FOR THE PROTECTION
OF THE WORLD CLIMATE
AS SEEN BY A SEAMAN AND LAWYER
Paper presented by
Dr Arnd Bernaerts
Attorney-at-Law in Hamburg
at the GKSS Research Center, Geesthacht / Hamburg
on December 4, 1992
A. Introduction GO!
I. Climate as an Offshot of Meteorology GO!
II. Research into Greenhouse Gases as an Abstract Discipline GO!
III. United for Rio GO!
IV. Defining the Problem GO!
1. The Second Step - Writing the Laws GO!
2. The First Step - The Facts to be Considered GO!
V. Note GO!
B. Conditions for Planning - The
I. Statistics on Rising Temperatures GO!
II. The Distant Ocean GO!
1. Facts or Feeling GO!
2. Krakatoa - A Climatic Once-in-a-Century Event? GO!
a) State of Affairs GO!
b) The Observations after Krakatoa and the Stabilizer GO!
c) The Missed Opportunity GO!
3. The Events from the Depths GO!
a) The Event from Nothing - The Cold
Period 1940 – 1965 GO!
b) The 1940 Event from the Depths of the North Atlantic GO!
c) The Warm Period Beginning in 1920 - Result of World War I? GO!
d) The Undiscovered Chance GO!
4. Other Events - Constant Dropping
Wears the Wake? GO!
a) Poiseners of the Sea GO!
b) Eight Times a Day to the Moon – Warming in the Wake? GO!
III. CO 2 - Drastic Effect or Drastic
IV. The Phenomenon – Climate GO!
1. The Statistical Starting Point GO!
2. What is Climate - The Place of Climate in the Natural System GO!
3. Further Points of Argument - Further Question Marks GO!
a) Climatic Data from Prehistoric
b) The Chicken or the Egg - Atmospheric Winds and Ocean Currents GO!
c) The Rise in the Level of the Sea - Cause from Above or Below GO!
d) Temperature Measurements - Land and Sea GO!
e) Beginning of a Warm or Cold Age GO!
V. Result - The Situation GO!
C. Bodies of Regulations for the Climate
I. Climate Convention of Rio - A Beginning? GO!
II. Legislature – Science GO!
III. Global Climate Protection - The International Regulations GO!
1. Overview GO!
2. Comparison and Importance of the Regulatory Content GO!
a) The Regulatory Content of the
Individual Conventions GO!
b) The Relevance of the Conventions for the Climate GO!
IV. The 1982 Law of the Sea Convention -
the Climate Treaty GO!
1. Introduction - No Climate Without
the Ocean GO!
2. Basic Factors Involving the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty GO!
3. The Major Regulations Relevant for the Climate in the Individual
a) Regulations Concerning Marine
Environmental Protection GO!
b) Scientific Marine Research GO!
c) Development and Transfer of Marine Technology GO!
d) System for Settlement of Disputes GO!
4. Problem Management - Legal Claim or
D. Final Remarks GO!
A. Introduction top
For the last 150 years, two areas of
modern science have been concerned with the climate: meteorology and
the scientists who have studied questions of geophysics in its widest
sense. These include among their number the physicist Svante Arrhenius,
who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1903.
I. Climate as an Offshoot of Meteorology
In briefly summarizing the contributions
of meteorology, a notable starting point is the first article in the
Meteorologische Zeitschrift, which has been appearing since January
1884. It was a report of the volcanic eruptions of the year 1883,
particularly that of Krakatoa in the Sunda Strait, Indonesia. The first
sentence in this venerable journal was written by Director Neumayer of
the German Sea Observatory and reads: "The year 1883 will take a
remarkable place in the history of earth with respect to the effects of
the earth's interior on the crust and everything found upon it." He
meant that the effects of volcanic activity on the atmosphere
surrounding the earth would be of particular interest. Although the eruption of Krakatoa caused a
notable reduction in the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth's
surface for a number of years, meteorological interest soon dwindled
away. The weather continued just as it had before. Since the concept of
climate was defined at that time, just as today, as the average weather
over a long period of time and the Krakatoa eruption did not cause a
major disruption in the statistics, the flurry of scientific advance
which Neumayer expected failed to occur. Meteorology did not recognize
important relationships between the events.
