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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 #d95jul4

"Outcome and Value Uncertainties in Global-Change Policy," J.K. Hammitt (Sch. Publ. Health, Harvard Univ., 718 Huntington Ave., Boston MA 02115), Clim. Change, 30(2), 125-145, June 1995.

The consequences of alternative policies cannot always be predicted because of substantial "outcome uncertainties" linking policy choices to consequences. Similarly, assessments of social preferences among alternative outcomes are limited by "value uncertainties." These two types of uncertainty are examined for ozone depletion and climate change. On the whole, outcome uncertainty drove the policy response to ozone depletion in the 1980s, but value uncertainty may be more important for climate change policy.

Item #d95jul5

"Efficiency, Equity or Disagreement? The Economics of International Carbon Abatement Negotiations," N. Mabey (Ctr. Econ. Forecasting, London Business Sch., Sussex Pl., Regents' Pk., London NW1 4SA, UK), C. Smith, World Resour. Rev., 7(2), 190-214, June 1995.

Economists often criticize the climate convention as inefficient because it uses uniform targets instead of theoretically more efficient instruments such as taxes. However, the effectiveness of any treaty depends on its political stability and the ability to accurately monitor and enforce its conditions, not just on economic efficiency. This paper analyzes the trade-offs involved in order to balance the need for administrative convenience and economic efficiency with the realization that any agreement is better than no agreement.

Item #d95jul6

"Global Warming Risk in Russia: National Actions and Some Options for International Cooperation," V.I. Sokolov (Russian Acad. Sci., 2/3 Khlebny pereulok, Moscow, 121814 Russia), ibid., 268-281.

A comprehensive survey of the state of the global warming issue in Russia that begins by analyzing why the topic has received relatively little public and governmental attention, a situation that has only recently begun to change. Factors include the economic situation, contradictory views within the scientific community, and poor cooperation between natural and social scientists. Response options under consideration tend to be dominated by national economic policies; global warming concerns are secondary. Joint implementation of forestry projects, for example those involving the U.S. and a German non-profit group, offer an attractive response option for Russia under the current economic and technological conditions.

Item #d95jul7

"Integrated Risk Analysis of Global Climate Change," A. Shlyakhter, L.J. Valverde A. Jr., R. Wilson (Dept. Phys., Harvard Univ., Cambridge MA 02138), Chemosphere, 30(8), 1585-1618, Apr. 1995.

Demonstrates how the calculation of risk proceeds by considering a number of nearly independent steps in the climate change problem. Since uncertainty plays a central role, various aspects of uncertainty are considered, including impacts on issues such as value of information and problems of interregional and intergenerational equity. A widely held view among scientists and the lay public is that policy responses should establish an insurance policy; this amounts to considering the upper limit of a probability distribution of impacts. Efforts should now focus on translating the large, existing body of contradictory information about past and present climate into a defensible upper limit, and integrated risk analysis should be an important tool in this process for decision makers and risk managers.

Item #d95jul8

Cost-benefit analysis applied to long-term environmental problems (particularly afforestation to sequester carbon) is discussed at length in two papers in Clim. Change, July 1995. (See Prof. Pubs./Of Gen. Int./Forests and Afforestation, this issue--July 1995.)

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