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Global Climate Change Digest

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Item #d97apr7

"A Proposal for the Protocol(s) on Climate Change," N. Matsuo (Inst. Energy Econ., Shuwa-Kamiyacho Bldg., Toranomon 4-3-13, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105, Japan), Energy Policy, 25(2), 173-184, Feb. 1997.

Summarizes key elements of any future protocol on climate change, based on experience to date with the Framework Convention on Climate Change. One novel proposal is to consider a country's past policy efforts to control emissions when determining emission targets it must meet in the near term. Farther in the future, when the actual threat of climate change is better understood, different targets and mechanisms such as tradeable emissions permits may need to be invoked.

Item #d97apr8

"Climate Protection Policy: New Taxes or Voluntary Undertakings?" W. Pluge (Federal Assoc. of the German Gas & Water Industries, Bonn, Ger.), Energy Policy, 25(2), 119-124, Feb. 1997.

Critically examines the argument that an energy tax leads to lower energy consumption and CO2 emissions. For the German natural gas industry, responsible voluntary action can make a more comprehensive and effective contribution to protecting climate and the environment, and will help safeguard Germany as an industrial location.

Item #d97apr9

"Technologies, Energy Systems and the Timing of CO2 Emissions Abatement-An Overview of Economic Issues," M. Grubb (Energy & Environ. Prog., Royal Inst. of Intl. Affairs, 10 St. James's Square, London SW1 4LE), Energy Policy, 25(2), 159-172, Feb. 1997.

This paper is prompted by the debate in the U.S. about optimal abatement paths, in particular by recent claims that it would be economically preferable to defer abatement action in favor of measures that support technology development but do not affect emission trends for many years. Presents an overview of economic issues and those related to technology availability, development and diffusion, and of the inertia of energy systems. Concludes that a moderate policy is best. The modeling studies that have been used to justify delays do so because they embody the economic factors favorable to delay and largely neglect the countervailing issues.

Item #d97apr10

"Think Globally, Act Locally? Local Climate Change and Energy Policies in Sweden and the UK," U. Collier (European Univ. Inst., CP No. 2330, I-50100 Firenze Ferrovia, Italy), R.E. Löfstedt, Global Environ. Change, 7(1), 25-40, Apr. 1997.

Compares the competencies of six local authorities in Sweden and the U.K. for undertaking energy-related policy initiatives. Swedish local authorities are much more independent, especially through ownership of local energy companies. Yet U.K. authorities are relatively active on climate change, seeing the creation of response strategies as an opportunity to reassert their role after a long period of erosion of their powers. In both countries, climate change is only a relatively marginal area of local environmental policy making; political will and financial resources for more radical measures are often absent.

Item #d97apr11

Comment on "Institutions for Environmental Aid: Politics, Lessons, and Opportunities," S. Kerr (Dept. Agric. Econ., Univ. Maryland, College Park MD 20742), Environment, 39(1), 3-4, Jan.-Feb. 1997.

One form of environmental aid not discussed in the cited article (Environment, June 1996) is a tradeable permit market. Although not a perfect instrument, it can bring to a problem such as climate change extensive private sector expertise, technology, entrepreneurship, and capital. It should be one approach supported by the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Item #d97apr12

"The U.S. Market for SO2 Permits-Policy Implications of the Low Price and Trading Volume," K. Conrad (Lehrsthul für Volkswirtschaftslehre, Mannheim Univ., Seminargebäude A5, D-68131 Mannheim, Ger.), R.E. Kohn, Energy Policy, 24(12), 1051-1059, Dec. 1996.

The price of SO2 permits and the volume of trading under the U.S. Acid Rain Program have been lower than expected-signs that market approaches to pollution control can be more cost-effective than command and control regulations. Analyzes reasons for this outcome and uses economic models to successfully explain the current permit prices.

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