Index of "Environment and Science" ||
Electronic Research Collections Index ||
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
95/03/28 FACT SHEETS: GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
[NOTE: These Fact Sheets on major elements of global climate change
issues are related to the March 28-April 7, 1995, Berlin Conference of
Parties to the Framework Agreement on Climate Change]
1. The Clinton Administration Program
2. U.S. Initiative on Joint Implementation
3. The State and Local Outreach Program
4. Rebuild America
5. The Nice 3 Program
6. Motor Challenge
7. Green Lights
8. Climate Wise
9. Climate Challenge
10. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
11. State of Knowledge
Fact Sheet 1:
The Clinton Administration Program
The Clinton Administration is strongly committed to addressing the
challenge of climate change, with cost-effective policies that are good
both for the environment and the economy. We support policies that
provide insurance to reduce the risks posed by climate change. Our
approach has three pillars. First, our policies are based on sound
science. We strongly believe that policies should be based on mainstream
science, not on the views of either skeptics or alarmists. Second, our
policies are based on partnerships with the private sector-industry and
nongovernmental organizations. This issue must be addressed in close
cooperation with all stakeholders. Finally, we believe that climate
change requires international solutions. Climate change is a global
problem and must be addressed by the global community.
The United States has based its climate change policies on the
conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has
provided an authoritative international consensus on the science of
The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) provides a major
contribution to the research base on which the IPCC assessments rely.
The USGCRP was formally established by Congress in 1990 to coordinate
the resources and research activities of a dozen federal agencies,
especially national research activities and U.S. participation in
international research activities supporting programs such as the World
Climate Research Programme, the International Geosphere-Biosphere
Programme, and the Human Dimensions Programme. The USGCRP, funded at
$1.8 billion in FY 1995, coordinates a broad agenda of research,
supporting the Mission to Planet Earth, ozone depletion studies, and
work on the human dimensions of global change. Questions that drive the
USGCRP's climate change research include:
-- What is the climate's response to increasing concentrations of
aerosols and greenhouse gases?
-- What are the impacts of climate change on society and the
-- How can society mitigate future climate change or adapt to its
Based on these questions, research focuses on observing and
documenting Earth system behavior; understanding the processes that
influence changes in the Earth system; developing and applying models to
predict climate change; evaluating the effects of climate change on
agriculture, forests, water resources, coastal regions, ecosystems, and
other natural resources; and improving the capabilities to mitigate
adverse consequences and capitalize on any beneficial opportunities that
climate change may present. Because the importance of climate change
depends largely on the physical and economic impacts on human society,
USGCRP has started to shift its funding toward increased evaluation of
the socio-economic implications of climate change.
Partnerships with the Private Sector and State Governments
To meet the challenge of climate change, we must involve business,
non-governmental organizations, and government at all levels. Nowhere
is this commitment reflected more strongly than in the President's
Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP). Released in October 1993, the CCAP
implements President Clinton's commitment to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas
emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000.
The CCAP demonstrates that government and the private sector can work
together to better the economy and the environment. It is expected to
produce energy savings of over $60 billion by the year 2000 and create
clean jobs for the future. Great strides have been made in the last
year by the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency,
the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Transportation.
Some of the highlights include:
-- By joining Climate Challenge,248 electric utilities, representing
53 percent of U.S. electric generating capacity, have committed to
undertake voluntary measures to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by
44 million metric tons by the year 2000.
-- 500 new participants have joined Green Lights since October 1993,
for a total of more than 1,650. These participants have reduced
lighting electricity consumption by an average of 47 percent, saving
approximately $90 million.
-- Climate Wise, being carried out jointly by EPA and DOE, is designed
to stimulate emission reductions across all sectors of the economy.
Several industrial companies, representing 3 percent of U.S industrial
energy use, have become partners in Climate Wise and pledged to reduce
annual emissions by 20 million tons of carbon equivalent by the year
-- Motor Challenge, which helps companies install high-efficiency motor
systems, has recruited over 200 partners, established a national
technical assistance hotline, and is soliciting sites for 25 showcase
technology demonstrations. These showcases will rapidly transfer high-
efficiency motor systems throughout industry.
-- Corporate response to WasteWise, which encourages voluntary source
reduction and recycling of business waste, has attracted over
300businesses; and more than 750 waste reduction programs are underway.
-- Twenty-nine grants have been awarded through the National Industrial
Competitiveness for Energy, Environment and Economy (NICE3) program.
These grants will improve industrial process efficiency, reduce waste,
and cut greenhouse gas emissions in several key industries.
-- Natural Gas Star, designed to reduce methane losses from gas
transmission and distribution lines, has expanded to include over 35
corporate partners representing over 55 percent of transmission company
pipeline miles, 25 percent of distribution company pipeline miles, and
35 percent of all service connections.
-- The State and Local Outreach Program awarded grants to 18 states.