II. Research into Greenhouse Gases as an Abstract
But the atmosphere is not the domain of
meteorologists alone. Since the beginning of the last century, a number
of natural scientists in other fields have been studying the effects of
carbon dioxide on the warming of the earth's atmosphere; as early as
1827, the effects of gases in the atmosphere were compared with
shielding by glass. In 1956,
Plass stated that a century of scientific work had been necessary to
calculate with any accuracy the amount and effect of CO 2. He expressed the opinion that a
doubling of the CO 2 concentration in the atmosphere would raise the
temperature of the air by 3.6° C. and that the evidence currently
available indicated that the concentration of CO 2 was a significant
factor for climatic changes.
Nonetheless, the theory did not begin to
find general recognition until
it was seen that a cold period which had begun in 1940 came to an end
in the middle of the 1960s and that the warmest summers of this century
was recorded since 1980, that the Sahara began to expand, that the El
Nino did not maintain its seven-year rhythm, and that beginning in 1985
North America had to suffer through drought periods. More and more
scientists saw a relationship between CO 2 emissions and the warming of
the atmosphere. But it was not until the Chief Climatologist of the
NASA, James Hansen, stated on June 23, 1988, before a US Senate
Committee that a greenhouse effect was beginning to develop and that he
was 99% certain of this, that
the greenhouse theoreticians won general recognition.
III. United for Rio top
To the great joy of environmentalists
and, for a while, to the annoyance of many meteorologists, the greenhouse effect became an
omnipresent topic for the press, a worried public, and frightened
politicians. Never before had a scientific problem risen to such
dominance in the political arena, it was said and no one wanted to be left out in the cold.
Science was united. The forum was the "Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change" (IPCC)
organized by the United Nations. In little more than a year, a report
was prepared through the co-operation of virtually all researchers who
had made important contributions to the study of climatic changes and presented to
international politics at the Second World Climate Conference in Geneva
in November 1990. In January
1992, the IPCC confirmed these results. Even the IPCC report of 1990 left little
room for scientific doubt with respect to the relevance of CO 2 for the
climate and declared that it
was no longer a question of if, but at the most of how fast the
climatic changes would occur. The conclusion of a climate convention
with the primary goal of permanently reducing the greenhouse gas
emissions was urgently required.
At the Environmental Summit in Rio de
Janeiro from 3 to 14 June, 1992,
this demand was made the centerpiece of international politics. During
the Summit itself, 154 states signed the "United Nations Framework
Agreement on Climatic Change." Nevertheless, the criticism of the
agreement could not be overlooked. But this criticism was not aimed at
the "whether" or "how", but at the fact that politicians were unable to
agree on more decisive measures to reduce greenhouse gases. The extreme stumbling blocks
in the negotiations were basically a result of the unwillingness of the
USA to agree to a binding determination of CO 2 quotas. The General
Secretary of the Conference, Maurice Strong, remarked: "The weight of
evidence is that the climate is in danger, but the Convention is not
enough. The real test is, will it soon lead to reductions in the
polluting gases that threaten the atmosphere". German Environmental Minister Klaus
Töpfer intends to act to ensure that the climate convention serves
a purpose. "Our first goal is a follow-up conference to the Climate
Convention where we can get down to serious business," he declared at
the end of the Earth Summit in Rio.
As other voices have also commented that
while the results were not optimal, at least they were a beginning and it was now only necessary
to continue steadfastly along the road chosen, it appears as if climate
history has already been written and only a determination of the amount
of the quotas for the reduction of greenhouse gases, binding on all, is
lacking for the protection of the climate. But this could prove to be a
IV. Defining the Problem top
1. The Second Step - Writing the Laws top
When a problem has been recognized, the
desire for a solution begins to grow. A plan must be made. The plan
must be feasible. The legislature, i.e., the jurist, must step into
action. Plans for the protection of the climate can be made only if the
situation is described precisely and the goals and the extent of rights
and obligations are set. This is done by means of applicable and
enforceable laws and rules. Laws and international agreements are
therefore the ultima ratio for overcoming conflicts and problems. It
was therefore only natural that scientists at the Second World Climate
Conference in Geneva in November 1990 should demand that the nations
begin immediately with negotiations on a climate convention so that
such a document could be signed in 1992. Legislative action is
therefore a substantial element of working out problems, and there is
no need to explain why an evaluation from the viewpoint of a lawyer is
2. The First Step - The Facts to be Considered top
Just as an attorney cannot properly
represent his client unless he has been given detailed - and accurate -
information about the situation, the quality of laws is as a general
rule dependent to a considerable extent on how well, how precisely, and
how extensively the legislature has been informed of the situation
being regulated. To the extent that scientific opinion represented in
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was able to show
that greenhouse gases, global warming, and climatic change are joined
to one another in a causal relationship, the Climate Convention of Rio
could serve as the foundation of a suitable instrument.
