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Global Climate Change Digest

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



Item #d90jun10

The following comments refer to the satellite observation study by Spencer and Christy (listed above) in Science, pp. 1558-1560, Mar. 30, 1990.

"Too Much Hot Air," New Sci., 126(1713), 19, Apr. 21, 1990. Explains that the satellite results do not demonstrate that there is no global warming, as the ten-year testing period is too short to show a trend. However, they do show that satellite measurements are a good guide to global temperatures, and match the temperatures inferred from traditional ground-based techniques.

"Uncertainties About Global Warming," P.H. Abelson, Science, 247(4950), 1529, Mar. 30, 1990. Despite uncertainties, we should still be forming long-range goals and taking actions that induce conservation and enhance energy efficiency.

Item #d90jun11

Environ. Sci. Technol., 24(4), Apr. 1990. The views of three scientists who differ on the global warming issue are presented in this special issue.

"Some Remarks on Global Warming," R.S. Lindzen (Mass. Inst. Technol., Cambridge MA 02139), 424-426. Focuses on the role of CO2 in global warming and shows how policy designed to prevent warming will have almost no effect on it. Given the logarithmic dependence of warming on CO2, the elimination of America's 20% contribution to CO2 production would reduce warming by a fraction of a degree--a reduction that would be wiped out in a few years by the rest of the world. The challenge of environmentalism in the 1990s will be dealing with problems like this in a responsible manner.

"Climate Change and Global Warming--A New Role for Science and Decision Making," P. Rogers (Harvard Univ., Cambridge MA 02138), 428-430. Long-term financial commitments are needed for thorough and extended study of global climate change. The climatological community must expand its research methods and membership to include many other disciplines such as statistics, hydrology and operations research. This expansion will assist in assigning priorities to possible responses to global warming.

"The Global Warming Debate: Science or Politics?" S.H. Schneider (NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), 432-435. The global-warming debate is both science and politics. An awareness of just what models are and what they can and cannot do is probably the best we can ask of the public and its representatives. The tough policy problem will be how to apply society's values in facing the future, given the possible outcomes that climate models foretell.

Item #d90jun12

"The Greenhouse Effect: The Fallacies in the Energy Efficiency Solution," L. Brookes (Energy Econ. Consult., Bournemouth, Hampshire, UK), Energy Policy, 8(2), 199-201, Mar. 1990.

Argues, in reference to work by Keepin and Kats, that widespread improvements in energy efficiency cannot by themselves halt the build-up of greenhouse gases worldwide. Reductions in energy intensity of output that are not damaging to the economy are associated with increases, not decreases, in energy demand at the macroeconomic level. Proposes alternative strategies for averting global warming, and suggests that the current intense interest on the topic has avoided sober consideration of the validity and cost of solutions.

Item #d90jun13

"A Survey of Informed Opinion Regarding the Nature and Reality of a Global Greenhouse Warming," D.H. Slade (Environ. Sci. Consult., 859 Loxford Terrace, Silver Spring MD 20901), Clim. Change, 16(1), 1-4, Feb. 1990.

Twenty-two respected environmental scientists were polled with a 16-question survey that dealt mainly with the technical aspects of global warming, but also with institutional concerns. Results show a general agreement that the issue is real and that we may look forward to climatic surprises, although the magnitude of the climate change may be about as predicted. Argues for research program mechanisms that are flexible and can respond rapidly to these surprises.

Item #d90jun14

"Greenhouse Guessing: When Should Scientists Speak Out?" A. Henderson-Sellers (Sch. Earth Sci., Macquarie Univ., New South Wales 2109, Australia), ibid., 5-8, 1990.

In an editorial, a leading climatologist explains why scientists should argue for increased energy efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The general public may not understand that, by the time scientists are absolutely certain of global warming, it will be much too late to avert most of the changes that mankind is currently effecting.

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