The state grants are to complete greenhouse gas inventories or to
develop comprehensive mitigation strategies essential for laying the
foundation for actual reduction efforts. In total, 24 states have
participated in the program. The effort now has seven cities in the
"Green Fleets" initiative and 25 cities are targeted for the "Cities for
Climate Protection" program. To illustrate the potential for localities,
one medium-sized city has estimated that it can reduce emissions by the
greenhouse gas equivalent of 4.8 million metric tons of carbon.
-- Seven joint implementation projects are underway which encourage
renewable energy, fuel switching, energy efficiency and improved forest
management in developing and transition economy countries.
The United States is also demonstrating leadership under the
Framework Convention on Climate Change and in other international fora.
The corner-stones of the Administration's policy include:
-- Promoting actions to strengthen the international response under the
Framework Convention and working with other nations to determine
appropriate goals for the next century.
-- Encouraging a strong international process to review national
plans. The United States is also helping to build the capacity for
appropriate actions in nearly 60 developing counties and transition
economies through the U.S. Country Studies program.
-- Demonstrating the benefits of joint projects through the U.S.
Initiative on Joint Implementation, the first such program in the world.
-- Promoting the development and diffusion of beneficial technologies.
-- Supporting reform of international institutions, including working
with the multilateral development banks, to better assist their clients
to fulfill their obligations under the Convention.
-- Strengthening the newly restructured Global Environment Facility
(GEF) to effectively serve as the operating entity of the Convention's
financial mechanism. The United States is committed to ensuring the
success of the GEF in responding to the threat of climate change.
"We must take the lead in addressing the challenge of global warming,
which could make our planet and its climate less hospitable and more
hostile to human life."
President Clinton, Earth Day 1993
Recent Accomplishments of the USGCRP
-- Climate models successfully simulated the transient cooling of the
lower atmosphere in response to the sulfates emitted by the eruption of
-- The improved ability to forecast El Nino and resulting shifts in
tropical and subtropical precipitation is helping farmers in North and
South America to plan better and thereby boost yields and reduce
-- Model simulations of changes in climate over the last 100 years
match observed patterns more closely when both greenhouse gases and the
regional concentrations of sulfate aerosols are taken into account.
-- Combined satellite and surface measurements recently identified an
unexpected absorption of 25-40 watts per square meter of radiation by
the atmosphere. This new information will lead to a reanalysis of the
Earth's radiation balance and the role of clouds in climate change.
-- Observations show that since 1970, precipitation over the U.S. has
increased by about 5 percent compared with the previous 70 years,
primarily in the autumn. In addition, the frequency of extreme rainfall
events (more than 2" per day) has increased throughout much of the
-- Arctic ecosystems exposed to elevated levels of carbon dioxide only
increased productivity for a few years, suggesting that the CO2
fertilization effect may be short-lived.
Fact Sheet 2:
U.S. Initiative on Joint Implementation
The U.S. Initiative on Joint Implementation (USIJI) is a program
designed to encourage international partnerships to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions. The Program stems from Article 4(2)(a) of the Framework
Convention on Climate Change which allows Parties to meet their
obligations "jointly with other Parties." The primary purpose of the
USIJI is to help establish an empirical basis for considering approaches
to joint implementation internationally and thus help realize the
enormous potential for joint implementation to combat global warming and
to promote sustainable development.
Activities currently underway as part of USIJI include review and
processing of proposals, provision of public recognition and technical
assistance to program participants, and research on approaches to joint
One of the USIJI pilot projects in Costa Rica, the Plantas Eolicas
S.A. Wind Facility, will develop a 20 megawatt privately owned and
operated wind plant. Electricity generated by 55 U.S.- manufactured
wind turbines will displace electricity currently generated by the
burning of fossil fuel. The project will constitute the largest private
power project in Costa Rica and the first commercial-scale wind project
in Latin America.
Facts and Figures
Seven USIJI pilot projects have already been approved, representing
investments of approximately $40 million. Expected reductions of carbon
equivalents because of the pilot projects range from several thousand to
millions of metric tons.
Projects approved so far:
Costa Rica: Project to Stabilize Existing and Expand Forest Cover
Czech Republic: Fuel Switching for a District Heating System
Honduras: Rural Solar Electrification
Russia: RUSAFOR - Saratov Afforestration Project
Belize: Forest Preservation and Management
Costa Rica: Plantas Eolicas S.A. Wind Facility
Costa Rica: ECOLAND: Esquinas National Park
Eight other proposals are being further developed for the USIJI
Comments from USIJI Participants
"It is imperative that businesses reduce their emissions in a cost-
effective manner, utilizing market-based approaches wherever possible.
We are demonstrating that, through working in partnerships, we can
accomplish a great deal."
Richard A. Abdoo, Chairman and CEO
Wisconsin Electric Power Company
Partner, Belize and Czech Republic USIJI pilot projects
"This pilot project represents our effort to find innovative solutions
to a challenge that knows no territorial boundaries."
