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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 #d95sep109

An internal draft discussion of economic issues being prepared for the 1995 Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been generating controversy. One dispute revolves around monetary values assigned to human lives by environmental economists, which are up to 15 times higher for people in wealthy nations compared to those in poor countries. (See New Scientist, p. 7, Aug. 19, 1995; Global Environ. Change Rep., p. 3, Aug. 11, 1995.) This estimate, needed to measure the benefits of limiting greenhouse gas emissions, is based on the willingness of individuals to pay for safety or disease-preventing measures, which tends to be a function of income. However, developing countries and nongovernmental organizations have objected to this approach, preferring instead equal evaluation of lives and the incorporation of other factors. If this were the case, the estimated damages of climate change would be much higher, and the value of avoiding those damages through mitigation approaches would also be higher. Working Group III of the IPCC has been asked to revise the text, and will next meet October 11-13 in Montreal, Canada, to approve the final draft.

Another debate revolves around the type of economic models appropriate to project the economic effects of global warming, as discussed in a feature article in Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-3, Sep. 8.

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