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Selected Recent References; annotated on Global Warming

Urgency | tipping elements | sustainable energy path | carbon markets | ticking time-bomb | Isotopes | gridlock | European approach | Human impacts | Sciences

More current articles.


"Reducing Abrupt Climate Change Risk Using the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory actions to complement cuts in CO2 Emissions."

Mario Molina, et. al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: PNAS, February 2009. Volume _, # _, pp. 3-9.

Current emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gasses (GHGs) have already committed the planet to an increase in average surface temperatures by the end of the century that may be above the critical threshold for ‘‘tipping elements" of the climate system into abrupt change with potentially irreversible and unmanageable consequences. This would mean that the climate system is close to entering, if not already within the sone of "dangerous anthropogenic interference (DAI)." Scientific and policy literature refers to the need for "early," "urgent," "rapid," and "fast action" mitigation to help avoid DAI and abrupt climate changes"

"The stated goal of international climate policy is to avoid "dangerous anthropogenic interference" (DAI) with the climate system." . . . . "Paleoclimate records include steady linear changes as well as abrupt nonlinear changes, where small increases in average surface temperature produced qualitatively different modes of operation of the climate system that were irreversible on a time scale of millennia."

There are large uncertainties associated with tipping points, which are often associated with 'surprises' . . . .The transition time scales estimated for these tipping elements vary from as little as ten years for loss of summer sea ice, in the Arctic to 50 years for Amazon and other forests die-off, to 300 years at the low end for melting of the Greenland Ice sheet, and 300 years for the worst case scenario for the collapse of the west Antarctic Ice Sheet."

"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).

Urgency | tipping elements | sustainable energy path | carbon markets | ticking time-bomb | Isotopes | gridlock | European approach | Human impacts | Sciences

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 of 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."

Urgency | tipping elements | sustainable energy path | carbon markets | ticking time-bomb | Isotopes | gridlock | European approach | Human impacts | Sciences

"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."


Urgency | tipping elements | sustainable energy path | carbon markets | ticking time-bomb | Isotopes | gridlock | European approach | Human impacts | Sciences

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 today’s weather, solving the problem of tomorrow’s 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 begin now.

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) January, 1999-2000.

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.


Urgency | tipping elements | sustainable energy path | carbon markets | ticking time-bomb | Isotopes | gridlock | European approach | Human impacts | Sciences

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 warming stalemate.

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 gases.

Urgency | tipping elements | sustainable energy path | carbon markets | ticking time-bomb | Isotopes | gridlock | European approach | Human impacts | Sciences

More current articles.

President Carter's reference to Global Warming in the Nobel Peace Prize Lecture

Spencer Weart | Gale Christianson | James Hansen, 04 : Hansen 06 | Bill McKibben | Wigley