John Sawhill, President and CEO
The Nature Conservancy
Partner, Belize USIJI pilot project
"This project is a godsend for our city, because it allows us to clean
up the severe air pollution that threatens the health of our people
while contributing to the international effort to reduce greenhouse gas
Milan Kunc, Mayor, City of Decin
Partner, Czech Republic USIJI pilot project
Fact Sheet 3:
The State and Local Outreach Program
The State and Local Outreach Program forms partnerships with state and
local governments to help them build their capacities for understanding
the impacts of climate change and reducing emissions of greenhouse
gases. State and local authorities are critical players in the effort to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as they have jurisdiction over
activities that create direct and indirect impacts, including land use,
transportation, building codes, and waste management. Moreover, states
and localities account for a significant percentage of global emissions
of greenhouse gases. For example, carbon dioxide emissions from the top
10 emitting cities account for 9 percent of the nation's total.
States and localities become partners in the State and Local Outreach
Program by developing inventories of greenhouse gas emissions, forming
action plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and implementing
innovative pilot projects. By identifying and implementing cost-
effective measures and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
states and localities can simultaneously save energy, save money, foster
technology-oriented business growth that helps create jobs, and improve
quality of life by alleviating such dilemmas as traffic congestion,
shrinking landfill capacity, and air pollution.
The Outreach Program supports the energy and innovative ideas of
states and localities by providing a host of activities and services.
These include technical and financial assistance, workshops, guidance
documents, software tools, and analytic models. In addition, the
National Partners workshop will provide training and education for all
Outreach Program partners, while the Annual National Partners Conference
will recognize and highlight partners' most significant approaches and
achievements. In an educational pilot project focusing on achieving
energy efficiency through lighting equipment standards, Minnesota
estimated that it could reduce annual carbon emissions by 35,000 tons
while also saving $1.95 million per year.
In a demonstration project, Washington estimated that if 15 percent
of the Puget Sound workforce telecommuted 2 days per week, 14 million
gallons of gasoline and 7,000 tons of CO2 emissions would be saved each
The "Planet Protection Program," jointly developed by the Outreach
Program, EPA's Atlanta office and the National Hardware Retail
Association, is reaching the public through educational materials. It
also trains store employees to assist homeowners in making informed
decisions about energy-saving products.
The "Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities Project"
provides funding and technical support to low-cost, grass roots
endeavors targeted toward low-income neighborhoods and disadvantaged
communities. In 1995, eight projects will help low-income residents
improve their quality of life while simultaneously reducing their
emissions of greenhouse gases.
"Through the State and Local Outreach Program we will find a variety of
ways to reduce greenhouse gases which will also create jobs and
stimulate the Maine economy...We need to be thinking ahead, identifying
opportunities for Maine and for the country and we need to be aggressive
and innovative in capturing this green production for Maine."
State of Maine
"The State and Local Outreach Program provided the financial resources
and knowledge base from which the State of South Carolina developed an
implementation plan to mitigate the direct impact of medium- and long-
range climate variability on key natural resources. The information and
expert evaluation provided by this unique EPA program supported all our
activities at the state and local level..."
David J. Smith
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Facts and Figures
A total of 24 states are completing or have completed greenhouse gas
emissions inventories to establish a baseline and to forecast future
emissions, while another five to eight states are expected to join this
effort by mid-1995. State partners range from heavily industrialized
states to rural and agriculturally-based states to coastal states that
may be vulnerable to sea level rise.
The information gathered serves as a foundation for states to develop
and implement the comprehensive mitigation programs and policy options
that comprise State Action Plans. Eight states are working on or have
completed such plans and nine states have implemented innovative
Local authorities join the State and Local Outreach Program through
initiatives developed and coordinated by the International Council for
Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and Public Technology Inc.
(PTI). Through the Urban CO2 Reduction Program, 14 international
cities became charter members, including the U.S. cities of Portland,
Denver, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Chula Vista, as well as Dade County,
Florida. This effort gave rise to two innovative programs, "Green
Fleets" and "Cities for Climate Protection," which are engaging local
authorities in voluntary efforts that garner energy savings, budgetary
savings, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Fact Sheet 4:
Rebuild America is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program which
supports the formation of community and regional partnerships to design
and carry out commercial and multifamily building renovation programs.
By capturing existing energy efficiency opportunities, building owners
can reduce their operating costs by hundreds of millions of dollars
annually. DOE will provide Rebuild America partnerships with assistance
in program administration, staffing, development of technical plans,
building audits, evaluation, and training.
Rebuild America partnerships will design building renovation programs
tailored to the needs of the communities they serve. Partners will
conduct four activities:
-- Design Programs. Partners will design specific activities to
significantly expand the reach and effectiveness of existing programs
for energy retrofits.
-- Form Teams. Partners will obtain commitments from key leaders of
local government and industry and form teams to carry out partnership
-- Identify and Leverage Resources. Partners will identify resources
available from private and public sources, both federal and non-
-- Implement Retrofits. Partners will carry out retrofit programs that
achieve significant energy savings.
