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Title: The great climate debate

Abstract

There is no doubt that human activity is increasing the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Whether that spells sweeping global climate change is still much debated. Should we act to blunt the impact in the face of this uncertainty The authors thinks so. The paper presents data on the rise in atmospheric CO{sub 2}; projected rises in CO{sub 2}, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluoro-carbons; the changing pattern of global CO{sub 2} emissions from North America, USSR and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Developing Countries, and others; the results of 3 computer models of climate change; and the contribution to global warming from various human activities.

Authors:
 [1]
  1. (National Academy of Engineering (USA))
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5397662
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Scientific American; (United States); Journal Volume: 263:1
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 01 COAL, LIGNITE, AND PEAT; GREENHOUSE EFFECT; DECISION MAKING; AGRICULTURE; CARBON DIOXIDE; CLIMATE MODELS; CLIMATES; DEVELOPING COUNTRIES; ECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; EMISSION; ENERGY CONSUMPTION; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY; EUROPE; FOSSIL FUELS; GLOBAL ASPECTS; HEATING; INDUSTRY; LAND USE; METHANE; NITROUS OXIDE; NORTH AMERICA; ORGANIC CHLORINE COMPOUNDS; ORGANIC FLUORINE COMPOUNDS; PRODUCTION; TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT; ALKANES; CARBON COMPOUNDS; CARBON OXIDES; CHALCOGENIDES; ENERGY SOURCES; FUELS; GOVERNMENT POLICIES; HYDROCARBONS; MATHEMATICAL MODELS; NITROGEN COMPOUNDS; NITROGEN OXIDES; ORGANIC COMPOUNDS; ORGANIC HALOGEN COMPOUNDS; OXIDES; OXYGEN COMPOUNDS; 540120* - Environment, Atmospheric- Chemicals Monitoring & Transport- (1990-); 010900 - Coal, Lignite, & Peat- Environmental Aspects

Citation Formats

White, R.M.. The great climate debate. United States: N. p., 1990. Web. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0790-36.
White, R.M.. The great climate debate. United States. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0790-36.
White, R.M.. Sun . "The great climate debate". United States. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0790-36.
@article{osti_5397662,
title = {The great climate debate},
author = {White, R.M.},
abstractNote = {There is no doubt that human activity is increasing the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Whether that spells sweeping global climate change is still much debated. Should we act to blunt the impact in the face of this uncertainty The authors thinks so. The paper presents data on the rise in atmospheric CO{sub 2}; projected rises in CO{sub 2}, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluoro-carbons; the changing pattern of global CO{sub 2} emissions from North America, USSR and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Developing Countries, and others; the results of 3 computer models of climate change; and the contribution to global warming from various human activities.},
doi = {10.1038/scientificamerican0790-36},
journal = {Scientific American; (United States)},
number = ,
volume = 263:1,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 1990},
month = {Sun Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 1990}
}
  • Toward the end of the nineteenth and at the beginning of twentieth century significant discussions occurred among geographers, meteorologists and climatologists concerned with the notion of climate variability and anthropogenic climate change, for instance, due to deforestation and reforestation. The authors identify two protagonists of this debate, Eduard Brueckner and Julius Hann, who both accept the notion of climate variability on the decadal scale, but respond in very different ways to the discovery of climate change. Brueckner assessed the impact of climate variability on society (e.g., on health, the balance of trade, emigration to the US), and tried to bringmore » these to the attention of the public, whereas Hann limited himself to the immediate natural scientific problem of monitoring and documenting climate variability. The authors suggest that these discussions and the formation of national governmental and parliamentary committees almost 100 hundred years ago, are not merely of historical interest. In view of present discussions of climate variability and anthropogenic climate change, and the need for adequate socio-economic response strategies, past and now neglected arguments may prove important for methodological and theoretical as well as for practical reasons. The past discussions represent a significant social and intellectual analogy for the present situation. 51 refs., 2 figs.« less
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  • A state utility regulator contributes to a discussion which has been ongoing in recent years, in the regulatory community as well as in regulated utility companies, concerning the most appropriate method of pricing electric energy. He further proposes that any excess revenue produced for utilities by the marginal-cost pricing that he advocates be used to fund an energy-conservation loan program for electricity users.
  • In this interview, Dr. Jorgenson views the rapid US economic growth from 1948 to 1976 as due largely to expanded capital input, followed by growth in productivity and labor inputs. The decline since 1973 is almost entirely due to the drop in productivity. When the data are disaggregated to the level of 35 individual industrial and government sectors to determine gross intermediate outputs, the model is able to determine how the relative prices of sectoral inputs affect the growth of sectoral productivity. A tax package which cuts both payroll and capital taxes will stimulate capital formation and productivity growth. Themore » concept of a First Year Capital Recovery System (FYCRS) insulates capital-consumption allowances from inflation and allows tax rates to reflect present value as well as reducing business paperwork. This approach would also spur technological innovation and improve the US position in international competition using trade adjustment and unemployment assistance in a way that won't prolong the life of noncompetitive industries. Specific measures that can redirect research and training need to link the scientific and business sectors in the planning process. (DCK)« less
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