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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Special Issue. Integrated assessments combine models or knowledge of the scientific details of climate change with estimates of impacts on human activities and behavior, as a basis for formulating policy options. Energy Policy, 23(4-5), Apr.-May 1995, is devoted to a selection of papers from an October 1993 workshop held at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria. Reviewed were the current practice of integrated assessments, directions for improvement and further research, and implications for climate change policies. Edited by N. Nakicenovic, W. Nordhaus, R. Richels and F. Toth.

Single copies (Ј33.50 in the UK; Ј35 elsewhere) are available from Elsevier Science Ltd., The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford OX5 1GB, UK (tel: 44 0 865 843000; fax: 44 0 865 843010).

Item #d95nov17

"Practice and Progress in Integrated Assessments of Climate Change—A Workshop Overview," F.L. Toth (IIASA, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria), 253-267.

Provides on overview of the state of the art. As a result of a healthy diversity in practice, integrated assessments show significant progress in structuring the economic issues of climate change and providing the first broad insights into policy options. However, we have a long way to go to develop skills that will be required to address numerous open issues.

Item #d95nov18

"The Ghosts of Climates Past and the Specters of Climate Change Future," W.D. Nordhaus (Cowles Foundation, Yale Univ., Box 1972 Yale Sta., New Haven CT 06520), 269-282.

Analyzes the role of climate in economic development, the relationship between climate and economic growth today, and the prospects for economic impacts from future climate change. Emphasizes adaptation as the key in projecting the impact of future climate changes on human societies.

Item #d95nov19

"Looking Back 10 Years," W.A. Nierenberg (Mail Code 0221, Scripps Inst. Oceanog., Univ. California, La Jolla CA 92093), 283-288.

Updates the science of global warming, using as a reference point the 1983 National Academy of Sciences report Changing Climate, for which the author was report committee chairman. Advances (or retreats) in the overall science are reviewed with a special emphasis on those with critical policy implications.

Item #d95nov20

"Integrated Assessment Models of Climate Change—An Incomplete Overview," H. Dowlatabadi (Dept. Eng. & Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh PA 15213), 289-296.

Provides an overview of integrated assessment, with a special focus on policy-motivated integrated assessments of climate change, and describes briefly the assessment activities at Carnegie Mellon University. Offers a perspective on the challenges ahead in successful representation of natural and social dynamics in integrated assessments of global climate change.

Item #d95nov21

"International CO2 Emissions Control: An Analysis Using CETA," S.C. Peck (Electric Power Res. Inst., POB 10412, Palo Alto CA 94303), T.J. Teisberg, 297-308.

Uses the model to examine three scenarios of international cooperation on emissions control between region 1 (assumed to be OECD with or without the former Soviet block countries), and region 2 (the rest of the world). Finds that both regions are better off when they jointly exercise optimal control of emissions, and region 1 pays region 2 to participate.

Item #d95nov22

"Carbon Coalitions: The Cost and Effectiveness of Energy Agreements to Alter Trajectories of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Emissions," J. Edmonds (Global Environ. Change Prog., Pacific Northwest Labs., 901 D St. SW, S. 900, Washington DC 20024), M. Wise, D.W. Barns, 309-335.

Shows that the particular construct of a stabilization agreement can greatly influence the potential acceptability and stability of that agreement. Any agreement to control emissions will need constant revision, because the economic needs of its participants will be evolving.

Item #d95nov23

"A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Slowing Climate Change," D. Maddison (Ctr. Social & Econ. Res. on the Global Environ., Univ. College, Gower St., London WC1E, 6BT, UK), 337-346.

Condenses a mass of information relating to economic growth assumptions, carbon emissions forecasts, abatement cost estimates, and global warming damage, and incorporates it into a cost-benefit analysis. The optimal policy involves an immediate 12.7% cut in emissions, establishing 37 million hectares of forests, and instituting a carbon tax for the year 2000 of $17 per ton.

Item #d95nov24

"An Integrated Framework to Address Climate Change (ESCAPE) and Further Developments of the Global and Regional Climate Modules (MAGICC)," M. Hulme (Clim. Res. Unit, Univ. E. Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK), T.M.L. Wigley, 347-355.

Briefly overviews ESCAPE, an integrated climate change assessment model coordinated by the Climatic Research Unit for the Commission of the European Community. Describes subsequent work on the global climate module and the generation of regional climate scenarios, leading to the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Induced Climate Change (MAGICC).