Rebuild America will help replicate the success of existing community
partnerships, such as a project started in Osage, Iowa in 1974 to reduce
The project has saved the community $1.2 million annually, customers
have been given three rate reductions over the past 18 years, and no new
generating capacity has been needed for the community.
Working together with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, DOE recently
announced the Rebuild America "Energy-Smart Challenge" to challenge U.S.
mayors to initiate energy efficiency programs for their cities.
"U.S. cities should consider [energy-efficiency] options as they work to
solve fiscal challenges. Too often, community leaders overlook energy
efficiency as a great opportunity to save money."
Mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee
President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors
Rebuild America partners will include:
-- Business Leaders
-- Trade Associations
-- Financial Institutions
-- Educational Institutions
-- Economic Development Agencies
-- Public and Private Building Managers
-- Energy and Environmental Organizations
Facts and Figures
Percentage of U.S. carbon emissions caused by building energy use: 35%
Expected reduction in carbon equivalent emissions by the year 2000: 1.6
Expected cost savings in 2000: $650 million/year
Number of organizations requesting applications toprepare investment
proposals for Rebuild America financial partnerships: 450
Fact Sheet 5:
The NICE 3 Program
The National Industrial Competitiveness through Energy, Environment,
Economics Program (NICE3) is a cost-shared grant program which is
operated jointly by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental
Protection Agency. The goals of the program are to catalyze cleaner
production and manufacturing processes, reduce wastes in industry,
conserve energy and energy-intensive feedstocks, and improve industrial
cost-competitiveness. NICE3 is implemented through a competitive
solicitation process leading to grant awards through which federal funds
must be matched. Industry applicants must submit project proposals
through a state energy, pollution prevention, or business development
office. NICE3 awardees are expected to commercialize the process or
Through the NICE3 program, Chrysler Corporation's assembly plant in
Newark, New Jersey is developing powder, coatings that could eventually
replace liquid-paint-spray systems in auto manufacturing. The plant
currently generates more than 91 tons per year of volatile organic
compounds, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide emissions. Chrysler
expects to be able to eliminate these emissions and save nearly $4
million annually from reduced materials use, energy consumption, and
AMPCO Metal Manufacturing in Ohio modified the existing method of
heating a continuously heated holding furnace, resulting in a reduction
of 89 percent in process energy and more than 50 percent in waste,
while paying back the investment in aboutone year.
AAP St. Mary's in Ohio has introduced a more efficient technology for
remelting the aluminum chips that result from machining cast aluminum
automobile wheels. Energy consumption is reduced by 50 percent, waste
is reduced by 90 percent and simple payback is about 1.5 years.
"I believe the NICE3 Program is an excellent opportunity for federal and
state agencies to form partnerships with industry which will benefit all
parties and protect the environment at the same time."
Tommy Thompson -- Governor
Facts and Figures
Number of NICE3 partners: 120
Number of NICE3 projects: 9
Average private sector investment generated by each $1 of federal
Fact Sheet 6:
Motor Challenge is a voluntary partnership program between the U.S.
Department of Energy (DOE) and industry to increase the use of energy-
efficient electric motor systems. U.S. industry spends more than $30
billion annually on energy for motor systems. Electric motors and
motor-driven equipment such as fans, pumps, blowers, and compressors
account for more than 70 percent of all electricity consumed by
industrial facilities. By working with industry, Motor Challenge can
help companies identify opportunities for motor-system improvements.
DOE's implementation of Motor Challenge involves five program elements:
-- Showcase Demonstrations prove the cost-effectiveness of high-
efficiency electric motors in various industrial applications.
-- The Information Clearinghouse serves as a one-stop shop to provide
access to a toll-free hot line for technical assistance, an electronic
bulletin board, decision tools, training materials, and information
about upcoming conferences.
-- Motor Challenge Partnership involves conferences, seminars, and
training designed to get the best information about electric motor-
driven systems into the hands of people that can use it.
-- The Electric Motor Systems Database will consist ofreliable data
concerning electric motor-driven system performance in real-world
-- Market Transformation Strategies will leverage the substantial
market position of large industrial motor system users to create a
demand pull for high-efficiency motor-system equipment.
By deploying a team to survey their facilities, 3M Corporation has
already identified opportunities to save $315,000 annually through
motor-system upgrades. Ultimately, 3M expects to save at least $8
million per year by increasing the efficiency of their motor systems
"Motor Challenged private teamwork to accomplish shared goals in the
energy and environmental arenas."
VP and Corporate Director
Environmental Health and Safety and Public Affairs
Facts and Figures
Number of Motor Challenge partners: 285
Expected reduction in carbon equivalent in the year 2000: 6 MMTCE
Fact Sheet 7:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Green Lights program
encourages the widespread use of energy-efficient lighting through
voluntary, profit-based partnerships. Lighting accounts for 20-25
percent of all electricity sold in the U.S. Green Lights partners agree
to survey 100 percent of their facilities and to upgrade 90 percent of
their square footage that can be profitably upgraded without
compromising lighting quality. EPA provides a range of support systems
to help participants obtain information on energy-efficient lighting
technology, financing options, and public recognition.
