Adaptive Approaches to the CO_2 Problem
Scientists and engineers have expressed concern that continued release of CO2 into the atmosphere from the consumption of hydrocarbon fuels may cause significant, undesirable climatic change, warming the earth's atmosphere by one to four degrees in the next century. This paper is addressed to the issue of developing a way to think about this problem, and a research plan that would most effectively illuminate public policy choices related to CO2 emissions in the coming decades. Special emphasis is placed on learning more about the responsiveness to drastic changes in economic and environmental circumstances of the industries and localities that are most likely to be affected, and how this responsiveness could be improved by selected government policy actions. Attention is also given to the kinds of scientific and engineering research that would most contribute to society's ability to plan its defense against a prospective man-made change in climate.
Additional InformationRevised. Original dated to July 1980. The author is indebted to Mark Rosker for research assistance in preparing this manuscript, to J. A. Laurmann for help in understanding technical aspects of the problem, to Lester Lave f or making several useful suggestions about the way to approach the topic, and to Ralph d'Arge and Larry Ruff for helpful comments on an early draft. Published in Carbon Dioxide, Climate and Society, Vol. II, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C., 1980.
Submitted - sswp327_-_revised.pdf