Abstracts on Global Climate Change

Jun 2007

Expert judgements on the response of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation to climate change

Zickfeld, K Levermann, A Morgan, MG Kuhlbrodt, T Rahmstorf, S Keith, DW

CLIMATIC CHANGE 82:3-4 235-265

We present results from detailed interviews with 12 leading climate scientists about the possible effects of global climate change on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The elicitation sought to examine the range of opinions within the climatic research community about the physical processes that determine the current strength of the AMOC, its future evolution in a changing climate and the consequences of potential AMOC changes. Experts assign different relative importance to physical processes which determine the present-day strength of the AMOC as well as to forcing factors which determine its future evolution under climate change. Many processes and factors deemed important are assessed as poorly known and insufficiently represented in state-of-the-art climate models. All experts anticipate a weakening of the AMOC under scenarios of increase of greenhouse gas concentrations. Two experts expect a permanent collapse of the AMOC as the most likely response under a 4xCO(2) scenario. Assuming a global mean temperature increase in the year 2100 of 4 K, eight experts assess the probability of triggering an AMOC collapse as significantly different from zero, three of them as larger than 40%. Elicited consequences of AMOC reduction include strong changes in temperature, precipitation distribution and sea level in the North Atlantic area. It is expected that an appropriately designed research program, with emphasis on long-term observations and coupled climate modeling, would contribute to substantially reduce uncertainty about the future evolution of the AMOC.

SPotGS:discuss | /neutral/discuss | 050

Nov 2006

Soil respiration of forest ecosystems in Japan and global implications

Lee, MS Mo, WH Koizumi, H


Within terrestrial ecosystems, soil respiration is one of the largest carbon flux components. We discuss the factors controlling soil respiration, while focusing on research conducted at the Takayama Experimental Site. Soil respiration was affected by soil temperature, soil moisture, rainfall events, typhoons, and root respiration. We consider the temporal and spatial variability of soil respiration at the Takayama Experimental Site and review the variability of annual soil respiration in Japanese forests. In the 26 compiled studies, the values of annual soil respiration ranged from 203 to 1,290 g C m(-2) year(-1), with a mean value of 669 g C m(-2) year(-1) (SD = 264, CV = 40). We note the need for more studies and data synthesis for the accurate prediction of soil respiration and soil carbon dynamics in Japanese forests. Finally, several methods for measuring soil respiration rates are compared and the implications of soil respiration rates for global climate change are discussed.

melatonin:discuss | /neutral/discuss | 130

Oct 2006

Technology options for capturing CO2

Elwell, LC Grant, WS

POWER 150:8 60-+

Concerns about global climate change have prompted interest in reducing or eliminating the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of fossil fuel-fired power plants. Here’s a guide to the technology and economics of three CO2 capture methods: postcombustion separation Of CO2 from flue gas (applicable to existing plants), and oxygen-fired combustion and precombustion capture (suitable for new coal-fired capacity, including IGCC plants).

melatonin:discuss | /neutral/discuss | 158

Impact of electric power generation on green house gas emissions in Europe: Russia, Greece, Italy and views of the EU Power Plant Supply Industry - a critical analysis

Hammons, TJ


This paper analyses the impact of electric power generation on greenhouse gas emissions in Europe (including the Asian part of Russia) with reference to Russia, Greece, Italy, and views of the EU power plant supply industry in respect of the Kyoto protocol. The outlook of power industry development in Russia in the 21st century is first considered and its impact on Russia’s greenhouse gas emissions is examined. Forecasts for developing Russia’s economy and electric power industry in the first half of the 21st century are presented. Possible structural change in the electric power industry in Russia together with dynamic changes Of CO2 emissions from fuel combustion in power plants are examined. It is shown that CO2 emissions from fuel combustion at power plants in Russia may increase 2.7-fold in 50 years. Calculations depict that specific CO2 emissions in Asian Russia exceed greatly that of the European part. It then reviews measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions in Greece. Impact of the currently adopted measures and initiatives to reduce emissions in the Greek energy system for the period up to 2030 is discussed with emphasis on the current decade. Under the scenario for environmental policy, the additional commitments and measures to limit CO2 emissions towards the Kyoto targets are discussed. The paper summarizes a possible Italian strategy for implementing Kyoto protocol mechanisms to meet commitments of the EU Emission Trading Draft Directive, the Italian strategy in the Ministerial documents, and final considerations. It then examines clean power generation technology for the 21st Century and gives a perspective from the EU power plant supply industry. A perspective is presented with respect to impact of global climate change on product development strategy. Fossil fuel based power generation technologies will continue to play an important part of the energy mix in the foreseeable future and different parts of the world will require different technologies to meet their local specific requirements. It will be necessary to continue to develop clean technologies and to promote their use world-wide. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