With help from Green Lights, Chevron retrofitted lighting in a
250,000 square foot record-keeping warehouse. With annual energy cost
savings of $116,000, Chevron expects a payback period of a little over
one year for the project, with an internal rate of return of 100
*Only 2.5 MMTCE are scored under the U.S. Climate Change Action Plan
because Green Lights began before 1993.
"Our retrofit program would not have gotten off the ground without the
assistance of the Green Lights staff. They have provided us with
information on utility incentives, ballast and lamp disposal methods,
and technical issues. The most vital piece of information I have
received from Green Lights is the technical data describing the
different types of lighting equipment. This tremendous resource has
given me confidence in choosing the most cost-effective technologies."
"Through JCPenney's partnership with EPA, we have implemented
responsible and cost-effective lighting conservation measures in our
stores, avoiding the discharge of many tons of pollutants into the
atmosphere. We have improved lighting quality for our customers and
associates and have reduced our overall cost of lighting."
Energy Programs Manager
JCPenney Company, Inc.
Facts and Figures
Current number of Green Lights participants: 1,676
Percent of Fortune 500 corporations participating in Green Lights: 20
Average lighting electricity reduction in completed upgrades: 47 percent
Square footage of participants committed to Green Lights: 4.3 billion
Kilowatt-hour savings per year: 1,151 million kwh
Electric bill savings per year: $89.7 million
Average internal rate of return: 30 percent
Expected reduction of carbon equivalent in the year 2000: 7.5 MMTCE*
Fact Sheet 8:
Climate Wise, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE), targets industrial sector
actions to stimulate greenhouse gas emission reductions. Through Climate
Wise, EPA and DOE provide information on the full range of U.S. Climate
Change Action Plan initiatives to help industries identify a
comprehensive set of actions that are most appropriate for them.
Climate Wise encourages comprehensive emissions reduction plans by
As part of its Climate Wise pledge, Georgia-Pacific has agreed to:
-- Establish energy management teams.
-- Improve boiler controls and operation.
-- Reduce waste wood sent to landfills.
-- Increase carbon sequestration through a forestry program.
-- Decrease transportation emissions.
As part of its Climate Wise pledge, Johnson & Johnson has agreed to:
-- Reduce equivalent energy use by 10 percent by 1996.
-- Complete commitments to Green Lights and WasteWi$e.
-- Participate in Motor Challenge.
-- Reduce nonhazardous production waste by 50 percent and hazardous
waste by 10 percent by the year 2000.
-- Conduct an annual Earth Day and Energy Awareness Week.
-- Reduce office waste by 50 percent.
Facts and Figures
Climate Wise participants include DuPont, AT&T, Quad Graphics,
Martin Marietta, Weyerhaeuser, Georgia Pacific, Johnson & Johnson and
Fetzer Vineyards. Together, these companies represent more than 3
percent of U.S. industrial energy use and a carbon-equivalent reduction
commitment of more than 20 million metric tons.* These participating
companies expect to achieve savings of more than $50 million annually
beginning in 1995.
"The Martin Marietta Corporation is pleased to add its pledge to the
principles and voluntary action initiatives of the Climate Wise program.
We feel it is both a matter of good business practice and prudent
environmental action to address sooner, rather than later, an issue of
the potential of global warming."
Charles E. Carnahan
Corporate Environment Health and Safety
Martin Marietta Corporation
Fact Sheet 9:
Climate Challenge is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) and the U.S. electric utility industry to obtain voluntary
commitments by utilities to undertake actions to reduce, avoid or
sequester greenhouse gas emissions. DOE provides technical information
and support, and public recognition to utility participants. The
Climate Challenge Options Workbook, a joint effort of the utility
industry and DOE, describes over 50 options that utilities can use to
meet their commitments²ranging from generating plant efficiency
improvements to forest management projects. Program participants report
their greenhouse gas emissions to DOE annually, along with information
describing their Climate Challenge actions and achievements.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has committed to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below its 1990 level by the
year 2000. SMUD's strategy includes the following:
-- Expanding current wind plant from 5 megawatts to 50 megawatts.
-- Planting 500,000 shade trees.
-- Expanding SMUD's electric vehicle fleet from 48 to 240 and adding
200 public electric vehicle charging stations.
-- Offering incentives for customers to buy energy-efficient lights,
geothermal ground source heat pumps, solar water heaters, and high-
efficiency air conditioners and refrigerators.
"This voluntary, flexible initiative is the best way to tap the
utility industry's technical skills and problem solving capabilities,
while obviating the need for costly command-and-control requirements."
