduce U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions,
June 1998. Released by the directors of the 11 U.S. National Laboratories,
this study was chaired by the directors of the Natl. Renewable Energy Lab.
and Oak Ridge Natl. Lab. Contact G. Douglas, Natl. Renewable Energy Lab.
(tel: 303 275 4096). Also available in PDF format at this Web site:
Outlines almost 50 technology pathways that could eliminate the
emissions of hundreds of million of tons of carbon per year, through
various near-term and long-term initiatives over the next 30 years. These
options cover almost all sectors of the economy including buildings,
industry, transportation and agriculture. If developed and widely used,
these technologies would also improve air quality, reduce U.S. dependence
on foreign oil, and increase U.S. technology exports.
Potential Production of Switchgrass and Traditional Crops Under
Current and Greenhouse-Altered Climate in the 'MINK' Region of the Central
United States (PNNL-2432), R.A. Brown, N.J. Rosenberg et al., 71 pp.,
Apr. 1998 (PNNL).
A report to Texas A&M Univ. et al. Addresses the feasibility and
possible impacts of a land use conversion from traditional agricultural
crops to switchgrass, a biomass energy crop, in the MINK region
(Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-Kansas), under current and potential
climate-change conditions. Simulations with the EPIC crop growth model
showed switchgrass yields to be highest in the southern, and lowest in the
northern portions of the region. The CSIRO general circulation model
indicated that temperature increases would extend the switchgrass growing
season, and diminish cold stress, with resultant yield increases.
Simulations were also done for traditional crops.
Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New
Generation of Vehicles [PNGV]Fourth Report, [Natl. Res.
Council] Standing Committee to Review... (chaired by T.O. Jones, Echlin
Inc., Cleveland, Ohio), 122 pp., Apr. 1998, $32 (NAP).
The PNGV, consisting of the federal government and domestic automakers
(Chrysler, Ford and General Motors), hopes to build concept vehicles by
2000 and production prototypes by 2004. Of the technologies evaluated, the
hybrid-electric vehicle (an electric car with a small diesel engine) is a
front runner, but it may not be affordable or meet emission standards. The
review committee makes several recommendations, including continued
research into concept vehicles such as types of fuels, vehicle weights,
and ignition mechanisms. Funding for research on fuel cells should
continue at present levels or be increased.
Case Studies in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading, J.B. Davis,
1998, $117 U.S./$127 elsewhere (Cutter).
Looks at ground breaking efforts relating to carbon offset, and analyzes
emerging trends in methods and strategies being used by project
organizers. Discusses the lessons learned, and explores what a
carbon-constrained future will be like. Projects covered include the Costa
Rican Protected Areas Project, the World Bank's Global Carbon Initiative
and its Carbon Investment Fund, Ontario's Pilot Emission Reduction Trading
Program, and Canada's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Trading Pilot.
Valuing the Global Environment: Actions and Investments for a
21st Century, Apr. 1998 (GEF).
Highlights success stories and identifies low cost actions (no-regrets
strategies) that can be taken now to protect the global environment. For
each of four issues (climate change, ozone depletion, biodiversity,
international waters), the report discusses current science, evolving
policy response, grassroots action, balance sheets for costs and benefits
of action and inaction, and the most promising collaborative solutions.
Communication on Transport and CO2: Developing a Community
Approach, Mar. 1998 (European Commission).
Reports that CO2 emissions from transport grew far more between 1985 and
1995 than from other main sectors or the European economy as a whole. Four
broad actions are crucial: improving automobile fuel emissions; including
the external costs of transport in prices; revitalizing railways; and
better integrating modes of passenger and freight transport.
Sustainable Aviation: The Need for a European Aviation Charge,
T. Sledsens (Coordinator), Apr. 1998. Obtain from the advocacy group
Transport & Environment, Brussels (tel: 32 2 502 9909).
Studied three approaches to establishing an aviation charge: 1) a charge
on the calculated emissions of a flight in European airspace; 2) a charge
on fuel burden at European airports; 3) a charge on passengers and freight
departing from European airports. Concludes that option 1) appears most
attractive and is probably most feasible. Also calls for an end to future
direct subsidies by EU governments to national airlines, and an end to the
exemption from sales tax or duty free sales for airline ticket sales.
Report of the Technical Committee on Business Taxation, 303
pp., Apr. 1998. A draft report from the Canadian Dept. of Finance (tel:
613 995 2855; fax: 613 996 0518; WWW: http://www.fin.gc.ca).
