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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



Item #d95feb1

"Keeping the Climate Treaty Relevant," D.G. Victor (IIASA, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria), J.E. Salt, Nature, 373(6512), 280-282, Jan. 26, 1995.

Although conventional wisdom holds that the next step for an effective climate treaty is the negotiation of binding targets and timetables for greenhouse gases, there is little evidence that further targets would do much to control emissions. More attention should be given to assessing national emissions, policies and plans. Avoiding targets at this stage could also provide valuable time to consider other means of elaborating the convention, such as joint implementation, and improvements to the concept of global warming potential (comparability of controlling various greenhouse gases). In addition, the author advocates giving the process of gathering and reviewing information the political space to operate, increasing the use of national reports, support of the convention secretariat, and design of a multilateral consultative process for dealing with questions about implementation. This strategy can apply to other international agreements such as those on biodiversity and desertification.

Item #d95feb2

"A Scientific Agenda for Climate Policy?" S.A. Boehmer-Christiansen (Sci. Policy Res., Univ. Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RF, UK), Nature, 372(6502), 400-402, Dec. 1, 1994.

Examines how and why scientists created public concern about climate change, why it rapidly seized the attention of environmentalists and governments, and how scientists have responded to the politicization of the issue. Global policy on global warming is emerging from untidy political processes, not through technocratic design. Under pressure, even scientists will deliver what their paymasters prefer to hear. Policy-related advisory networks need to become more sophisticated and less self-serving, and policy makers need to develop broader decision-making structures. If knowledge is funded by soft money and created under conditions of dictated relevance, the degree of trust on which wise policy must be based is unlikely to be inspired.

Item #d95feb3

"Mitigation of Drought from Global Geological Evidences," R.R. Paepe (Earth Technol. Inst., Free Univ. Brussels, Pleinlaan 2 B-1050, Brussels, Belg.), E. Van Overloop, World Resour. Rev., 6(4), 545-558, Dec. 1994.

Examines the role of geology and geologists in understanding environmental impacts in general and greenhouse warming in particular. Demonstrates the relevance of geological proxy data in understanding the greenhouse effect; calls for caution in making conclusions about anthropogenic enrichment of atmospheric CO2; and emphasizes the need for multidisciplinary work.

Item #d95feb4

"Who Can Improve Energy Efficiency in the U.S.-Government or Market Forces?" N. Dolsak (Sch. Publ. & Environ. Affairs, Indiana Univ., Bloomington IN 47405), World Resour. Rev., 6(4), 585-596, Dec. 1994.

Analysis at the sectoral level shows that the U.S. energy strategy relies on the market and its strengths to improve energy efficiency, having recognized that the most important market barriers are lack of information and lack of capital. However, the market may not work efficiently because energy prices do not reflect true costs of energy consumption.

Item #d95feb5

"States' Roles in Reducing Global Warming: Achieving International Goals," D.L. Feldman (Energy, Environ. & Resour. Ctr., Univ. Tennessee, Knoxville TN 37996), C.A. Wilt, World Resour. Rev., 6(4), 570-584, Dec. 1994.

For some issues, states are better able than national governments to develop innovative, flexible greenhouse gas policies that are administratively feasible and acceptable to the public. Changes in national policy are needed to optimize states' abilities to contribute, including national cooperation with states in energy planning, and improved coastal zone, water resource, and drought and disaster management. Examples are drawn from the U.S., but the ideas apply to other countries.

Item #d95feb6

"The Science of Policymaking: Responding to ENSO," M. Golnaraghi (Div. Appl. Sci., Harvard Univ., Cambridge MA 02138), R. Kaul, Environment, 37(1), 16-20, 38-44, Jan.-Feb. 1995.

The growing scientific understanding of the El NiƱo Southern Oscillation made possible an important turning point reached during the 1982-83 ENSO event, when countries began to use this knowledge as a guide to policy planning. Effective policy making in Peru and Brazil is described. However, other factors, such as unsustainable use of natural resources and the globalization of economies, also make societies more vulnerable to interannual climate variations.

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