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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 #d98dec16

Annual Energy Outlook 1999, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 1998.

Forecasts of the annual supply of, demand for, and prices of energy in the United States through 2020 are presented. These projections are based on results from the EIA’s National Energy Modeling System (NEMS). It forecasts that U.S. carbon emissions from energy use will increase an average of 1.3% per year, from 1,480 million metric tons in 1997 to 1,790 million metric tons in 2010 and 1,975 million metric tons in 2020. This increase is predicted on the basis of observations of rising energy demand, declining nuclear power, and slow growth of renewable energy resources. Relative to the 1990 level of 1,346 million metric tons, emissions would be 33 and 47% higher, respectively, in 2010 and 2020. Projected emissions in 2020 are higher by 19 million metric tons than predicted just a year ago because of higher forecasts for energy demand and levels of coal-fired electricity generation.

Item #d98dec17

Impacts of the Kyoto Protocol on U.S. Energy Markets and Economic Activity, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, D.C., October 1998.

In this study, the Energy Information Administration has used a set of assumptions to predict U.S. energy demand, production, fuel use, fuel prices, and consumption in the next few decades (the “reference case”) and then calculated what would be needed to change those values to meet the U.S. targets under the Kyoto Protocol. It found that meeting the targets will call for significant market adjustments:

  • Reductions in CO2 emissions will reduce coal use by 18 to 77% from that projected in the reference case in 2010; particularly affected would be the electricity-generation industry.
  • Petroleum use will have to be reduced 2 to 13%; mainly affected would be the transportation sector.
  • Energy consumers will need to use 2 to 12% more natural gas in 2010 and 2 to 16% more renewable energy.
  • The operating life of existing nuclear units will have to be extended.
  • If these ends were to be achieved via market-based means, average delivered energy costs would increase 17 to 83%.
  • The amount prices would rise is uncertain, but the more stringent the need for domestic emission reductions, the more costly the adjustment process would be.

Item #d98dec18

Canada Country Study: Climate Impacts and Adaptation, Communications Directorate, Environment Canada, Downsview, Ont., 1997-1998; also available at

The Canada Country Study is an attempt to answer questions about the regional impact of climate change or its impact on specific sectors. A national assessment of potential climate impacts in Canada, the Study responds to commitments under the UNFCCC. It reviews existing knowledge on climate-change impacts and adaptation, identifies gaps in research, and suggests priority areas where new knowledge is needed. The Canada Country Study consists of six regional scientific reports (British Columbia and Yukon, Arctic, Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic); twelve sectoral studies (agriculture, built environment, energy, fisheries, forestry, human health, insurance, recreation and tourism, transport, unmanaged ecosystems, water resources, and wetlands); and eight reports on cross-cutting issues (changing landscapes, costing, domestic trade and commerce, extra-territorial issues, extreme events, integrated air issues, sustainability, and two economies). Particular concerns expressed in the report include disruption of the subsistence hunting of the indigenous Inuit and degradation of their lands; melting of the permafrost; extension of forests into the tundra, destroying wildlife habitat; and displaced wildlife. A perceived benefit would be the opening of the Northwest Passage to shipping and the unveiling of the northern slope for oil exploration and development. The Canada Country Study will form an integral part of Canada’s contribution to the third IPCC assessment report on the global impacts of climate change to be released in 2001.

Item #d98dec19

Approaching the Kyoto Targets: Five Key Strategies for the United States, Howard Geller, Steven Nadel, R. Neal Elliott, Martin Thomas, and John DeCicco, ACEEE, Washington, D.C., $18, August 1998.

This study indicates that the United States can achieve more than 60% of the carbon-emissions reduction necessary to meet the Kyoto Protocol target through actions that will save consumers and businesses money. Five strategies were identified that would stimulate widespread energy-efficiency improvements in all sectors of the American economy:

  • Implementing new-appliance and -equipment efficiency standards and the initiation of related voluntary programs,
  • Establishment of a public-benefit trust fund as part of the restructuring of the electric-utility industry,
  • Employing fuel-economy standards and market incentives to improve vehicle fuel economy,
  • Removing barriers that inhibit the greater use of combined heat and power systems, and
  • Setting efficiency standards for power plants.

According to the study, these five initiatives could cut U.S. carbon emissions in 2010 by 310 million tons per year, 17% of the emissions that would be expected in 2010 given business-as-usual trends and policies. At the same time, they would actually save consumers money. Furthermore, the emissions reductions could nearly double by 2020 as efficiency improvements continue to be made and as more appliances, buildings, vehicles, and power plants are replaced.

Item #d98dec20

Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 1998, WMO Ozone Report No. 44, WMO/UNEP, Geneva, Switzerland, 1998.

