Edited by Tor Ragnar Gerholm
published 1999 ISBN 0 906522 16 1 pp. 170 £24.50
The Kyoto Convention recommends reductions in emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, to mitigate the rate of climate change. Lively debate has taken place in many countries, not least over the political and economic implications.
The basis for the Kyoto discussions was a set of studies commissioned, compiled and published by the UN's International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). At first glance this scientific foundation plainly shows that significant climate change will occur unless emissions of greenhouse gases are sharply curtailed. On closer examination, the scientific evidence provided in the IPCC material is far from clear. Reputable scientists have expressed critical views about the interpretation of the scientific results and, even more, of the way the material is being used for policy purposes. The main purpose of this book is to voice this critique.
To give the reader some context, a central section from the IPCC's basic document is presented first. There follow nine papers, by prominent natural and social scientists, in which the reasons for their sceptical attitudes are developed. A final paper by Professor Bert Bolin, chairman of the IPCC during the time when most of the material was produced, provides a response and commentary to the critique.
The aim of the editor and authors, in presenting the material in this way, rather than as a polemical tract, is to leave open to the reader the question: Is global warming a consequence of man's activities, or are there other reasons; if so, is adopting policies with significant economic consequences, a reasonable response?
Contributors and Contents
The science and politics of the greenhouse issue
The use and misuse of science in policy making
Are the temperature variations of the twentieth century abnormal?
Has the greenhouse effect changed global climate?
Tor Ragnar Gerholm
Energy use and climate models
The carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere
Richard S. Lindzen
The problematical greenhouse effect
The role of the oceans in the climate system - an unsolved problem
An economic analysis of climate policy
Swedish climate policy
Knowledge and controversies in the climate issue