melatonin:discuss | /neutral/discuss | 171

Dec 2005

American risk perceptions: Is climate change dangerous?

Leiserowitz, AA

RISK ANALYSIS 25:6 1433-1442

Public risk perceptions can fundamentally compel or constrain political, economic, and social action to address particular risks. Public support or opposition to climate policies (e.g., treaties, regulations, taxes, subsidies) will be greatly influenced by public perceptions of the risks and dangers posed by global climate change. This article describes results from a national study (2003) that examined the risk perceptions and connotative meanings of global warming in the American mind and found that Americans perceived climate change as a moderate risk that will predominantly impact geographically and temporally distant people and places. This research also identified several distinct interpretive communities, including naysayers and alarmists, with widely divergent perceptions of climate change risks. Thus, “dangerous” climate change is a concept contested not only among scientists and policymakers, but among the American public as well.

timlambert:discuss | /neutral/discuss | 289

Dec 2004

Will OPEC lose from the Kyoto Protocol?

Barnett, J Dessai, S Webber, M

ENERGY POLICY 32:18 2077-2088

A range of energy-economy models forecast losses to members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should the Kyoto Protocol come into force. These forecasts are a powerful influence in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations. They are used by OPEC to advance the agenda on the impacts of response measures, covertly arguing for compensation for lost oil revenues arising from implementation of the Protocol. This paper discusses this issue, and explores the key assumptions of these models and their uncertainties. Assumptions about carbon leakage, future availability of oil reserves, substitution, innovation, and capital turnover are considered. The paper suggests that losses will not affect OPEC countries equally, and that these losses are not likely to be as substantial as the models forecast. A range of policy measures are proposed to lessen any impact the Protocol may have on OPEC. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

johncross:discuss | /neutral/discuss | 479

Nov 2004

The response of two Glomus mycorrhizal fungi and a fine endophyte to elevated atmospheric CO2, soil warming and drought

Staddon, PL Gregersen, R Jakobsen, I


Plantago lanceolata plants were grown under various environmental conditions in association with the mycorrhizal fungi Glomus mosseae, G. caledonium and a fine endophyte either individually or all together. Using a time-course approach, we investigated the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 (eCO(2)), soil warming and drought and their interactions on root length colonized (RLC) by mycorrhizal fungi and extraradical mycorrhizal hyphal (EMH) production. Plant growth responded as would be expected to the environmental manipulations. There was no plant growth-independent effect of eCO(2) on mycorrhizal colonization; however, EMH production was stimulated by eCO(2), i.e. there was increased partitioning of below-ground carbon to the EMH. Soil warming directly stimulated both percent RLC by the Glomus species and EMH density; soil warming did not affect RLC by the fine endophyte. Drought decreased percent RLC for the fine endophyte, but not for the Glomus species. The presence of one mycorrhizal fungus did not affect the response of another to the environmental variables. There was no evidence of any interactive effects of the environmental variables on RLC, but there were significant environmental interactions on EMH production. In particular, the stimulatory effects of eCO(2) and soil warming on EMH density were not additive. The results are discussed in terms of the soil carbon cycle, highlighting some crucial gaps in our knowledge. If future environmental changes affect mycorrhizal fungal turnover and respiration, then this could have important implications for the terrestrial carbon cycle.

johncross:discuss | /neutral/discuss | 448