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WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 1995

Description: There is continuing international concern about global warming and its potential to cause serious disruption to vulnerable social and economic sectors of society as well as to sustainable development efforts. As recently as December 1995, scientists of the World Meteorological Organization/United Nations Environment Programme (WMO/UNEP) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate", through emissions of greenhouse gases. At the same time, there is a developing capability within national Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to provide comprehensive information on past, present, and future (seasons to a year ahead) climate and its variations, to a wide spectrum of users. The rapid development of global communications systems means that such information can be provided on a timely basis and is, therefore, of great use to national decision makers.
Date: 1995
Creator: World Meteorological Organization

IPCC Special Report Aviation and the Global Atmosphere: Summary for Policymakers

Description: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was jointly established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988 to: (i) assess available information on the science, the impacts, and the economics of, and the options for mitigating and/or adapting to, climate change and (ii) provide, on request, scientific/technical/socio-economic advice to the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since then the IPCC has produced a series of Assessment Reports, Special Reports, Technical Papers, methodologies, and other products that have become standard works of reference, widely used by policymakers, scientists, and other experts. This Special Report was prepared following a request from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The state of understanding of the relevant science of the atmosphere, aviation technology, and socio-economic issues associated with mitigation options is assessed and reported for both subsonic and supersonic fleets. The potential effects that aviation has had in the past and may have in the future on both stratospheric ozone depletion and global climate change are covered; environmental impacts of aviation at the local scale, however, are not addressed. The report synthesizes the findings to identify and characterize options for mitigating future impacts.
Date: 1999
Creator: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Groups I and III

The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability

Description: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was jointly established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in 1988 to assess the scientific and technical literature on climate change, the potential impacts of changes in climate, and options for adaption to and mitigation of climate change. Since its inception, the IPCC has produced a series of Assessment Reports, Special Reports, Technical Papers, methodologies and other products which have become standard works of reference, widely used by policymakers, scientists and other experts. This Special Report, which has been produced by Working Group II of the IPCC, builds on the Working Group's contribution to the Second Assessment Report (SAR), and incorporates more recent information made available since mid-1995. It has been prepared in response to a request from the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It addresses an important question posed by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC, namely, the degree to which human conditions and the natural environment are vulnerable to the potential effects of climate change. The report establishes a common base of information regarding the potential costs and benefits of climatic change, including the evaluation of uncertainties, to help the COP determine what adaptation and mitigation measures might be justified. The report consists of vulnerability assessments for 10 regions that comprise the Earth's entire land surface and adjoining coastal seas: Africa, Arid Western Asia (including the Middle East), Australasia, Europe, Latin America, North America, the Polar Regions (The Arctic and the Antarctic), Small Island States, Temperate Asia and Tropical Asia. It also includes several annexes that provide information about climate observations, climate projections, vegetation distribution projections and socioeconomic trends.
Date: November 1997
Creator: Watson, Robert T.; Zinyowera, Marufu C.; Moss, Richard H. & Dokken, David J.

Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) Science Plan

Description: Human population and associated industrial activities continue to increase rapidly, and have reached levels that put the environment under stress in many areas of the world. In addition natural fluctuations of the Earth's physical and biological systems, often occur in time frames that are not readily evident to man. Such fluctuations cause additional stress on the environment, and can result in changes that impact society in terms of diminished availability of clean water, unspoiled land and natural vegetation, minerals, fish stocks, and clean air. Human societies are making a rapidly increasing number of policy and management decisions that attempt to allow both for natural fluctuations and to limit or modify human impact. Such decisions are often ineffective, as a result of economic, political and social constraints, and inadequate understanding of the interactions between human activities and natural responses. Improved understanding of such issues is important in its own right, and will contribute to ameliorating economic, political and social constraints. Developing improved understanding of environmental change is within the realm of the natural sciences and is being addressed by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and other programmes concerned with describing and understanding the Earth System. Natural variability, occurring over a variety of time scales, dominates the health of complex marine ecosystems, regardless of fishing or other environmental pressure. We are only now beginning to compile quantitative documentation of such variability, and consequently our knowledge concerning its causes remains at the level of hypotheses. Understanding of the role of variability in the functioning of marine ecosystems is essential if we are to effectively manage global marine living resources such as fisheries during this period of tremendously increased human impact, and concurrent dependence, on these resources.
Date: 1997
Creator: Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC)

The Miombo Network: Framework for a Terrestrial Transect Study of Land-Use and Land-Cover Change in the Miombo Ecosystems of Central Africa