The results of the latest WMO/UNEP scientific assessment of ozone depletion confirm the effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and indicate that full recovery of the Earth’s protective ozone shield could occur by the middle of the next century if the Protocol is fully implemented. However, the life of the chemicals already released in the atmosphere will keep the depletion going for years, yet. Ozone-depleting compounds in the troposphere peaked in 1994 and are now slowly declining. However, bromine is still increasing. In the northern polar latitudes, in six of the past nine years, ozone over the North Pole has declined 25 to 30% from the 1960s average. The Antarctic ozone hole has appeared annually, with ozone losses usually exceeding 50%. Only over the middle latitudes has the ozone decline slowed in comparison with the previous measurements (in 1994). The abundance of ozone-depleting substances in the stratosphere is expected to peak by the year 2000. However, when changing atmospheric conditions are combined with natural ozone variability, detecting the start of the ozone layer recovery may not be possible for perhaps another 20 years. Without the Montreal Protocol, however, the ozone decline would have been much stronger and would have continued for many more decades.

Item #d98dec21

Climate, Infectious Disease, and Health: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, Rita R. Colwell and Jonathan A. Patz, American Academy of Microbiology, Washington, D.C., 1998.

For many infectious diseases, principally those that are vectorborne, incidence is related to climate or weather. Rainfall and temperature, in particular, affect the occurrence of many infectious diseases by influencing vector population size. Important links also exist between climate and waterborne, airborne, soilborne, and foodborne diseases.

Weather disturbances like El Niño can have a dramatic impact on the incidence of such diseases as malaria, Rift Valley fever, cholera, and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Higher quality and more comprehensive data (in microbiology, epidemiology, ecology, oceanography, climatology, atmospheric sciences, and marine biology) are needed to better understand how weather and climate affect the prevalence and occurrence of infectious disease so accurate predictive models of disease outbreaks can be developed.

Item #d98dec22

Coordination of Flexible Instruments in Climate Policy, Bjart J. Holtsmark and Knut H. Alfsen, Report 1998:4, CICERO, Oslo, Norway, 1998, free; also available at

The Kyoto Protocol is a logical starting point for choosing domestic policy instruments for addressing climate concerns. Three mechanisms have been identified that will probably be used to achieve the objectives of the Protocol: emissions trading, joint implementation (JI), and the clean development mechanism (CDM). These mechanisms, therefore, are reasonable candidates for national greenhouse-gas (GHG) abatement efforts. An analysis of these mechanisms and the domestic policy instruments they might spawn indicated that:

  • The international market for quotas will be competitive only if governments do not dominate it. Rather, private entities should be allocated quotas by their respective governments and be allowed to trade on the international market. Such a system would induce cost-effective divisions of abatement efforts on both the domestic and the international levels.
  • Limiting the permit market to only a few industries and imposing emission taxes on other parts of the economy will reduce cost-effectiveness unless the emission tax varies in parallel with the permit price.
  • Grandfathering national permits will not reduce the number of plant shutdowns unless there are restrictions on the possibilities for selling the grandfathered quotas. But such limitations would reduce the cost-effectiveness of the instrument, might be banned by the international quota market, and may already be in conflict with the rules for free trade in the European Economic Area.
  • A GHG tax is a cost-effective instrument if the tax rates do not vary across sources and sectors. In principle, the domestic emitters could be allowed to acquire quotas through the flexible mechanisms internationally and have the emission tax repaid in accordance with the acquired number of quotas. Allocating tradable permits is, however, probably a more convenient method for linking domestic abatement to international efforts.
  • CDM supplements the ordinary quota market. The relationship between JI and emissions trading is somewhat unclear. The development of the rules for JI and quota trading are needed to elucidate that relationship.

Item #d98dec23

EIIP Preferred and Alternative Methods for Estimating Air Emissions, Volume VIII: Greenhouse Gases, ICF Inc., USEPA, Washington, D.C., 1998, free; also available at

The Emission Inventory Improvement Program (EIIP) Greenhouse Gas Committee has developed a review draft on greenhouse gases. The 15-chapter volume describes methods for performing inventories of greenhouse gas emissions to help states align their practices with those used nationally and internationally. To develop the report, representatives from 12 states reviewed current methods and suggested alternatives based on their experience. The volume uses the Data Attribute Rating System to rank different methods for the quality of activity data and emission factors. Scores are assigned to four data attributes: measurement/method; source specificity; spatial congruity; and temporal congruity. With these DARS scores, an inventory preparer can rate the emission factor and activity data for the methods that are under consideration. The volume gives a general overview of estimating GHG emissions and then details measurement of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, industrial processes, natural gas and oil systems, coal mining, municipal waste management, domesticated animals, manure management, rice fields, agricultural soils, forest management and land-use change, burning of agricultural crop wastes, municipal wastewater, vehicular combustion, and stationary combustion.

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