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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 #d95oct4

"Thought for the Morrow: Cumulative Threats to the Environment," G.H. Orians, Environment, 37(7), 6-14, 33-36, Sep. 1995.

Analyzes the nature of cumulative environmental threats, including climate change and ozone depletion, and implications for policy. Traditional methods of assessing environmental impacts are designed to deal with relatively acute and local disruptions, and tend to miss the cumulative effects of repeated actions. Devising policies to reduce or eliminate the adverse cumulative effects of human actions is difficult politically because effective policies usually restrict actions that people regard as immediately and personally beneficial, while the benefits of reducing cumulative impacts are more distant. Special institutions with a long-term, geographically broad focus are needed to avert adverse cumulative effects, and extensive public education is an essential component of successful programs.

Item #d95oct5

"Global Environmental Change, Sociology, and Paradigm Isolation," W.D. Sunderlin (Ctr. Intl. Forestry Res., POB 6596, JKPWB, Jakarta 10065, Indonesia), Global Environ. Change, 5(3), 211-220, June 1995.

Writings on how to respond to global environmental change fall into three broad categories of thought: structural economic change and grassroots mobilization; international diplomacy and regime building; and cultural/behavioral transformation. This article interprets these three paradigms from a sociological point of view, and shows how the paradigmatic character of writings has profound implications for how people perceive the issues and respond to them. Certain key writings on global environmental change are classified and analyzed in terms of these paradigms, and practical and theoretical implications of paradigm isolation are examined.

Item #d95oct6

Two related items in BioScience, 45(9), Oct. 1995, resulting from 18 months of dialogue between two colleagues at the University of Maryland (Inst. for Philosophy & Public Policy, 3111 Van Munching Hall, College Pk. MD 20742):

"Carrying Capacity and Ecological Economics," M. Sagoff, 610-620. Challenges the reasoning of ecological economists, including the justification for the precautionary principle. The central concept of carrying capacity fails to show that economic growth is unsustainable. Advances in technology may eventually obviate the need to protect nature on utilitarian grounds, leaving us only to our cultural commitment and moral intuitions.

"Reply to. . .[the above article]," H.E. Daly, 621-624. An ecological economist defends his approach and comments on Sagoff's position.

Item #d95oct7

"Understanding the Greenhouse Effect and the Ozone Shield: An Index of Scientific Literacy Among University Students, M.D. Morgan (College Environ. Sci., Univ. Wisconsin, 2420 Nicolet Dr., Green Bay WI 54331), J.M. Moran, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 76(7), 1185-1190, July 1995.

A survey administered to 1400 college students addressed basic scientific understanding as well as applied (societal) aspects of the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion. The mean score was higher on ozone statements than on greenhouse statements, and on applied statements than on basic science statements. Male students scored higher on the greenhouse portion of the survey, but there was no gender difference on the ozone portion.

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