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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 #d94jul1

"The 'Ultimate Objective' of the Framework Convention on Climate Change Requires a New Approach in Climate Research," R.J. Swart (Natl. Inst. Public Health & Environ. Protect.--RIVM, POB 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, Neth.), P. Vellinga, Clim. Change, 26(4), 343-349, Apr. 1994.

An editorial that proposes a scientific means of translating the rather vague and ambiguous objective of the climate convention into more practical terms. A regionalized, risk-based, six-step approach couples ecosystem vulnerability to atmospheric concentrations of stabilized greenhouse gases using the results of climate change simulations. The desired level and timing of stabilization would be determined by a political appreciation of associated risks for managed and unmanaged ecosystems.

Item #d94jul2

"The Impact of Potential Abrupt Climate Changes on Near-Term Policy Choices," R.J. Lempert (RAND Corp., 1700 Main St., Santa Monica CA 90407), M.E. Schlesinger, J.K. Hammitt, ibid., 351-376.

Examines sequential decision strategies in which near-term policies (1992-2002) are viewed as the first of a series of decisions which adapt over the years to improved scientific information. Calculates global surface temperature using a simple climate/ocean model, and examines the policy implications of abrupt changes in the sinks of CO2, methane sources, ocean circulation, and climate sensitivity. The abrupt changes increase the long-term costs of response, but affect little the comparatively small cost difference among near-term strategies.

Item #d94jul3

"The Human Effect on the Global Carbon Cycle: Response Functions to Analyze Management Strategies," A.A. Keller (Electric Power Res. Inst., POB 10412, Palo Alto CA 94303), R.A. Goldstein, World Resour. Rev., 6(1), 63-87, Mar. 1994.

Uses a nonlinear carbon cycle model representing interactions among seven biomes, high- and low-latitude oceans, the atmosphere, and human activities affecting CO2 and methane: fossil fuel combustion, biomass burning, agro-industrial activities and land-use change. The resulting response functions permit comparison of management policies or emissions scenarios. For instance, conversion of temperate or boreal forest to agriculture transfers to the atmosphere almost twice the amount of carbon than does tropical conversion. The greater nitrogen oxide content of fossil fuel enhances fertilization of terrestrial biomes, lowering the atmospheric CO2 fraction.

Item #d94jul4

"Global Carbon Emissions: Equitable Distribution and Cooperation in a Diverse World," R.Y. Redlinger (Synergic Resour. Corp., 1300 Clay St., S. 850, Oakland CA 94612), M.J. King, M. Nishimura, ibid., 16-26.

Any international scheme to allocate greenhouse gas emissions among countries must consider the key issues of economic efficiency and equity. This paper compares the economic and energy-use indicators of 15 developed and developing countries as a basis for discussing the essential factors that must be considered in allocating emission allowances. Recommends a least-cost global CO2 reduction mechanism instituted through a central clearinghouse, and proposes a centralized fund for CO2 reduction projects created through carbon taxes .

Item #d94jul5

"The Damage Costs of Climate Change: A Note on Tangibles and Intangibles, Applied to DICE," R.S.J. Tol (Inst. Environ. Studies, Vrije Univ., Amsterdam, Neth.), Energy Policy, 22(5), 436-438, May 1994.

Economic cost-benefit analyses of limiting greenhouse gas emissions often point toward limited abatement. This note illustrates how the utility function in such models, a non-economic feature representing value choices, is important to the results and needs more attention.

Item #d94jul6

"Sustainable Energy Policies for the Brazilian Amazon," M. Redclift (Environ. Sect., Wye Coll., Univ. London, Wye, Kent TN25 5AH, UK), ibid., 427-431.

Development of the Amazon has been a concern because of potential carbon emissions and loss of biodiversity; less attention has been paid to its role as an energy source for Brazil. Opposition to large hydropower installations has attracted international concern, but alternative energy sources including biomass should also be considered. The Amazon could provide lessons of global significance regarding sustainable development.

Item #d94jul7

"Agenda Setting and Acid Precipitation in the United States," L.R. Alm (Dept. Political Sci., Boise State Univ., Boise ID 83725), C. Davis, Environ. Mgmt., 17(6), 807-816, Nov.-Dec. 1993. Examines issues that explain the longevity of acid rain on the Congressional agenda in the 1980s; has implications for climate change research and policy.

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