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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: Energy Policy, 24(10-11), Oct.-Nov. 1996. Contains 14 papers which excerpt and extend portions of the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They address energy efficiency improvement, evaluate options for switching to less carbon-intensive sources, and review mitigation cost estimates for major economic sectors and regions of the world. The authors were all involved in the preparation of the Second Assessment Report, but were requested to use more recent material for these papers, and to venture their own conclusions and policy recommendations.

Item #d97jan10

"Editor's Introduction," E.F. Haites (Margaree Consultants Inc., 145 King St. W., S. 1000, Toronto ON M5H 3X6, Can.), A. Rose, 857-861.

Comments on major themes, points out the relationships among the contributions, and summarizes each paper. The papers suggest that limiting global emissions of greenhouse gases to current levels over the next 20 to 40 years would be a very challenging target. Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective approach, but the sectoral papers suggest that growth in energy demand is likely to overwhelm efficiency improvements. The regional papers indicate that, while the industrial countries may be able to stabilize their emissions over this period, perhaps at some cost, emissions from developing countries will increase. The needed transition to much less carbon-intensive energy supplies will require policy intervention now, to accelerate their research, development and commercialization.

Item #d97jan11

"Mitigating Factors: Assessing the Costs of Reducing GHG Emissions," J.-C. Hourcade (Ctr. Intl. Recherche sur l'Environ. & le Dévelop., 1 rue du 11 Novembre, 92120 Montrouge, France), J. Robinson, 863-873.

Disagreement over the existence of economic and environmental "double dividend" of greenhouse gas emission reduction is further complicating the debate over the costs of controls, which is already complicated by modeling uncertainties and the potential for political misuse of results. This paper argues that certain basic assumptions are more important than the structure of models used for such economic analyses, and that ultimately the debate turns on political judgements about the desirability of alternative development paths.

Item #d97jan12

"The Costs of CO2 Emission Reductions — Some Insights from Global Analyses," R. Richels (Energy Anal. & Planning Dept., Electric Power Res. Inst., POB 10412, Palo Alto CA 94303), P. Sturm, 875-887.

Reviews a number of "top-down" approaches to energy modeling as the basis for discussing the limitations of studies which confine emission reduction opportunities to the boundaries of a single country, and points out the additional insights provided by taking a more global perspective.

Item #d97jan13

"Costs of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the USA and Canada," M. Jaccard, W.D. Montgomery (Charles River Assoc., S. 750 North, 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington DC 20004), 889-898.

Reviews existing studies on the topic, compares approaches, and evaluates results from different approaches and their implications for policy and research. All major types of policy response (mitigating greenhouse gas concentrations, adaptation measures, and research on climate and energy technologies) have a role in a balanced approach to climate policy.

Item #d97jan14

"The Costs of Mitigating Carbon Emissions: A Review of Methods and Findings from European Studies," F. Krause (Intl. Project for Sustainable Energy Paths, 7627 Leviston Ave., El Cerrito CA 94530), 899-915.

Conventional wisdom holds that top-down studies of mitigation costs are too pessimistic, while bottom-up studies are too optimistic. This paper expands on and updates existing studies for Western Europe, finding that both approaches overestimate costs. Concludes that a combination of tax shifts, market transformation instruments, and policies to reform subsidies and internalize non-climatic externalities over the next three to four decades could cut carbon emissions in Western Europe by 40-50%, at no loss or at a gain in GDP.

Item #d97jan15

"The Economics of Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries, K. Halsnæs (UNEP Collaborating Ctr. on Energy & Environ., Ris_ Natl. Lab., DK 4000 Roskilde, Denmark), 917-926.

Although greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries will certainly increase, there is a large and relatively cheap potential for emission reduction through general and industrial energy efficiency improvements. Examines the close relationship between mitigation strategies and national economic development policies, using case studies from Zimbabwe and Argentina, concluding that in some cases both goals can be achieved simultaneously.