E. Linn Draper, Jr. -- Chairman
American Electric Power
"Our Climate Challenge commitment reflects our continuing interest in
cost-effective environmental progress. It is good business for us to
address both local and global environmental problems that concern our
customers. This program is an example of how, if given a chance,
significant reductions can be achieved on a voluntary basis."
Eldon Cotton -- Assistant General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
*Some of the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions cited under this
program may result from participation in a number of U.S. Climate Change
Action Plan programs.
Facts and Figures
Current number of Climate Challenge partner utilities: 248
Expected reduction in carbon-equivalent in the year 2000: 44 MMTCE*
Fact Sheet 10:
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established by the
United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological
Organization in 1988. The purpose of the IPCC is to assess information
in the scientific and technical literature related to all significant
components of the climate-change issue. To date, the IPCC has produced:
-- A comprehensive assessment of climate change which evaluated
alterations to the chemical/physical/biological components of the
climate system, potential and alternative response measures (IPCC 1990).
This report became a standard work of reference, widely used by policy-
makers, scientists, and other experts.
-- A supplementary review of research on these same issues prepared for
the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (IPCC 1992).
-- A special report prepared for the first meeting of the Conference of
the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change covering
radiative forcing of climate, greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, and
methods for conducting national inventories of emissions of sources and
sinks of greenhouse gases and assessments of climate change impacts
Together, these reports have established a common basis of
scientific opinion that was used by governments to negotiate the
Framework Convention on Climate Change and will be used as a basis for
the discussions by the Conference of the Parties.
The IPCC operates at two over-lapping but distinct levels: as a
ormal intergovernmental body and as a scientific and technical
Government representatives meet in formal plenary sessions to approve
the topics for assessment and the overall workplans for preparation of
the reports. They also review and accept the detailed scientific and
technical reports as well as approve on a line-by-line basis the Panel's
"Summaries for Policymakers" which highlight the policy implications of
the detailed reports. It is through this inter-governmental review and
approval mechanism that the work of the IPCC is connected to
international and national policy concerns.
The detailed reports themselves are prepared through the enthusiasm and
cooperation of scientists and technical experts from around the world.
These experts come from many countries and are trained in disciplines
from atmospheric chemistry to economics. They include university
professors, researchers working in private industry and at national
aboratories, and scientific experts ffiliated with non-governmental
organizations. The teams of experts which draft the individual sections
of the reports are structured to include the broadest range of
scientific opinions possible. Because the process of assessment involves
reviewing the most up-to-date scientific information, reconciling
competing views where possible, and characterizing the disagreements
when achieving consensus is not possible, IPCC reports have identified
climate change issues which deserve the priority attention of the
research community in the future. Hundreds of experts are involved in
preparing the different chapters of the reports; literally thousands are
involved in providing expert peer review.
In 1991, after some reorganization, the IPCC committed itself to
producing a Second Assessment Report in 1995, covering the same
comprehensive range of topics covered in the 1990 report. This report is
being prepared by three working groups. Working Group I, which is co-
chaired by the United Kingdom and Brazil, is charged with assessing the
state of science with respect to the functioning of the climate system
and possible changes to it resulting from human activities. Working
Group II, co-chaired by the United States and Zimbabwe, is assessing
potential impacts, adaptation, and mitigation measures in a broad range
of ecological and socio-economic systems. Working Group III, co-chaired
by Canada and South Korea, is focusing on assessments of the economic
implications of climate change, including an evaluation of future trends
in emissions of greenhouse gases.
Fact Sheet 11:
State of Knowledge
The Earth's climate is predicted to change because human activities are
altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere. The buildup of
greenhouse gases-primarily carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and
chlorofluorocarbons-is changing the radiation balance of the planet. The
basic heat-trapping property of these greenhouse gases is essentially
undisputed. However, there is considerable scientific uncertainty about
exactly how and when the Earth's climate will respond to enhanced
greenhouse gases. The direct effects of climate change will include
changes in temperature, precipitation, soil moisture, and sea level.
Such changes could have adverse effects on ecological systems, human
health, and socio-economic sectors.
Human-induced climate change is a complex problem, which can impact
the economy and the quality of life for this and future generations.
The lag time between emission of the gases and their impact is on the
order of decades to centuries; so too is the time needed to reverse any
effects. Thus, policy decisions in the near term will have long-term
The Climate System
A natural greenhouse effect keeps the Earth 33OC warmer than it
otherwise would be. Without this, life as we know it would not be
possible. Water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other trace gases trap heat
as it is re-radiated from the Earth back to space. However, since pre-
industrial times, human activities have added to the natural greenhouse
effect by releasing additional greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The
burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) for energy is the primary
source of emissions; changing land-use patterns through agriculture and
deforestation also contribute a significant share. Current global
emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use are approximately 6 gigatons
of carbon (GtC) per year.