Item #d95nov25

"Scenario Analysis of Global Warming Using the Asian Pacific Integrated Model (AIM)," Y. Matsuoka (Faculty Engineering, Kyoto Univ., Yosidahonmachi, Sakyo-ku Kyoto 606-01, Japan), M. Kainuma, T. Morita, 357-371.

The AIM consists of two main models that estimate emissions and impacts, respectively, and are linked by models of the global greenhouse gas cycle and climate change models. Presents some recent results pertaining to impacts on water resources and natural vegetation.

Item #d95nov26

"The Economics of Stabilizing Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations," R. Richels (Electric Power Res. Inst., POB 10412, Palo Alto CA 94303), J. Edmonds, 373-378.

Uses a simplified carbon cycle model and energy-economy models to determine the most cost-effective sequence of emission reductions. The final cost of reduction depends as much on the choice of emission time-path is it does on the target emission level sought.

Item #d95nov27

The following four papers deal with a fundamental problem in applying cost-benefit analysis to climate change: the costs of mitigation far precede in time the possible benefits. A standard approach to evaluating public policies is to apply an annual "discount" to future costs and benefits, which makes their present value lower. These papers discuss whether the approach is appropriate for climate change.

"Intergenerational Equity, Discounting, and the Role of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Evaluating Global Climate Policy," R.C. Lind (Johnson Sch. Mgmt., 562 Malot Hall, Cornell Univ., Ithaca NY 14853), 379-389.

"The Rate of Time Preference—Implications for the Greenhouse Debate," A.S. Manne (Dept. Operations Res., Stanford Univ., Stanford CA 94305), 391-394.

"Intergenerational Discounting," T.C. Schelling (Sch. Public Affairs, Univ. Maryland, College Pk. MD 20742), 395-401.

"Discounting in Integrated Assessments of Climate Change," F.L. Toth (IIASA, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria), 403-409.

Item #d95nov28

"Technical Progress and Climatic Change," J.H. Ausubel (Prog. for the Human Environ., Rockefeller Univ., NR 403, 1230 York Ave., New York NY 10021), 411-416.

Argues that nearly everyone in the global warming debate underestimates the importance of technical change in considering reduction of greenhouse gases and adaptation to climate change. Presents examples of long-run technical change during the past 100 years in computing, communications, transport, energy and agriculture. Continued technical change could keep the costs of mitigation and adaptation low.

Item #d95nov29

"The Economics of Changing Course—Implications of Adaptability and Inertia for Optimal Climate Policy," M. Grubb (Energy & Environ. Prog., Royal Inst. Intl. Affairs, 10 St. James's Sq., London SW1Y 4LE, UK), T. Chapuis, M.H. Duong, 417-432.

Examines the capacity for change by reviewing the evidence that adaptation of energy technologies and systems is induced by need and restrained by potentially large transitional costs. Neglecting the issue of induced technical change and other adaptive responses may invalidate the policy implications drawn from most integrated models developed to date. Looks at implications for greenhouse policy.

Item #d95nov30

"No-Regret Potentials and Technical Innovation—A Viability Approach to Integrated Assessment of Climate Policies," J.-C. Hourcade (Ctr. Intl. Recherche sur l'Environ. & Develop., CNRS, 1 rue du 11 Novembre, 92120 Montrouge, France), T. Chapuis, 433-445.

Demonstrates the advantages of a sequential approach to decision making in climate policies, reflecting the author's pessimism about the possibility of obtaining timely and fully convincing and agreed information about the avoided costs of climate change.

Item #d95nov31

"Mitigating Global Warming by Substituting Technology for Energy: MITI's Efforts and New Approach," C. Watanabe (IIASA, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria), 447-461.

Reviews Japan's path and MITI's efforts toward overcoming energy and environmental constraints by substituting technology for energy. Assesses MITI's new comprehensive approach of integrating energy and environmental technologies.

Item #d95nov32

"Integrated Assessment and Environmental Policy Making: In Pursuit of Usefulness," E.A. Parson (IIASA, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria), 463-475.

Current integrated assessment projects show three significant weaknesses: determining decade-scale emission trends; valuing impacts and adaptive responses; and formulating policies and determining their effects. Meeting the needs of policy audiences may require: other forms of integration; integration by formal modeling or by other means; and representing decisions of some participants through political and negotiation processes.

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