Zut alors: le Nierenberg vieux est arrivee! And you can join in the fun. I’ll be posting up scans (well, actually, photos) of the text as I go along.
Aside: I got this thanks to the wonders of the extrawub: abebooks found me a copy for a mere $6.54 (plus postage) delivered from the states in a week. Marvels will never cease. I could have tried the UL, I suppose, but that would have meant stopping on my way to work. And anyway their catalogue suggested they didn’t have it.
Lets look at what we can find out about the vexed question of who appointed Nierenberg to chair the commission. Oreskes says While the formal charge to the new committee was not formulated until June of the following year, a committee was already in place by October 1980, with Nierenberg as its chair. Which (for those who haven’t been paying attention) means that Reagan didn’t appoint him. But we knew that. All I can find in the report as to timing was the act, in June 1980, and that in response to the congressional mandate the CDAC committee was formed under Nierenbergs leadership, and that a preliminary plan was provided by January 1981 [page x].
I skimmed the preface and foreword; most people do.
Executive Summary [page 1]:
1. CO2 is important in determining the climate, and its going up. 2. Because of fossil fuels. 3. Future projections are uncertain, but doubling to 600 ppm by the 3rd quarter of the 21st century (note: caution here: baseline nowadays would be considered to be pre-industrial, ie 280 ppm; doubling would be 560. Their numbers are in line with current IPCC) 4. If deforestation is larger than we think, then we’ve got the airborne fraction wrong and future projections are wrong. 5. There are significant uncertainties in the effects of increasing CO2 on climate, notably clouds. 6. There are other non-CO2 GHG’s; adding those in produces effects significantly earlier. 7. From climate models, we conclude with considerable confidence that there would be global mean temperature increase. Less confident about regional stuff. 8. 2*CO2 leads to 1.5-4.5 oC T rise. But “The climate record of the past one hundred years and our estimates of CO2 changes over that period suggest that values in the lower half of this rage are more probable. (chapters 4, 5)”. 9. By itself, CO” inc should have benefical effects on photosynthesis and water-use efficiency. 10. +/- about balance over the next few decades. 11. 2oC warming could reduce water resources in western US. 12. 3-4 oC warming over next 100 years likely to lead to 70 cm SLR; could be more rapidly subsequently if the WAIS falls apart. 13. Large uncertainties need to be confirmed, so need good monitoring. 14. Societal change and so on. 15. In terms of env damage, CO2 problem appears intractable. In terms of change in local env, is part of many other stresses. Flexibility in response. 16. Uncertainties: balanced programme of research. 17. Even forceful policies won’t prevent all change. So need applied research [adaption]. 18. Assessment of CO2 should be iterative process – carry over of learning. 19. International research. 20. R&D recommendations: (a): some priority to non-fossil energy (b): evidence at hand doesn’t support switch from fossil now. May be necessary in future. Think carefully about cost/benefit. Near future: improve knowledge. (c) some evidence suggests you should start with non-CO2 GHGs. 21. CO2 issue interacts with many other issues; may be stimulus in other areas of research.
Thats a quick summary of the summary. If you want more, read it for yourself. Nothing desperately exciting, though I’ll look out for the lower climate sensitivity supposedly justified by chapters 4 and 5, which is interesting.