Prepared by a 10-member committee of tax experts, chaired by Jack Mintz,
Univ. of Tornoto. The report recommends that Canada should replace its
current $.10 per liter excise tax on gasoline, and the $.04 tax on diesel
fuel, with a broad-based tax on all energy sources (oil, natural gas,
coal, biofuels, electricity). It concludes that the primary cause of
environmental degradation results from individuals and businesses not
being faced with the full costs of their use of natural resources,
including damage from particular energy resources. Included is an 18-page
chapter, "Taxes as User Charges: Environmental Taxes."
Climate Change: A Strategic Issue for Business, Apr. 1998
This industrial group calls for the U.K. government to consider a
national carbon tax, which would be set at a level that does not lower
U.K. competitiveness. Without such a tax the country may not be able to
meet targets under the Kyoto Climate Protocol.
Coming Clean A Discussion Paper on the Use of Market
Instruments to Improve the Environment, Apr. 1998 (CBI).
This business group favors international trading of carbon emissions,
but recommends a carbon tax only in terms of the overall EU climate
Emissions Trading in Australia Developing a Framework
(RR98.1), Mar. 1998, A$30 (ABARE).
Discusses existing pollution trading strategies, how these could be
applied to greenhouse emissions in Australia, how different economic
sectors would be affected, and what issues need to be resolved.
Positive Measures for Technology Transfer Under the Climate
Change Convention (EEP Workshop Report), T. Forsyth, Ed., 128 pp.,
Feb. 1998, £9.95 (RIIA).
Presents the finding of a workshop on mitigating climate change through
technology transfer and foreign investment. Chapters cover viewpoints of
industry, developing countries, and development organizations on how
industry and governments can adopt positive measures to increase the
transfer of environmentally sustainable development between North and
Green Scissors '98, 1998. Published by a coalition of 26
groups including the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society and National Audubon
Concludes that taxpayers could save $49 billion over the next five years
if 71 government programs and subsidies were eliminated.
The Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Verification of Climate
Change Mitigation Projects: Discussion of Issues and Methodologies and
Review of Existing Protocols and Guidelines, E. Vine, J. Sathaye, 1998
(LBNL). Full text avaiable on the LBNL Web site.
Addresses issues on this topic, which will become increasingly important
as projects that are intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
proliferate. Looks at existing programs in the U.S. and the U.K. and in
international organizations such as the World Bank. Discusses components
that future guidelines should address.
Transportation, Energy and Environment: How Far Can Technology
Take Us? J. DeCicco, M. Delucchi, Eds., 278 pp., 1997, $33 (ACEEE).
From the 1995 Asilomar Conference on Transportation and Energy
Issues. Examines the potential for technological improvements in
highway vehicles, railroads and aircraft to move toward greater
sustainability. Covers such topics as real-world emissions; renewable and
alternative fuels; the potential for advanced and revolutionary automotive
technologies; freight efficiency and emissions of heavy trucks and rail;
and industrial perspectives on a transition to next-generation vehicles
and new fuels.
National Climate Change Action Plans: Interim Report for
Developing and Transition Countries, 1997 (U.S. Country Studies).
Looks at activities and progress of 11 countries (Bolivia, Bulgaria,
Czech Republic, Egypt, Gambia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russian
Federation, Tanzania, Thailand) in preparing climate change action plans.
The countries could finance very little, or as much as 75% of the costs of
the action plans they have under preparation. Also identifies
Reforming Energy and Transport Subsidies: Environmental and
Economic Implications, 166 pp., 1997, $37/FF190/DM56 (OECD).
Presents studies from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway,
Russia, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. on how subsidy reform (elimination of
unsound subsidies) can lead to a reduction in environmental damage while
achieving economic objectives. Shows how eliminating $100 billion in
energy and transport supports could reduce emissions of both CO2 and the
acid rain precursors, sulfur and nitrogen oxides. However, eliminating all
subsidies could be bad for the environment; reducing support to
hydroelectric power, off-grid renewables, or energy efficiency investments
could substantially raise GHG emissions.
Transport, Energy and Climate Change, 68 pp., 1997,
Looks at the difficulties for policy makers in demanding sudden and
short-term changes in the patterns of energy use and emissions in the
transport sector. Increased demand for mobility and related infrastructure
means that action must be taken now to address the carbon intensity of the
More Clean Air for the Buck: Lessons from the Acid Rain Program,
D.J. Dudek, J. Goffman, 1997 (EDF).