Description: This report describes the strategy for the Miombo Network Initiative, developed at an International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) intercore-project workshop in Malawi in December 1995 and further refined during the Land Use and Cover Change (LUCC) Open Science Meeting in January, 1996 and through consultation and review by the LUCC Scientific Steering Committee (SSC). The Miombo Network comprises of an international network of researchers working in concert on a 'community' research agenda developed to address the critical global change research questions for the miombo woodland ecosystems. The network also addresses capacity building and training needs in the Central, Eastern and Southern Africa (SAF) region, of the Global Change System for Analysis Research and Training (START). The research strategy described here provides the basis for a proposed IGBP Terrestrial Transect study of land cover and land use changes in the miombo ecosystems of Central Africa. It therefore resides administratively within the LUCC programme with linkages to other Programme Elements of the IGBP such as Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE). The report provides the framework for research activities aimed at understanding how land use is affecting land cover and associated ecosystem processes; assessing what contribution these changes are making to global change; and predicting what effects global change in turn could have on land use dynamics and ecosystem structure and function. The key issues identified are: patterns, causes and rates of change in land cover in relation to land use; consequences of land-use and land-cover changes on regional climate, natural resources, hydrology, carbon storage and trace gas emissions; determinants of the distribution of species and ecosystems in miombo; and fundamental questions of miombo ecosystem structure and function.
Date: 1997
Creator: Desanker, Paul V.; Frost, Peter G. H.; Justice, Christopher O. & Scholes, Robert J.

The Kalahari Transect: Research on Global Change and Sustainable Development in Southern Africa

Description: The Kalahari Transect is proposed as one of IGBPs Transects (see Koch et al. 1995 [IGBP Report 36]). It is located so as to span the gradient between the arid subtropics and the moist tropics in southern Africa, a zone potentially susceptible to changes in the global precipitation pattern. Its focus is the relationships between the structure and function of ecosystems and their large-scale biophysical and human drivers (climate, atmosphere and land use). The Kalahari Transect spans a strong climatic gradient in southern Africa, from the arid south to the humid north, while remaining on a single broad soil type, the deep sands of the Kalahari basin. The vegetation ranges over the length of the transect from shrubland through savannas and woodlands to closed evergreen tropical forest, with land uses ranging from migratory wildlife systems, through pastoralism, subsistence cropping to forestry. The objectives of the Kalahari Transect activity are to: build an active network of regional and international researchers around the issue of ecosystem structure and function in savanna woodlands undergoing climatic and land use change; quantify the current and future role of southern African savanna woodlands in the global carbon, water and trace gas budgets and the degree of dependence of these budgets on climate and land use change; develop a predictive understanding of future changes in southern African savannas and woodlands on sandy soils, including their capacity to deliver forage, timber and other products. A five year project is proposed, commencing in 1997. The project revolves around four themes: vegetation structure, composition and dynamics; biogeochemistry, trace gas emissions and productivity; resource use and management and water and energy balance. These themes define the minimum set of processes necessary for understanding of the Kalahari system.
Date: 1997
Creator: Scholes, R.J. & Parsons, D.A.B.

Predicting Global Change Impacts on Mountain Hydrology and Ecology: Integrated Catchment Hydrology/Altitudinal Gradient Studies: A workshop report

Description: Documentation resulting from an international workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal, 30 March - 2 April 1996. The following themes were addressed by the working groups: 1. "Role of ecology and hydrology for the sustainable development in mountain regions" (the "human dimensions"). 2. "Coupled ecological and hydrological studies along altitudinal gradients in mountain regions", with a sub-group dealing with the "Assessment of the spatial distribution pattern of basic water balance components." 3. "Impacts of global change on the ecology and hydrology in mountain regions", with a sub-group on the "Identification of global change impacts on hydrology and ecology in high mountain areas."
Date: 1997
Creator: Becker, Alfred & Bugmann, Harald

START Implementation Plan 1997-2002

Description: The primary goals of the SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training in global change science (START), which is co-sponsored by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP); the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP); and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) are to promote regional global change science and to enhance the capacity of individuals, institutions and developing regions to undertake such research. START capacity building initiatives include the recognition that human capacity building is much more than training and that, as with all development, sustainable development is best. Once-off training exercises are easy to organize, but are the least effective method of capacity enhancement and result in large cost/benefit ratios. In contrast, sustained development of human capacity through continual involvement with research maximizes efficiency and minimizes the cost/benefit ratio. START seeks to enhance regional global change research while at the same time enhancing the individual and institutional capacity to conduct such research. The details as to how START operates, and how it plans to encompass its vision and meet its objectives are given in the START Implementation Plan.
Date: 1998
Creator: Fuchs, Roland; Hassan, Virji & Fleming, Cory

Oil Pollution Act of 1990

Description: The Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 1990 streamlined and strengthened EPA's ability to prevent and respond to catastrophic oil spills. A trust fund financed by a tax on oil is available to clean up spills when the responsible party is incapable or unwilling to do so. The OPA requires oil storage facilities and vessels to submit to the Federal government plans detailing how they will respond to large discharges. EPA has published regulations for above ground storage facilities; the Coast Guard has done so for oil tankers. The OPA also requires the development of Area Contingency Plans to prepare and plan for oil spill response on a regional scale.
Date: 1990
Creator: United States. Congress.