Future greenhouse gas emissions are sensitive to changes in
demographic, economic, technological, policy, and institutional
developments. By the year 2025, world emissions could range from 8 to
15 GtC per year. In the year 2100, world emissions are projected to
range from 5 to 36 GtC per year, depending on energy use. The U.S. and
the rest of the OECD countries currently contribute about 40 percent of
global carbon dioxide emissions. Future growth in emissions from OECD
countries is predicted to be significantly smaller than growth in
developing countries and countries with economies in transition.
Since the pre-industrial era, atmospheric concentrations of carbon
dioxide have increased by nearly 30 percent, methane concentrations have
doubled, and nitrous oxide concentrations have risen by 15 percent.
These increases result in a radiative forcing or heat-trapping of energy
equivalent to about 2.8 watts per square meter (Wm-2). A significant
fraction of warming may have been masked by increased levels of
traditional air pollutants²sulfates and carbonaceous aerosols,
particularly in the Northern Hemisphere²which reflect incoming solar
radiation and alter the reflective properties of clouds. Aerosols are
short-lived and vary regionally, hence they should not be regarded as a
simple offset to greenhouse gas forcing. Calculations suggest that the
projected increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases
alone will result in an additional radiative forcing of about 3 - 8 Wm-2
by 2100. For a given concentration of greenhouse gases, the resulting
increase in radiation can be predicted with precision; but the resulting
impact on climate is more uncertain.
Model calculations, based on plausible ranges of future emissions and
climate sensitivities, suggest that the global surface temperature could
increase an average of 0.9 - 5.0oC by 2100, with significant variation
by region. This estimate does not account for offsets from aerosols
which would somewhat lower these values. Global-average temperature
changes of this magnitude would be greater than recent natural
fluctuations and would occur at a rate significantly faster than any
observed changes in the last 10,000 years. The U.S. and high latitudes
are projected to warm more than the global average.
Model calculations also suggest that the rate of evaporation will
increase as the climate warms, leading to an increase in average global
precipitation. While precipitation at high latitudes is expected to
increase, much of the precipitation increase may fall over the oceans.
The models also suggest that the frequency of intense rainfall will
increase and there will be a marked decrease in soil moisture over some
mid-latitude continental regions during the summer.
Sea level is projected to increase by several tens of centimeters by
the end of the next century, due primarily to the thermal expansion of
the oceans and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets.
Calculations of climate change at the regional scale are
significantly less reliable than average global values, and it is
unclear whether climate will become more variable. The frequency and
intensity of extreme weather events of critical importance to ecological
systems (droughts, floods, frosts, cloudiness, the frequency of hot or
cold spells, and the intensity of associated fire and pest outbreaks)
Global mean surface temperatures have increased between 0.3 and 0.6oC
over the past century, despite marked regional, seasonal and diurnal
There is consistency between the observed global average temperature
trend over this period and model simulations of the warming due to
greenhouse gases if allowance is made for the increasing evidence of a
cooling effect due to anthropogenic aerosols and stratospheric ozone
depletion. However, the warming is also at the upper end of the range
of temperature fluctuations observed in the pre-industrial record. Thus,
the observed temperature increase could be largely due to natural
variability; alternatively, variability and other human factors could
have offset a still larger human-induced warming. The unequivocal
detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect from observations is likely
to require another decade or more of data.
The nine warmest years this century have all occurred since 1980.
1994 was the third or fourth warmest year on record, suggesting the
atmosphere has rebounded from the transient cooling of 0.5oC caused by
Mt. Pinatubo and simulated by the models.
Several ancillary pieces of evidence consistent with warming, such as
a decrease in Northern Hemisphere snow cover, a simultaneous decrease in
Arctic sea ice, continued melting of alpine glaciers, and a rise of sea
level, have also been corroborated. The frequency of extreme rainfall
events has increased throughout much of the country, suggestive of an
intensification of the hydrologic cycle.
Carbon cycle models imply that limiting atmospheric concentrations of
CO2 to any level below 750 parts per million by volume (ppmv), about
three times the pre-industrial level, would require emissions worldwide
to eventually drop below 1990 levels. The longer emissions continue to
increase, the greater reductions would eventually have to be to
stabilize concentrations at a given level.
While much is already known about the greenhouse effect, substantial
reduction of key uncertainties (detailed quantification of the timing,
magnitude and regional patterns of climate change) may require a decade
or more. Accurate predictions are limited by our knowledge of the
future emissions and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide,
aerosols and other greenhouse gases, the role of clouds and water
vapor, and the role of the oceans.
Impacts of Climate Change
Climate change poses threats to resources both domestically and
internationally. These threats could have significant, but uncertain,
socioeconomic consequences. Changes in temperature, precipitation and
sea level driven by climate change can add to existing stresses on
resources caused by other influences such as population growth, land-use
changes, and pollution.
Overall, various strategies for coping with climate change can be
identified for "intensively managed" systems (such as agriculture, water
resources, and developed coastlines). For these systems, technological
and management options exist to some extent today, although they may be
costly to implement. By comparison, fewer options can be identified for
natural systems (such as wetlands and wilderness areas).