This presumes, however, that the
description of the situation was an adequate representation of the
problem. Yet there are considerable reservations about precisely this
point. After acid rain and the ozone hole were recognized some years
ago as serious environmental problems, now the weather is supposedly in
danger. As everyone has always been intensely concerned with the
weather, the general public was seriously frightened and politicians
came under heavy pressure. Within a year after James Hansen's famous
appearance before the US Congressional Committee, the government
leaders of the seven industrialized states formulated the following in
Paris in 1989: "The increasing complexity of the issues related to the
protection of the atmosphere calls for innovative solutions".
So even top levels of politics were
quickly convinced that the climate was an atmospheric phenomenon. But
this description of the situation is too vague to allow for effective
climate protection. From the "point of view of a seaman" - sailors are
known to be more concerned with the ocean than with the atmosphere over
the seas - there should first be a discussion as to whether the
situational conditions described at the Rio Conference were concrete
enough to allow a long-term resolution of the climate problem. Although
it has been more than twenty years since this writer sailed the seas as
a captain, it is perhaps still correct to apply the following remarks
of Neumayer from the year 1884 to him: "These notes should be valued
all the more highly as they come from seamen whose years of
observations at sea have accustomed them to recording and describing by
simple means natural phenomena, while, being temporarily isolated as
they are, cannot be influenced in their observations and descriptions".
This is perhaps applicable, as the basis
for his understanding of the climate from the "viewpoint of a seaman"
had already been established more than thirty years ago, when he was a
young deck officer. Even though he was no more able than others to
avoid the euphoria of the opening of the age of space exploration, he
regarded the harnessing of technical advance for research into the
oceans as the greater necessity. For long-term and reliable weather
forecasts can only be achieved on the basis of thorough knowledge of
the seas. As this is still lacking, it was possible for the London
"Times" only a few months ago to remark sarcastically in an editorial:
"Absolute unpredictability is weather's defining virtue. Perhaps that
is what our unintelligible forecasters are trying to say".
The first part of the following
discussion will be concerned with determining the factors which appear
necessary for climate protection, and then there will be a probing of
the legal components.
V. Note top
To begin with, a basic assumption must
be stated to avoid possible misunderstandings. The damage to the
environment caused by gas emissions into the atmosphere is not being
questioned. Efforts to conserve energy by reducing CO 2 are also not
protection of the climate are adequate as a basis for convincing plans
or whether further steps are required.
B. Conditions for Planning - The
I. Statistics on Rising Temperatures top
There are lies, damned lies, and then
there are statistics, complained a statesman and author. But they are unavoidable, and when one looks at the history of the
greenhouse discussion, there are so many statistics involved, not to
mention computers and simulations, that a short recital of statistical
basic values should not be lacking here.
If the sun were "turned off", the
temperature of the atmosphere would be only 28° C above absolute
zero, i.e., at -245° C. With the sun, but without water, the
average temperature on earth would be -11° C, resulting from a
daytime temperature of approximately +135° C and a nighttime
temperature of approximately -155° C.
If we continue to work with average
figures, we could get the impression that even including the global
water masses would not change much. The oceans have an average
temperature of +5° C and the atmosphere registers -17° C. If
you take the average of these, then you have -6° C, a value which
is not very far removed from the -11° C. of a waterless planet. If
we wanted to draw conclusions from this situation, it would appear
logical to argue that water has little to do with the warmth of the
earth. But in doing so, we would have allowed ourselves to be "drawn
in" by statistics. Taking another standpoint, the world looks
The starting point is that the oceans
are huge and deep. If all of the continents were leveled off to a depth
of 3000 meters and the excess dumped into the deep seas so that the
land surface all over the globe were equidistant from the center of the
earth, the globe would then be covered by an ocean with a depth of
almost 3000 meters. The ocean is a factor which cannot be ignored, even
if it has withdrawn from 1/3 of the earth's surface, exposing land.