The Terrestrial Biosphere and Global Change: Implications for Natural and Managed Ecosystems

Description: From the perspective of terrestrial ecosystems, the most important component of global change over the next three or four decades will likely be land-use/cover change. It is driven largely by the need to feed the expanding human population, expected to increase by almost one billion (109) people per decade for the next three decades at least. Much of this increase will occur in developing countries in the low-latitude regions of the world. To meet the associated food demand, crop yields will need to increase, consistently, by over 2% every year through this period. Despite advances in technology, increasing food production must lead to intensification of agriculture in areas which are already cropped, and conversion of forests and grasslands into cropping systems. Much of the latter will occur in semi-arid regions and on lands which are marginally suitable for cultivation, increasing the risk of soil erosion, accelerated water use, and further land degradation.
Date: 1997
Creator: Walker, Brian & Steffen, WIll

Ocean Biogeochemistry and Global Change

Description: From the perspective of terrestrial ecosystems, the most important component of global change over the next three or four decades will likely be land-use/cover change. It is driven largely by the need to feed the expanding human population, expected to increase by almost one billion (109) people per decade for the next three decades at least. Much of this increase will occur in developing countries in the low-latitude regions of the world. To meet the associated food demand, crop yields will need to increase, consistently, by over 2% every year through this period. Despite advances in technology, increasing food production must lead to intensification of agriculture in areas which are already cropped, and conversion of forests and grasslands into cropping systems. Much of the latter will occur in semi-arid regions and on lands which are marginally suitable for cultivation, increasing the risk of soil erosion, accelerated water use, and further land degradation.
Date: 1997
Creator: Joint Global Ocean Flux Study

Native Peoples-Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop Final Report: Circles of Wisdom

Description: The Native Peoples-Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop was held on October 28 through November 01, 1998, as part of a series of workshops being held around the U.S. to improve the understanding of the potential consequences of climate variability and change for the Nation. This workshop was specifically designed by Native Peoples to examine the impacts of climate change and extreme weather variability on Native Peoples and Native Homelands from an indigenous cultural and spiritual perspective and to develop recommendations as well as identify potential response actions. Native Peoples, with our spiritual traditions and long community histories of change, adaptation, and survival in specific regions, are providing a unique contribution to the assessment and understanding of climate change as well as to the development of sustainable economies in this country.
Date: 1998
Creator: Maynard, Nancy, G.

Selected Translated Abstracts of Chinese-Language Climate Change Publications

Description: This report contains English-translated abstracts of important Chinese-language literature concerning global climate change for the years 1995-1998. This body of abstracts includes the topics of adaption, ancient climate change, climate variation, the East Asia monsoon, historical climate change, impacts, modeling, and radiation, and trace gas emission. In addition to the bibliographic citations and abstracts translated into English, this report presents the original citations and abstracts in Chinese. Author and title index are included to assist the reader in locating abstracts of particular interest.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Institute of Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Atomic Energy Act of 1954 [As Amended Through P.L. 105-394, November 13, 1998]: An Act for the development and control of atomic energy

Description: The Atomic Energy Act (AEA) established the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to promote the "utilization of atomic energy for peaceful purposes to the maximum extent consistent with the common defense and security and with the health and safety of the public." Since the abolition of the AEC, much of the AEA has been carried out by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy. When EPA was formed, however, the AEC's authority to issue generally applicable environmental radiation standards was transferred to EPA. Other federal and state organizations must follow these standards when developing requirements for their areas of radiation protection.
Date: November 13, 1998
Creator: United States. Congress.

