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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 #d96jul1

"The Ozone Layer: The Road Not Taken," M. Prather, (Dept. Earth System Sci., Univ. California, Irvine CA 92717), P. Midgley et al., Nature, 381(6583), 551-554, June 13, 1996.

Compares the path we are now following—the amended Montreal Protocol—with likely CFC growth and ozone depletion had the CFC threat to the ozone layer not been identified in 1974. If 11 years of scientific publications on the stratospheric effects of chlorine from CFCs had not followed, the discoverers of the Antarctic ozone hole in 1985 almost certainly would not have pointed to CFCs as the cause, and ozone depletion would be dramatically worse than it is today. If CFCs had followed free-market growth until 2002, the Antarctic ozone hole would be a permanent feature throughout the twentieth century, instead of probably disappearing by 2050. The greenhouse gas impacts of CFCs would also be higher.

Item #d96jul2

"Representing Uncertainty in Global Climate Change Science and Policy: Boundary-Ordering Devices and Authority," S. Shackley (Lancaster Univ., U.K.), B. Wynne, Sci., Technol. & Human Values, 21(3), 275-302, Summer 1996.

In policy contexts, many scientists are compelled to talk about uncertainty, but do not wish to imply that uncertainty is a serious challenge to the authority of scientific knowledge or to its substantial use in policy making. This paper discusses the complicated nature of the relationship between scientific uncertainty and the perceived authority of science. It proposes techniques for treating uncertainty in a manner that minimizes the problem, giving examples related to climate change.

Item #d96jul3

"What Is a Dangerous Climate Change?" M.L. Parry (Jackson Environ. Inst., Univ. College, 5 Gower St., London WC1E 6HA, U.K.), T.R. Carter, M. Hulme, Global Environ. Change, 6(1), 1-6, Apr. 1996.

A goal of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is to prevent 'dangerous' climate change that would present a significant threat to ecosystems, food production and economic development. This paper defines what is implied by a dangerous climate change in terms of (a) thresholds of weather or climate events, and (b) critical levels of climate change. It provides a scientific basis by which policy makers can decide what level of climate change threat is worth avoiding.

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