Uses the U.S.. acid rain program as a model for emissions trading of
nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gases. The incentives created in the acid
rain program have led utilities to cut SO2 emissions by about 35% more
than required in 1995 and 1996, and have created competition among
pollution reduction methods which resulted in their costs being less than
one tenth the predicted cost. Describes how such a strategy would work for
early reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, and how companies would
Cool It! 1997 (FOE). The text is available at this Web site:
Calls for the elimination of $10 billion in wasteful government
subsidies and tax breaks for greenhouse gas polluting industries. These 11
worst programs include a tax exemption for the worst gas guzzling cars,
minivans and trucks; inflated tax breaks for oil and coal companies; the
Clean Coal Technology Program; capital gains treatment for income
generated by the sale of coal; and the Rural Utilities Service.
Are Tradable Carbon Emission Quotas Internationally Acceptable?
P. Bohm, 1997. Contact the author at Dept. Econ., Univ. Stockholm, Sweden
(tel: 46 8 162 163; fax: 46 8 16 14 25; e-mail: email@example.com).
Presents the results of a survey. Swedish diplomats, who were
knowledgeable about 29 different countries, provided information about the
perceived acceptability of tradable emission quotas.
Understanding Concerns About Joint Implementation, 1997.
Contact the Joint Inst for Energy & Environ., Univ. Tennessee,
Knoxville, Tenn. (tel: 423 974 0721; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; WWW:
Discusses concerns raised about Joint Implementation and its
application. The full text is available on the above Web site.
Implementing an Emissions Cap and Allowance Trading System for
Greenhouse Gases: Lessons from the Acid Rain Program, 1997, $25. Transparency
and Responsiveness: Building a participatory process for Activities
Implemented Jointly Under the Climate Change Convention, 1997, $20.
Both from ELI; full text available on the ELI Web site.
In the first report, the Environ. Law Inst. explains how governments can
use the lessons learned from the world's only widespread emission trading
system, the U.S. SO2 trading program to reduce acid rain.
The second report reviews the role of the public in pilot joint
implementation programs conducted since the 1992 Earth Summit, and
examines ways to strengthen transparency and public participation.
Activities Implemented Jointly: Partnerships for Climate and
Development, 111 pp., 1997, $23/FF140/DM42 (IEA).
This report presents a history of a program that was launched as a pilot
project in 1995. It also examines concerns of developing countries, and
provides technical and policy insights into barriers, methodology and
management of AIJ. Presents case studies of photovoltaics, wind, biomass,
and coal-based power generation in developing countries.
Developing a Standard Corporate Global Warming Indicator,
NPI, one of the U.K.'s leading pension and life insurance companies, in
conjunction with the Imperial College Centre for Environmental Technology,
developed an indicator to help promote the routine corporate reporting of
greenhouse gas emissions. The indicator is based on the simplest
obtainable data, much of which many companies already report, including
fuel consumption by type, transport-related fuel use, and process-related
emissions of other GHGs.
Mitigating Greenhouse Gases: Voluntary Reporting, 1997 (EIA).
In 1995, the second year of the U.S. Energy Information Adminstration's
voluntary program which involves mostly electric utilities, participation
increased by 35%. More than 140 participants reported on programs which
reduced or offset greenhouse gases equivalent to 184 million metric tons.
Projects included cogeneration, use of non-fossil fuels, demand-side
management, landfill methane recovery, tree planting, and alternative
The Economics of Technology Diffusion: Implications for
Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in Developing Countries (Clim. Issues Brief
No. 5), A. Blackman, Oct. 1997 (RFF).
Reviews the current state of knowledge on this topic, giving seven types
of policy options available to influence the speed of diffusion of
climate-friendly technologies in developing countries. The most practical
options are rationalizing energy prices, improving information, and
investing in energy infrastructure.
Stimulating Technological Change: The FCCC in the Context of
Developing Country Initiatives, S. Barathan, Ed., 93 pp., 1997 (TERI).
Represents the proceedings of a workshop of speakers and panelists from
many countries, held at the Second Session of the Conference of
Parties (COP-2) to the UNFCCC (Geneva, July 1996). Because
issues of technology transfer have not received adequate attention during
negotiations on the implementation of the Climate Change Convention, TERI
organized this workshop that presented issues, challenges, and promising
trends, and prepared an agenda for action.
Assessing the Constraints and Opportunities for Private-Sector
Participation in Activities Implemented Jointly: Two Case Studies from the
US Initiative for Joint Implementation [USIJI], 1997 (RFF). Text
available at the RFF Web site.
Transaction costs and the absence of financing can be substantial
hurdles in implementing projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The
report suggests that the formal host country is also a major impediment to
project development, because the approval process often becomes entangled
in broader struggles over economic reforms, and solicitation of bribes by
officials in countries where such is an accepted practice. Specific
projects discussed include a coal bed methane recovery project in Poland,
and a fuel switching project in the Czech Republic.
Guide to Publishers
Index of Abbreviations