Law of the People's Republic of China on Water and Soil Conservation

Description: This Law was established for the purpose of the prevention and control of soil erosion; the protection and rational utilization of water and soil resources; the mitigation of flooding, drought, and sandstorm; the improvement of ecological environment and the development of production.
Date: June 29, 1991
Creator: National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China

Summary for Policymakers: The Economic and Social Dimensions of Climate Change -IPCC Working Group III

Description: This summary report assesses a large part of the existing literature on the socioeconomics of climate change and identifies areas in which a consensus has emerged on key issues and areas where differences exist1. The chapters have been arranged so that they cover several key issues. First, frameworks for socioeconomic assessment of costs and benefits of action and inaction are described. Particular attention is given to the applicability of costbenefit analysis, the incorporation of equity and social considerations, and consideration of intergenerational equity issues. Second, the economic and social benefits of limiting greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing sinks are reviewed. Third, the economic, social and environmental costs of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions are assessed. Next, generic mitigation and adaptation response options are reviewed, methods for assessing the costs and effectiveness of different response options are summarized, and integrated assessment techniques are discussed. Finally, the report provides an economic assessment of policy instruments to combat climate change.
Date: 1995
Creator: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Summary for Policymakers: The Science of Climate Change - IPCC Working Group I

Description: Greenhouse gas concentrations have continued to increase. Anthropogenic aerosols tend to produce negative radiative forcings. Climate has changed over the past century. The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate. Climate is expected to continue to change in the future. There are still many uncertainties.
Date: 1995
Creator: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Climate Change: The Evidence Mounts Up

Description: This article was published in Nature and summarized the presentations of a six-day symposium held 3-8 July 1995 on Climate Variability and Forcing over the past mellennium. Our present climate is unusually warm, and the pattern of warming over the past century strongly suggests an anthropogenic influence from greenhouse gas and sulphate aerosols. That was the message emerging from a week-long symposium examining climate variability over the past 1,000 years, which brought together results from a growing array of observational techniques, analyses of natural records and model results.
Date: August 24, 1995
Creator: MacCracken, Michael C.

Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics: Implementation Plan

Description: This document describes plans for the implementation of the Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) programme element of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP). This Implementation Plan is an international response to the need to understand how global change, in the broadest sense, will affect the abundance, diversity and productivity of marine populations comprising a major component of oceanic ecosystems. The Plan describes the consensus view, developed under the auspices of the GLOBEC Scientific Steering Committee (SSC), on the research required to fulfill the scientific goals laid out in the GLOBEC Science Plan (IGBP Report No. 40). The Implementation Plan expands on the Science Plan, drawing on the results and recommendations of workshops, meetings, and reports thereof, that have been sponsored under the auspices of GLOBEC. The GLOBEC research programme has four major components which, are described in detail in this Implementation Plan; the research Foci, Framework Activities, Regional Programmes, and Integrating Activity. These are summarized in the Table of Contents, and in schematic diagrams within the text. They are the elements that have been planned by, and will be implemented under the auspices of, the GLOBEC SSC. National GLOBEC programmes may select those aspects of this international framework which are relevant to meeting national objectives, or they may develop new directions as needed to meet specific national needs.
Date: 1999
Creator: GLOBEC International Project Office

Land-Use and Land-Cover Change (LUCC): Implementation Strategy

Description: The Implementation Strategy of the Land-Use and Land-Cover Change (LUCC) project specifies in greater detail the activities and projects that will fulfil the mandate outlined in the LUCC Science/Research Plan published in 1995. The project, a joint initiative of IGBP and IHDP, is addressing important global change questions on the local, regional and global scale. The planned and ongoing activities involve a wide community of natural and social scientists. The new understanding of land-use and land-cover change dynamics following from the work carried out under the LUCC Implementation Strategy will be of crucial importance to the global environmental change research community as well as to decision-makers at the local, regional and global levels.
Date: 1999
Creator: Scientific Steering Committee and International Project Office of LUCC

Past Global Changes (PAGES) Status Report and Implementation Plan

Description: This document summarizes progress made thus far by the Past Global Changes (PAGES) programme element of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP). The document also outlines the implementation plans for most of the Foci, Activities and Tasks currently within the PAGES remit. The plan first introduces the scope and rationale of PAGES science and explains how PAGES is organized structurally and scientifically to achieve its goals. For all of the palaeosciences relevant to IGBP goals, PAGES has sought to identify and create the organizational structures needed to support continued work and progress. Models intended to predict future environmental changes must, in order to demonstrate their effectiveness, be capable of accurately reproducing conditions known to have occurred in the past. Through the organization of coordinated national and international scientific efforts, PAGES seeks to obtain and interpret a variety of palaeoclimatic records and to provide the data essential for the validation of predictive climate models. PAGES activities include integration and intercomparison of ice, ocean and terrestrial palaeorecords and encourages the creation of consistent analytical and data-base methodologies across the palaeosciences. PAGES has already played a crucial role in the archiving, management and dissemination of palaeodata. This is fully summarized in the recently published Global Palaeoenvironmental Data Workshop Report (95-2). The growing significance of this type of activity is evidenced by the steep increase in consultation and use of the data currently in the public domain and accessible electronically, and by the growing importance of such data for model validation and intercomparison.
Date: 1998
Creator: Oldfield, Frank