For one of the principal elements in
climatic activity is the capacity of water to store heat. Whereas the
seaman hardly notices any difference between daytime and nighttime
temperatures, the Bedouin in the desert regularly has to contend with a
drop in temperature of 20° C. and more every night. Neither land
nor dry air are capable of maintaining a constant temperature even for
a short periods of time without replenishment of energy by the sun. The
best-known phenomenon which demonstrates this is the land wind which
begins only a few hours after sunset.
The day-to-day experience is only one of a change back and forth,
because as soon as the sun has been above the horizon for only a couple
of hours, the sea wind begins, i.e., the cooler air above the ocean is
pulled in over the land masses. But in explaining the functions of the
natural systems, the examples are helpful starting points to aid
understanding. For we can come to the conclusion that, from a climatic
point of view, the oceans dominate the land masses, here over a very
short period of time.
If the atmosphere is divided into its
two warmth or energy bearers, water and greenhouse gases (CO 2,
methane, etc.), then the atmospheric humidity has as much warmth
capacity as a two-meter layer of ocean water, the greenhouse gases as
much as a one-meter layer. In practice, this means that that a rise in
the temperature of the atmosphere of 1° C. must cause a drop of the
same amount in the upper three meters of the ocean.
The elementary dimensional relationships
of the upper 240 meters of the oceans, the atmosphere, and the land
have been worked out in impressive fashion by A. S. Monin. After
determining the mass relations of 16.4 to 1 to 0.45, he defines the
warmth capacity ratio for the oceans as 68.5, for the atmosphere as 1,
and for the land as 0.45. As
2/3 of the warmth capacity of the atmosphere is accounted for by
humidity, there is a ratio between CO 2, methane, etc., and the upper
240 meters of water of 1:215. Based on an average ocean depth of over
3600 meters, the ratio is no doubt far above 1:2000.
The current discussion does not involve
the general warmth capacity of the atmosphere, but has to do with the
importance of the increase in greenhouse gas values. In 1990, the
concentration of CO 2 was about 25% higher than around 200 years ago
(increase from 280 ppmv to 353 ppmv).
If it is a question of a statistical valuation of the warmth potential,
we could think about taking the effect of a layer of sea water of just
0.25 meter depth for comparison. But this would be an undervaluation of
even this thin layer. After all, the sun is involved in the process
every day, and "approximately 80% of the solar energy intercepted by
our planet enters the atmosphere over the oceans".
As a considerable amount of the heat
energy absorbed by the oceans is released immediately, only a few
centimeters of the ocean's upper layer can have a more long-lasting
effect on the average air temperature than other factors. But the world
of statistics will hardly be able to provide an answer as to whether
this is really the case, no matter how many comparisons we make.
Nevertheless, such comparisons indicate that the rise in temperature
known as "global warming" is not necessarily in essence an atmospheric
II. The Distant Ocean top
1. Facts or Feeling top
When in "The Encyclopedia of
Climatology" we read the sentence: "The ocean is closer to a state of
dynamic equilibrium than the atmosphere", or when GraBl/Klingholz state that the
oceans are very, very slow to react,
the question arises as to what led to these determinations. Are they
based on "feeling" or on logical conclusions based on observed
conditions? The physical dimensions of events in nature show a
different face in any case. For if a cubic meter of water contains more
energy than an air column several kilometers high, than even a
hurricane with winds of 100 km/h is not much more dynamic than an ocean
current traveling only a few km/h. If the oceans did not contribute
their part to heat stability of the atmosphere second for second, hour
for hour (land wind), etc., the world would look much different. The
quoted statements are relative and indicate that the oceans have not
been really taken into account in science's observations. The
conceptual world so strongly formed by daily experience of atmospheric
activities appears to hinder "dimensionally correct" comparisons with
the oceans. Even the
director of the German Sea Observatory quoted above, Neumayer, spoke
only of interest in the effects of the volcanic eruptions in 1883 on
the layers of air surrounding the earth. At that time and until the recent past, the
oceans were hardly taken into account in the effort to understand
atmospheric phenomena. Even in 988, James Hansen (see above) and the
representatives of the greenhouse theory relied on the analysis of
statistics to support their theses. Statistics aided by computer
simulations celebrated hitherto unknown triumphs.
