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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

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

FROM VOLUME 12, NUMBER 1, JANUARY 1999

REPORTS

Prices and page numbers may be approximate. Obtain reports or further information from sources named in parentheses at the end of each citation; addresses are listed at the end of this section.


Item #d99jan26

Positive Measures: Panacea or Placebo in International Environmental Agreements, Nord 1998:11, Per Mickwitz, 80 pp., 100 DKK + VAT, $18.00, 1998 (Nordic Council of Ministers; Bernan).

Reaching efficient international environmental agreements is often difficult. To overcome some of the problems, environmental agreements often incorporate aspects outside their core environmental area. These additional measures and incentives (such as financial and technology transfers, increased market access, or joint implementation) are called positive measures. Positive measures are playing a key role in the climate-change negotiations, particularly joint implementation, tradeable emission permits, and technology transfer. One of the subsections in this report deals explicitly with the use of these measures in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto protocol. Other sections refer to the experiences of climate-change negotiations and debates among economists and political scientists on climate-change policy. Both efficiency and equity arguments for positive measures are examined here. The book also identifies some key implementation issues, such as transaction costs; monitoring, baselines, and enforcement; the relationship between positive measures and official development assistance; concern for environmental issues; and capacity to implement commitments.


Item #d99jan27

Will Climate Change Spark More Wildfire Damages? LBNL Rept. 42592, M. Torn, E. Mills, and J. Fried, 9 pp., 1998 free from authors (LBNL); also available on the WWW: http://eande.lbl.gov/CBS/EMills/wild.html.

This first-ever analysis of the potential effect of global climate change on wildfires in California examined three regions in Northern California: Santa Clara, the Sierra foothills, and Humboldt. Each features a distinct climate, and, together, harbor most of the vegetation types found in the American West. The researchers used the results from the Goddard Institute for Space Sciences climate model to project climate conditions and then assessed how these conditions would affect wildfire initiation, intensity, and propagation rate. Climate change would cause fires to spread faster and burn more intensely in most vegetation types, resulting in many more acres being burned than under the current climate. The biggest impacts were seen in grasslands. When a conservative set of assumptions was used in the modeling, the predicted number of potentially catastrophic fires in the Sierra foothills increased by 143% in grassland and 121% in chaparral. In forests, projected impacts were less severe. The study concluded that climate change would lead to dramatic increases in both the annual area burned by California wildfires and the number of potentially catastrophic fires, doubling these losses in some regions despite enhanced deployment of fire-suppression resources. These findings indicate that climate change could increase both fire-fighting costs and economic losses. Although California ranks number one in terms of economic losses from wildfires, these results also suggest that future climatic conditions in other parts of the United States might warrant concern and study. The investigation was sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Item #d99jan28

From the Kyoto Protocol to the Fossil Fuel Market: A Model Analysis, CICERO Working Paper 1998:9, Bjart Holtsmark, 27 pp., 1998, free (CICERO); also available in PDF format on the World Wide Web at http://www.cicero.uio.no/~ftp/publications/Workingpapers/wp1998-09.pdf.

This work explores how different countries’ relationships to and dependencies on the fossil-fuel market will cause variations in the costs for implementing the Kyoto Protocol. It also looks at how emission trading will alter the geographic distribution of abatement efforts. It finds that Russia and the other countries making the transition to a market economy will experience net gains from implementation of the Kyoto Protocol if emission trading takes place without restrictions. The United States is a likely dominant quota buyer. However, this quota import produces surprisingly small net-cost reductions. The possibility of revenue recycling (double dividends) will probably play an important role in countries’ choices between quota trade and domestic abatement measures.


Item #d99jan29

Ecological Tax Reform in Australia: Using Taxes and Public Spending to Protect the Environment Without Hurting the Economy, Discussion Paper Number 10, C. Hamilton, T. Hundloe, and J. Quiggin, April 1997, A$20.00 (The Australia Institute).

This report describes a government-finance package that will promote employment and reduce environmental damage. International evidence indicates that an appropriately designed environmental taxing and spending package can yield such a double dividend. A key component of the tax-reform package proposed and analyzed in this report is the imposition of a carbon tax and the use of those tax revenues to abolish payroll taxes. The report compares a business-as-usual scenario to an ecological-tax-reform scenario (ETR) from 1997 to 2020 and evaluates the impacts of the proposed policy measures on a range of environmental, economic, and social-equity indicators. The ETR package calls for

  • a carbon tax
  • the abolition of payroll taxes
  • mandatory fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles
  • the reduction of sales taxes on fuel-efficient vehicles
  • a 30% increase in urban water prices
  • a nationwide shift from user charges to property-based charges
  • a long-term investment in water conservation and recycling
  • rebates for low-income households adversely affected by price rises
  • reducing irrigation use caps
  • introducing tradeable water permits
  • support for cleaner production technologies
  • load-based licensing for industrial polluters
  • full-cost-recovery charges for landfill
  • renovating mining spoils
  • extension of curb-side recycling to all localities
  • abolition of sales taxes on recycled materials
  • requiring all government agencies to use recycled paper.
  • increase the Passenger Movement Charge on departing foreign tourists
  • abolish visa requirements for overseas tourists from low-risk countries
  • increase funding for Australia’s natural areas
  • a ban on logging in high-conservation-value native forests
  • an increase in royalties levied on native forest logs
  • compensation and retraining for displaced timber workers

Economic modeling studies indicate that, although fossil-fuel-intensive industries would decline as a result of such a tax swap, other sectors of the economy would grow faster and produce new jobs. Under the ETR package of measures, the analysis indicates that most environmental indicators would improve and some of them would improve sharply. Some of the ETR measures would have a small regressive impact in the first few years but would allow households to reduce substantially their long-term spending on fuel and water. The job growth produced by the carbon tax/payroll tax tradeoff would benefit blue-collar workers disproportionately. Overall, the long-term effect of the ETR package would be to improve social equity in terms of the ETR measures themselves and the environmental improvements they would bring about.


Report Sources

  • The Australia Institute, P.O. Box 72, Lyneham, ACT 2602; tel: (02) 6249 6221; fax: (02) 6249 6448; e-mail: austinst@dynamite.com.au; WWW: http://www.tai.org.au.
  • CICERO (Center for International Climate and Environmental Research), P.O. Box 1129, Blindern, N-0317, Oslo, Norway; tel: (+47) 22 85 87 50; fax: (+47) 22 85 87 51; e-mail: information@cicero.uio.no; WWW: http://www.cicero.uio.no.
  • LBNL (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), 1 Cyclotron Dr., Berkeley, CA, 94720.
  • Nordic Council of Ministers, Publications Department Store, Strandstraede 18, DK-1255 Copenhagen K, Denmark; fax: +45 3311 0345; e-mail: dmc@nmr.dk; WWW: http://www.norden.org/Pub/index_uk.html; U.S. distributors: Bernan Associates, 4611-F Assembly Dr., Lanham, MD, 20706-4391; tel 301-459-7666; fax: 301-459-0056; e- mail: query@bernan.com.

  • Guide to Publishers
  • Index of Abbreviations

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