References

Abrahamson, D.E. (1989) 'Global warming the issue, impacts, responses', in The Challenge of Global Warming, edited by D.E. Abrahamson, pp. 3-34, Washington, DC Island Press. Adams, J.A.S., M.S.M. Mantovani and L.L. Lundell (1977) 'Wood versus fossil fuel as a source of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere a preliminary report', Science 196(April) 54-6. Arrhenius, S. (1896) 'On the influence of the carbonic acid in the air upon the temperature of the ground', Philosophical Magazine and...

The changing perception of science Knowledge and belief

There is a concern amongst some scientists that the type of media coverage given to issues such as global warming encourages 'bad science'. 'Bad' in this context refers to the lack of a notion of objectivity in the conduct of science. This objectivity might be seen as the conduct of repeatable experiments to test well-constructed hypotheses. For such a methodology issues of belief and subjectivity are non-scientific issues, and if such issues come to the fore the scientist is guilty of 'bad'...

Economic understanding of pollution

Pollution is often seen as an activity involving a limited number of actors or agents and so a readily identifiable source and target. In economics the case of a smoky factory being sited near a laundry or a firm polluting a stream used by a farmer are typical examples. Thus, pollution is described as an activity by one agent which imposes negative consequences on another agent who has no control over the activity harming them, termed an externality. The aim of environmental economics is then...

Subjective probabilities as concepts of value

In order to make exclusive use of the weak uncertainty model, probabilities are required in association with all future states of the world. As explained earlier, an action leading to an event may be recognised as a possible (uncertain) state but without a probability being attached to the outcome. The probability itself may be unknown or non-existent. This may be because the event of concern is unique and therefore no frequency distribution can be estimated, e.g. the melting of the West...

Climate change

The central concern in this chapter is to provide a broad background picture of the scientific, political and economic issues relating to the enhanced Greenhouse Effect. This initiates the exploration of links between different disciplinary perspectives and some common problems they share. As the structure of the book shows, understanding complex environmental problems requires moving from scientific knowledge of physical relationships and impacts to socio-economic variables in order to...

The probability of the enhanced Greenhouse Effect

If standard scientific methodology and burden of proof are followed, an intricate chain of cause effect relationships is required to establish the nature of potential outcomes from increased GHGs. A key controversy has been the extent to which anthropogenic additions to the atmospheric concentration of GHGs will raise Earth's surface temperature. Much of the debate centres upon the role of feedback mechanisms', e.g. whether or not increased temperatures will lead to greater cloud cover and so...

The response of unmanaged ecosystems

From the viewpoint of ecosystems functions, global climate can create stress which shows up in the composition of species rather than functional collapse. Species dynamics, and so biodiversity, can be more sensitive to stress than processes thus implying some notion of 'functional redundancy' Schindler, 1990 . This is similar to the concept of substitution amongst economic inputs to a production process and implies that the most vulnerable ecosystem functions are those for which few species are...