By maintaining an observational
standpoint aimed at the atmosphere and ruled by statistics, it is
possible that a whole series of opportunities to describe concretely
the mechanics of the global natural system under unusual circumstances
have been allowed to slip by. This will be shown in the following
examples, as they could play an important role in describing the
climatic situation. The nature of this paper means that these can only
be theses. They must be proven in another place. At the same time, it
could be of help to localize important points which are essential if
climate research and climate protection are to be successful.
2. Krakatoa - A Climatic
Once-in-a-Century Event? top
a. State of Affairs top
In the year following the three volcanic
eruptions in 1883, including Krakatoa in August 1883, the circulation
in the atmosphere was above normal and then sank to a powerfully
developed minimum in 1888, wrote Artur Wagner in his discussion of
climatic change in 1940. At
the most, a reduction in solar energy could be caused only by fine dust
at high altitudes. Other authors also refer to Krakatoa only from the
standpoints of blockage of sunlight and as a cause of ice ages. Even today, the discussion
of large-scale volcanic eruptions is limited to the determination that
it can become colder for a short period of time. Little is left of Neumayer's euphoria of
January 1884 and - as it appears - there have hardly been any advances
for science. Did Krakatoa really leave behind so few traces, or were
they simply not recognized?
b) The Observations after Krakatoa and
the Stabilizer top
Only a short time after the main
eruption of Krakatoa on 21 August, 1883, unusual observations were
reported, which were compiled by Neumayer.
Here are some examples from ship logs
from all over the world in 1883:
3 September: During the past few
days, there has been a fairly even gray cloud mass, normally covering
the entire sky, above the cumulus and stratus clouds;
3 September: At midday hazy gray
air. Hazy, gray air condensing into dew towards evening;
5 September The air appears yellow
7 September: The atmosphere appeared
to be filled with very small, evenly distributed clouds of vapor;
13 September: The yellowish "haze"
continues in the upper atmosphere;
11 October: Fiery atmosphere,
5 November: Pale atmosphere;
10 December: The air was very clear
and looked like the air in the southern Indian Ocean during the typhoon
13 December: Lead-colored sky.
The observations were continued,
collected, evaluated, and thoroughly discussed.
Five years after the eruption of
Krakatoa, the scientific work on the events of the year 1883 were
temporarily brought to a close with the "Report of the
Krakatoa-Committee of the Royal Society." A summary by J. M. Pernter
was given in the Meteorologische Zeitschrift of 1899. The following
information is derived mainly from this summary.
The most amazing aspect of the report is
that it does not contain any mention of possible relevance of the
oceans. Furthermore, the question of a possible change in the average
temperature of the atmosphere does not appear to have interested
anyone. Although it was quickly determined that the amount of solar
energy received was clearly reduced for a period of several years,
little attention was paid to the development of the atmospheric
temperature. The blockage must have fluctuated strongly and have varied
greatly, depending on the observation point. In total, the blockage
effect has been calculated at an average of approximately 10% over a
span of four years, whereby the reduction of solar energy in the
northern hemisphere (Paris) was at its greatest in fall of 1885,
reaching a value of 25%.
It would seem that a reduction of solar
radiation of such proportions would necessarily have a long-lasting
effect on atmospheric dynamics. But supposedly the average temperatures
fell only slightly and the
atmospheric circulation in 1884 was above normal and did not sink to a
strongly developed minimum until 1888.
While the equilibrium of the world of statistics may not have been
disturbed by Krakatoa, events were rather different in the world of
nature. Without the stabilizing effects of the ocean, the effect of
Krakatoa would have been catastrophic. A person sitting in warm bath
water does not experience any discomfort when the heating is turned off
- at least, not right away. But what can possibly happen to the higher
latitudes of the earth if the warm water from the tropics is
already on the way? A cooling-off effect will only become noticeable
after the passage of some time and continued blockage of solar
radiation. The influence of the oceans was shown clearly by the fact
that coastal areas had above-average temperatures in 1884, whereas
continental land masses such as Russia, Siberia, India, China, Canada,
and the USA (inland areas far from the Atlantic) recorded very cold
winters in the years up to 1888.
