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Selected Recent References; annotated
on Global Warming
"Tipping elements in the Earth’s climate system"
Timothy M. Lenton, Hermann Held, Elmar Kriegler, Jim W. Hall, Wolfgang Lucht, Stefan Rahmstof, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: PNAS, February 2008. Volume 105, # 6, pp. 1786-1793.
The term ‘‘tipping point’’ commonly refers to a critical threshold at which a tiny perturbation can qualitatively alter the state or development of a system. Here we introduce the term ‘‘tipping element’’ to describe large-scale components of the Earth system that may pass a tipping point. We critically evaluate potential policy-relevant tipping elements in the climate system under anthropogenic
[ human induced ] forcing, drawing on the pertinent literature and a recent international workshop to compile a short list, and we assess where their tipping points lie. An expert elicitation is used to help rank their sensitivity to global warming and the uncertainty about the underlying physical mechanisms. Then we explain how, in principle, early warning systems could be established to detect the proximity of some tipping points.
Human activities may have the potential to push components of the Earth system past critical states into qualitatively different modes of operation, implying large-scale impacts on human and ecological systems. Examples that have received recent attention include the potential collapse of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation (THC) (1), dieback of the Amazon rainforest (2), and decay of the Greenland ice sheet (3).
A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030, Mark Z. Jacobsen
& Mark A. Delucci. Scientific American, November 2009, pp. 58-65. "Wind. Water and solar technologies can provide
100 percent of the world's energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. Scientists
have been building to this moment for at least a decade, analyzing various
pieces pf the challenge. Most recently a 2009 Stanford University study
ranked energy systems according to their impacts on global warming, pollution.
water supply, land use, wildlife and other concerns. The very best options
were wind. solar, geothermal, tidal and hydroelectric power all of which
are driven by wind, water or sunlight. The study also found that battery
electric vehicles recharged by the above options would largely eliminate
pollution from the transportation sector."
"Making Carbon Markets
Work." David G. Victor and Danny Cullenward. Scientific America, Vol. 296: #6. February, 2007. pp. 70-77.
Limiting climate change without damaging the world economy
depends on stronger and smarter market signals to regulate carbon dioxide. Five
ways to limit carbon emissions are basic to any attempt to unrealistically
create markets out of thin air and to avoid market players from gaming the
system. "The challenge is immense. Traditional fossil fuel energy is so
abundant and inexpensive that climate-friendly substitutes have little hope of
acceptance without robust policy support."
Defusing the Global Warming Time Bomb, James Hansen, Scientific American, March 2004, pp. 68-77."Global warming is real, and the consequences
are potentially disastrous. Nevertheless, practical actions, which would
also yield a cleaner, healthier atmosphere, could slow, and eventually
stop, the process.... through study of the earth's climate, which reveals
that small forces, maintained long enough, can cause climate change. And,
consistent with the historical evidence,
the earth has begun to warm in recent decades at a rate predicted by climate
models that take account of the atmospheric accumulation of human made
greenhouse gases." See
here: for more.
"Stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry in global climate research," Prosenjit Ghosh, Willi A. Brand, International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 228 (2003)pp. 1-33. "Atmospheric carbon dioxide CO2 provides a link between biological, physical and anthropogenic processes in ecosystems. Carbon and Oxygen are exchanged between the atmosphere, the oceans, the terrestrial biosphere and more slowly with sediments and sedimentary rocks. Present concern is mainly focused on carbon because of its anthropogenic contributions, which includes fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, agriculture, and cement production." (p.2)
Breaking the Global-Warming Gridlock, Daniel Sarewitz
& Roger Pielke Jr. The Atlantic Monthly, (July, 2000), pp.
55 - 64. Each new scientific finding only raises new questions
-- meaning it is time for a new approach: if we look at practical steps
to reduce our vulnerability to todays weather, solving the problem
of tomorrows climate would be manageable.
Involving the Public in Climate and Energy Decisions, Bernd Kasemir, et.
al. Environment, (April, 2000), pp. 32-41. How
Europeans interpret evidence that increasing consumption is driving human-induced
global warming from CO2 emissions.
The Human Impact on Climate, Karl & Trenberth, Scientific American,
281:6, (December, 1999), pp. 100 -105. How much of a disruption
do we really cause? Over the next 50 years we can broadly understand how
humans are affecting global and regional climate patterns and the long
residence time of greenhouse gas emissions require monitoring improvements
Case Grows For Climate Change, Bette Hileman, Chemical and Engineering News, (Volume 77, Number 32), August 9,
1999, pp. 16-23, [ISSN 0009-2347] New evidence leads to
increasing concern that human-induced global warming from CO2 emissions
is already here.
Trouble in Paradise: the Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity and
Ecosystems in Florida, Adam Markham, (World Wildlife Fund Report)
The Science of Climate Change: Global and US Perspectives, Wigley,
Tom M.L. (1999), Pew Center for Global Climate Change, Senior Scientist,
National Center for Atmospheric Research, pp. 3-5. Compares
evidence that increasing temperatures and CO2 emissions from human-induced
global warming are closely related.
Reinventing the Energy System, Christopher Flavin & Seth Dunn, State
of the World: 1999, pp, 22-40. Investigation of the
means to diversify the fuel basis of industrial societies based on the
concern that price inelasticity of fossil fuels for transportation will
slow global development.
The Role of Science and Policy: The Climate Change Debate in the US, Eugene
B. Skolnikoff, Environment, (June, 1999), p. 16.
Ecologist, (April, 1999), entire edition. a comprehensive review
of the science, impacts, consequences and political motivation for global
Biomass Energy and Carbon Sinks David O. Hall, Environment, (January-February,
1999, p. 5.
The End of Cheap Oil, Colin J. Campbell & Jean H. Laberrére, Scientific American, 278:3 (March, 1998), pp. 78-83. Forecasts
about the abundance of oil are warped by inconsistent definitions of reserves.
In truth, every year for the past two decades the industry has pumped
more oil than it has discovered, and the production will soon be unable
to keep up with rising demand.
Global Climate Change, Reinhardt & Vietor, Business Management
and the Natural Environment: Cases & Text, (Cincinnati, Ohio:
ITP, 1996), pp. 4-44 - 4-75. A comparison of contrasting
evidence leads to increasingly inconclusive debate between two options:
the costs of slowing greenhouse gas emissions versus adapting to sea level
rise and other externalities. No single country could significantly
affect global levels of greenhouse gases through unilateral action.
Radiative forcing of Climate Change, IPCC, Climate Change 1995: Science
of Climate Change, pp. 75- 131. Elaboration of the
physics behind atmospheric gas behavior and the uncertainties surrounding
oceanic and atmospheric consequences of a rapid rise of thermal insulating
President Carter's reference to Global Warming in the Nobel Peace Prize Lecture
Weart | Gale Christianson | James Hansen, 04 : Hansen 06 | Bill McKibben | Wigley