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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 #d95nov1

"Subjective Judgments by Climate Experts," M.G. Morgan (Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh PA 15213), D.W. Keith, Environ. Sci. & Technol., 29(10), 468A-476A, Oct. 1995.

When uncertainty on a topic is high because of fundamentally different views about underlying physical processes, a consensus summary, such as that provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, may not best serve the needs of policy makers. An alternative approach drawn from decision analysis, "expert elicitation," formalizes and quantifies the judgment of individual experts. Subsequent analysis of results indicates the extent to which deep disagreements on facets on the topic matter to the policy debate.

Structured interviews using this approach were conducted with 16 leading U.S. climate scientists, selected to represent most of the mainstream schools of thought on climate change. Frequently cited views of the cause for uncertainty in climate sensitivity to increased greenhouse forcing were convection/water vapor feedback, and cloud optical properties. Overall, results reveal a rich diversity of expert opinion and convey a greater degree of disagreement than is often conveyed in scientific consensus documents. Concludes that overall uncertainty about the geophysics of climate change is not likely to be reduced dramatically in the next few decades.

Item #d95nov2

The following three articles are featured in the Summer 1995 issue (Vol. 25, No. 2) of The Bridge, published by the National Academy of Engineering, 2101 Constituion Ave. NW, Washington DC 20418; Greg Pearson, Ed. (tel: 202 334 2282).

"Progress and Problems: A Decade of Research on Global Warming," W.A. Nierenberg, 4-9. Recent data on the longevity of excess human-generated CO2 in the atmosphere argue for only modest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

"Advances in Predicting Global Warming," E.J. Barron, 10-15. Research over the past decade has improved substantially our understanding of the complex interactions among land, sea, and atmosphere that make Earth's climate.

"What Do People Believe About Climate Change?" M.G. Morgan, 16-19. Serious gaps in the public's understanding of climate, global warming, and the ozone hole do not bode well for informed decision making.

Item #d95nov3

"Crisis? What Crisis? The Ozone Backlash," J. Passacantando (Ozone Action, Washington, D.C.), A. Carothers, The Ecologist, 25(1), 5-7, Jan.-Feb. 1995.

An editorial describing a trend toward decreasing concern over stratospheric ozone depletion that began in the U.S. in the early 1990s, an idea that has powerful allies, both in the Clinton Administration and in Congress. A key figure behind this backlash is conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh; examples of the scientifically flawed arguments he puts forth are refuted. Calls for the environmental movement to retake the initiative in countering such propaganda, and expose the agenda of those corporations who are now sheltering in the lee of the backlash.

Item #d95nov4

"Why Are Public Perception Studies on the Environment Ignored?" R.E. Löfstedt (Ctr. Environ. Strategy, Univ. Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH, UK), Global Environ. Change, 5(2), 83-85, May 1995.

Despite a great deal of discussion on the importance of public perception studies of the environment, policy makers have not often attempted to include the findings into practical decision making. This paper analyzes the reasons why, using various examples from the U.K. Many relate to global warming, such as the failed "Helping the Earth Begins at Home" campaign undertaken by the Department of Environment.

Item #d95nov5

New Publication: Earth Interactions: A New Electronic Journal. A peer-reviewed journal to be jointly published by the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the Association of American Geographers, with the Ecological Society of America and the Oceanography Society as cooperating societies. Information can be obtained from John Orcut or Judy Holoviak, respectively, through these e-mail addresses:; Details on submitting papers will appear in Eos or Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., or through the Earth Interaction home page.

The peer-reviewed, electronically submitted articles will present more than simply a visual representation of the printed page. Authors will have available to them the use of computer animation or other visualization techniques. Links to parent data will also be provided.

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