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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 #d95apr1

"Ignorance, the Precautionary Principle and Sustainability," S.R. Dovers (Ctr. for Resour. & Environ. Studies, Australian Natl. Univ., GPO Box 4, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia), J.W. Handmer, Ambio, 24(2), 92-97, Mar. 1995.

Explores decision and policy making for sustainability in the face of pervasive scientific uncertainty, and questions the utility of the much-vaunted precautionary principle. The latter advocates early action to forestall possible future environmental damages, even if they are uncertain. It is not a policy panacea, and it is much more a political than a scientific concept. A more detailed understanding of different types, sources and contexts of uncertainty is required. Proposes an "ignorance auditing framework" to this end. However, resolution of sustainability issues will remain firmly moral and political, despite what politicians and scientists desire or believe.

Item #d95apr2

"State Roles in the Global Climate Change Issue," S.A. Changnon (Illinois State Water Survey, 2204 Griffith Dr., Champaign IL 61820), Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 76(2), 227-233, Feb. 1995.

By 1994, 22 states had established laws, regulations or research programs addressing climate change. This article discusses the Illinois program, broader than most, which includes a Global Climate Change Office to foster research and provide information, and a task force to address a wide array of issues, particularly state input to federal policies. Calls for increased attention to regional impacts and to research on methods of adapting to future climate change.

Item #d95apr3

"The Economic Costs of Global Warming Damage: A Survey," S. Frankhauser (Ctr. Social & Econ. Res. on the Global Environment, Univ. E. Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK), Global Environ. Change, 4(4), 301-309, Dec. 1994.

Examines primarily the comprehensive literature on the topic of greenhouse damage valuation, which has received relatively less attention than other economic aspects of global warming, such as costs of mitigation. Discusses the main shortcomings of studies to date, and the problems faced by researchers.

Item #d95apr4

"China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions," V. Smil (Dept. Geog., Univ. Manitoba, Winnipeg MB R3T 2N2, Can.), ibid., 325-332.

Already the world's second largest producer of greenhouse emissions, China will continue to increase its emissions during the coming generation and will almost inevitably lead the world by 2025. Heavy reliance on coal will more than double its recent CO2 emissions, and increased food production will lead to greater agricultural releases of methane and nitrous oxide.

Item #d95apr5

"Global Climate Protection Policy: The Limits of Scientific Advice," S. Boehmer-Christiansen (Sci. Policy Res., Univ. Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RF, UK), Global Environ. Change, 1994. "Part 1," 4(2), 140-159, June; "Part 2," 4(3), 185-200, Sep.

Attempts to demonstrate empirically the close links between science/technology and policy by analyzing the role played by the international institutions of science and their

advice in the preparation of the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Part 1 analyzes the emergence and nature of scientific advice. Part 2 traces subsequent political impacts and argues that research institutions tend to produce ambiguous advice, while politics will use scientific uncertainty to advance other agendas. Discusses the experience of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which necessarily led to advice which was ambivalent and too weak.

Item #d95apr6

"Long-Term Study of the Natural Environment-Perceptive Science or Mindless Monitoring?" T.P. Burt (Sch. Geog., Oxford Univ., Mansfield Rd., Oxford OX1 3TB, UK), Prog. Phys. Geog., 18(4), 475-496, 1994.

Assesses the value of long-term observations within the context of the Environmental Change Network, established in 1992 to provide a minimum of 30 years' data from a network of sites within the U.K. Discusses the value and limitations of long-term study, using meteorological and hydrological examples from the network. Long-term study by well-designed programs with sustained funding provides an invaluable basis for the development of environmental science, and provides the best conditions for studying processes whose effects can only be identified over long periods, and for revealing new questions which could not have been anticipated at the time the monitoring began.

Item #d95apr7

"Climate Change Implications for Europe-An Application of the ESCAPE Model," J. Rotmans (Global Dynamics Dept., Natl. Inst. Public Health & Environ. Protect. [RIVM], POB 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, Neth.), M. Hulme, T.E. Downing, Global Environ. Change, 4(2), 97-124, June 1994.

Describes an interactive climate impact assessment model recently developed for the Environment Directorate of the Commission of the European Communities. Its use is demonstrated with a range of input scenarios reflecting different global policy, economic and technological futures. Shows that the world is already committed to future warming regardless of current or near-future policy interventions, and that a climate policy implemented solely within the EC will have only a small effect on future climate change.

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