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Item #d99jan36

CDIAC Communications

CDIAC Communications, the newsletter of the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center and World Data Center A for Atmospheric Trace Gases, is now available on the Web at in PDF and HTML formats. This newsletter is an important source of information about the data sets compiled and/or made available through CDIAC. These data sets cover historical climate variables (e.g., precipitation and temperature), historical trace-gas levels of the atmosphere (e.g., carbon dioxide and methane), and many other climate-change-related variables that researchers can use in executing modeling studies.

Remote Sensing Tutorial

The Applied Information Sciences Branch of NASA has brought up the Remote Sensing Tutorial Website at It tells how remote sensing is used to study the land, sea, and air and it helps develop skills needed to interpret aerial photography and space imagery by direct inspection and by computer processing. The site has an overview, introduction, glossary, and 20 instructional sections covering such topics as radar and microwave remote sensing, urban and land-use applications, and exploration for minerals and oil. Illustrations and examples to help in interpret the concepts include space images, classifications, maps, and plots.

Paleo Perspective on Climate

NOAA has developed a website entitled A Paleo Perspective on Global Warming. It is located at and contains a wealth of information about the Earth’s paleoclimate. Paleoclimatic data are derived from tree rings, corals, ice cores, geologic formations, and sediments, and they provide scientists with insights into the Earth’s climate changes during past millennia. These data complement the relatively short (about 120 years) but more precise instrumental record. The NOAA site is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of global warming and to view today’s temperatures from the perspective of the Earth’s history during the past 120 million years. It touches on global warming, the greenhouse effect, and atmospheric ozone change.

Reducing GHG Emissions in Developing Countries

Resources for the Future has posted in PDF format a paper by Ramón López on its website at The paper analyzes the impacts of energy subsidies in developing countries, explains how large emissions reductions can result from a phaseout of such subsidies; and examines biomass as a particularly important source of carbon emissions in developing countries. It includes a case study of the Amazon region in South America as a potential carbon sink and concludes with a number of recommendations for fostering the participation of developing countries in the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

Land-Use Change in Australia and the Kyoto Protocol

The “Australia clause” in Article 3.7 of the Kyoto Protocol permits countries for which land-use change and forestry are a net source of greenhouse-gas emissions to include net emissions from land-use change in their 1990 base year against which emission-reduction targets are calculated. Australia seems to be the only industrialized country to which this clause applies and was considered to have little impact by the negotiators of the Protocol. However, developing countries may invoke the clause as they negotiate targets and engage in emissions trading, joint-implementation arrangements, and other flexibility mechanisms, and the clause may end up having major implications for emissions reductions.

Clive Hamilton of The Australia Institute used the official greenhouse-gas inventories to assess Australian emissions and studied the uncertainties associated with measuring emissions from land-use change. He found that emissions from land-use change in Australia in 1990 were 89.8 Mt or 18.9% of the country’s total emissions. By 1996 this value had declined to 62.8 Mt, probably as a result of the declining profitability of land clearing for cattle grazing. He then calculated the likely path of emissions from land-use change through 2012 and how it would affect the allowable emissions from the energy sector and other portions of the economy. Several scenarios were considered. If the rate of land clearing does not change from the 1996 rate, Australia’s non-land-use greenhouse- gas emissions can increase by 20% under the provisions of the Protocol. If the Australian Government implements its announced plan to reduce land clearing by 20,000 ha per year starting in 2000, fossil-fuel emissions can increase by 26%.

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