Temperature changes of the magnitude expected from the enhanced
greenhouse effect have occurred in the past, but the previous changes
took place over centuries or millennia instead of decades. Rates of
natural migration and adaptation of species and communities appear to be
much slower than the predicted rate of climate change. As a result,
populations of many species and inhabited ranges could change as the
climate to which they are adapted effectively shifts northward or to
One of the consequences of global climate change may be increases in
the frequency of extreme weather events, particularly droughts and
floods. These events, when they do occur, can be costly. For example:
-- Damages from the Mississippi River flooding in 1993 are estimated to
range from $10 billion to $20 billion.
-- Almost $4 billion in federal payments went to farmers suffering crop
losses during the 1988 drought.
Examples of the kinds of effects that may result from climate change
-- Changes in precipitation and increased evaporation from higher
temperatures can affect water supplies and water quality, posing threats
to hydropower, irrigation, fisheries, and drinking water.
-- Floods are more likely because the frequency of intense rainfall is
predicted to increase.
-- Droughts are likely to be more severe because warmer temperatures
increase evaporation rates and thereby lead to drier soils during
periods of little or no rain.
-- Climate change would be likely to add to the stress in several U.S.
river basins such as the Great Basin, California, Missouri, Arkansas,
Texas Gulf, Rio Grande, and Lower Colorado.
-- Water scarcity in Middle Eastern and African countries is also
likely to be exacerbated by climate change.
-- A 50 cm rise in sea level by the year 2100, which is within the range
projected by the IPCC, could inundate more than 5,000 mi2 of dryland and
an additional 4000 mi2 of wetlands in the U.S. if no protective actions
-- Areas at highest risk from sea level rise are areas currently
experiencing high erosion rates and those with very low elevations, such
as parts of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
-- Internationally, many low-lying areas such as parts of the Maldives,
Egypt, and Bangladesh would be completely inundated and uninhabitable by
a similar sea level rise.
-- Climate change may shift the range of infectious diseases, with
likely increased risks of malaria and dengue in the United States.
Changing temperatures and precipitation patterns may produce new
breeding sites for pests and pathogens.
-- Climate change may increase heat-stress mortality, particularly in
the very young and very old.
-- Large areas of the eastern and central United States face moderate
to severe drying. Drought could become more frequent, particularly in
the Great Plains.
-- Changes in management practices and technological advances might
reduce or eliminate many of the potentially negative impacts ofclimate
change in the agricultural sector.
-- Agriculture production in developing countries is likely to be more
vulnerable to climate change given that they have relatively fewer
-- Climate change over the next several decades might shift the ideal
range for some North American forest species by as much as 300 miles to
the north, exceeding the ability of forests and other ecological
communities to migrate.
-- Forest damage from fire and diebacks driven by drought, insects and
disease could increase.
-- The most vulnerable forest resources are those in regions subject to
increased moisture stress, as in the dry continental interiors.
Energy and Transportation
-- Warmer temperatures will increase cooling demand but decrease
-- Changes in water availability may affect reliability of hydropower
-- Warming should lead to fewer disruptions of winter transportation,
but increased droughts and floods may interfere with water transport.
Fact Sheet 12:
WasteWi$e is a voluntary program developed by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) to assist businesses in taking cost-effective
actions to reduce solid waste. WasteWi$e partners make voluntary
commitments to achievements in waste prevention, recycling collection,
and buying or manufacturing recycled products.
The WasteWi$e program has encouraged Aetna Life and Casualty Company
to boost its previously existing recycling program. Since joining
WasteWi$e as a charter member, Aetna has set up a voluntary waste
management team to conduct an assessment of their in-house recycling
programs. Aetna has also made specific commitments to reduce waste and
Baxter International has targeted reduced packaging as one of their
WasteWi$e goals. Through packaging redesign and working with their
suppliers, Baxter is committed to reducing their use of packaging 15
percent worldwide by 1995.
Preliminary reports of 1994 achievements indicate that WasteWi$e
partners are reducing, reusing and recycling millions of pounds of
materials (e.g. paper, plastic, glass, metal, and wood). Production and
consumption of these materials generate substantial greenhouse gas
emissions. By reducing, reusing and recycling, WasteWi$e partners are
helping to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Facts and Figures
Current number of WasteWi$e partners: 376
Current number of WasteWi$e membership-based endorsers: 12
"What the WasteWi$e initiative means to Aetna is the ability to
revitalize our current waste reduction program and to generate interest
in new activities. It is with renewed vigor that we begin this venture
Aetna Life and Casualty Co.
"Implementing WasteWi$e-type projects saved us $24 million in 1993
alone, through reductions in packaging and other solid wastes. These
initiatives serve us, our customers, our shareholders, and the
William R. Blackburn
Vice President of Corporate Environmental Affairs and Chief
Baxter International, Inc.
To the top of this page