Item #d97jan16

"Climate Change Mitigation — A Review of Cost Estimates and Methodologies for the Post-Planned Economies," W.U. Chandler (Pacific Northwest Natl. Lab., Washington, D.C.), M. Evans, A. Kolesov, 927-935.

This summary of selected studies shows that the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe account for over one-fifth of global energy consumption and energy related greenhouse gas emissions. These economies present significant opportunities and serious difficulties in energy related CO2 emissions mitigation.

Item #d97jan17

"Mitigation Options for Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Buildings: A Global Analysis," M.D. Levine (Energy Anal. Program, MS 90-4000, Lawrence Berkeley Natl. Lab., Berkeley CA 94720), L. Price, N. Martin, 937-949.

Outlines energy efficiency improvements for buildings and the overall technical potential to reduce CO2 emissions by cutting the growth in energy consumption. Proposes three scenarios, finding that powerful incentives for energy efficiency investments could lead to CO2 emissions 28% above 1990 levels, compared with a 90% increase for business as usual. Suggested policy instruments include real increases in energy prices, aggressive use of energy efficiency policies, tools for transforming markets to the developing world, and continued research and development.

Item #d97jan18

"Industrial Emissions of Greenhouse Gases," W.R. Moomaw (Fletcher Sch. of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts Univ., Medford MA 02155), 951-968.

A survey of individual subsectors finds wide discrepancies among countries in releases of GHG per unit of production. Industrial GHG emissions are currently lower than in the mid 1970s in most industrialized countries, and while absolute levels have grown in newly industrializing countries, the rate of growth has slowed and CO2 per unit GDP has generally dropped. Making low emission technologies available worldwide is essential to curtail industrial GHG emissions.

Item #d97jan19

"GHG Mitigation in the Transport Sector," L. Michaelis (Environ. Directorate, OECD, 2 rue André-Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16, France), O. Davidson, 969-984.

The technical potential for vehicle energy intensity reductions is 25-50%, but the no-regrets potential is much smaller. Current trends suggest that energy intensity may not fall in the next 30 years. Development of new technologies may bring about GHG reductions, but more research is needed into the role of developments in preference and lifestyle.

Item #d97jan20

"Options for Reducing CO2 Emissions from the Energy Supply Sector," T.B. Johansson (U.N. Development Prog., One U.N. Plaza, New York NY 10017), R.H. Williams et al., 985-1003.

Deep CO2 emissions reductions beyond the next century are achievable with little change in the future cost of energy services. Required will be adequate time (several decades), the proper economic and political climate, strong and sustained investments in research and development, and diffusion of a wide range of energy technologies with low or zero CO2 emissions.

Item #d97jan21

"The IPCC Energy Assessment," J.P. Weynant (Stanford Univ., Stanford CA 94304), 1005-1008.

The author was asked to read the preceding 10 papers, and to comment particularly on the first two which relate to conceptual issues, while incorporating insights and issues from the other eight. Discusses these policy issues: timing emissions reductions, international cooperation in controlling emissions, and hedging against low probability high consequence climate elements. Also examined three underlying technical issues: top-down vs. bottom-up modeling, revenue recycling, and the role of R&D.

Item #d97jan22

"Mitigation Options in the Sectoral Papers," D. Chapman, 1009-1012.

Attempts to illuminate a general approach to the question of what we know and what we can do to mitigate the continued growth in atmospheric GHG. Rather than presenting a critical review, focuses and encourages discussion of the sectoral papers.

Item #d97jan23

"The IPCC Energy Assessment," R.K. Pachauri (Tata Energy Res. Inst., Darbari Seth Block, India Habitat Ctr., Lodi Rd., New Delhi 110 003, India), 1013-1015.

The author concludes that a great deal of useful material is presented in the above papers that cover energy issues dealt with by the IPCC. Discussed are the conceptual and political economics of the work presented, which remain largely unresolved.

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