This could be dismissed as coincidence
if the time until 1886 had not been accompanied by another phenomenon,
a "hazy fog", a strange, smoky cloudiness in the atmosphere which was
observed both in the tropics and in other areas. When Pernter further
states (P. 410): "The hazy fog appears as a constant companion of the
extraordinary optical phenomena in the atmosphere during the entire
period of the atmospheric-optical disturbance", then one can say -
speaking non-technically - that Nature had "popped a lid over it" and
so protected the oceans from cooling off too quickly. The lid consisted
of ingredients provided by Krakatoa and water vapor provided by the
ocean. As a result of the "dirtying" of the atmosphere by the volcano's
eruption, the atmosphere displayed characteristics and behavior
deviating from the norm. Just as fog over a water surface sharply
limits the transfer of heat energy, the hazy fog must have had a
long-lasting effect. The dispute at the time as to whether Krakatoa had
provided the water vapor (Pernter, P. 414) would most likely not have
occurred if it had been assumed that the upper ocean water level
(statistically speaking) was about 30° C. warmer than the
atmosphere. The fact that the air circulation did not reach its minimum
until 1888 is not surprising. From the middle of the 1880s on, a
"weakening" of the oceans in the higher latitudes must have become
noticeable. The less heat energy the ocean feeds into the atmosphere,
the weaker become the dynamics in the atmosphere. This also becomes
clear when it is seen that three years after Krakatoa the temperatures
above land rose more sharply than above the oceans.
c) The Missed Opportunity top
If climate is explained by average
weather conditions and the oceans are allowed only a static place in
events in Nature, as was the case until recently, then we really could
go on with our daily affairs and regard Krakatoa as no more than an
interesting event in Nature which gave us some beautifully dramatic
sunsets. But when the oceans temporarily cool off, it does not mean
that heat is withdrawn in equal measure everywhere from the upper ocean
layer. As the oceans comprise a chaotic system, it must be assumed that the tendencies in
the entire system change when an event such as the eruption of Krakatoa
takes place and has an effect over a period of three to four years. The
fact that the sum of the statistical values (particularly the global
average temperature) showed little or no deviation cannot be proof that
the event did not have any climatic quality whatsoever. An event which
reduced the solar radiation by about 10% for more than three years
cannot have failed to influence ocean currents and must have had to one
extent or another short- as well as long-term consequences. In
addition, the possibility that the oceans reacted in some way to a
three-year "cleaning of the sky" of volcanic ash, pumice dust, and
sulfuric acid, more than 2/3 of which landed in the seas, cannot be
After the eruption of Katmai in 1912,
the temperatures in the low and middle latitudes also rose by up to
1° C. and even more in the higher latitudes. Wexler of the US
Weather Bureau wrote of this in 1951: The warming in the middle and
lower latitudes can be a result of clearer air and increased transport
of solar energy, but the warming in winter in higher latitudes during
the Arctic night will have to be explained in another way. Naturally, someone should
have thought of the oceans.
3. The Events from the Depths top
a) The Event from Nothing - The Cold
Period 1940 - 1965 top
It is a fact that a notable warming
period began in 1920, which in 1940 changed into a cooling-off period
lasting until about 1965. Referring to this, the German Parliamentary
Investigative Committee (1990) had nothing more to say the following
"Unusually great temperature increases
were observed in the northern hemisphere in the 1920s and in the 1980s,
during which the average temperature rose by more than 0.1" C. per
decade. This great temperature increase is balanced by a cooling off of
the ground-level air masses of about 0.4" C. between 1940 and 1965.
These great temperature fluctuations, limited to the northern
hemisphere, are attributed to the interaction of various climate
parameters which are particularly strong over the continents and thus
in the northern hemisphere".
The reader is allowed to guess what
these “various climate parameters” might be. J. Murray Mitchell becomes
more concrete when he states: The warming of the global climate during
the 1920s and 1930s can in part be explained by the fact that during
this time there were no volcanic eruptions, whereas the cooling-off,
which reached its zenith in the 1960s, can be explained by a renewal of
volcanic activity, including the giant eruption of Agung in 1963. But Mitchell's explanations
only serve to make the confusion complete. Agung was the first large
volcanic eruption in a long time, Agung is in Indonesia, and in 1963
the cold period was almost at an end. Furthermore, the cold wave in
1940 came abruptly.
b) The 1940 Event from the Depths of the
North Atlantic top
In 1940 and the following years, the
North Atlantic, particularly from the Norwegian coast to Iceland and up
to Spitsbergen was the location of countless underwater explosions and
extensive sea battles.
Although enormous amounts of explosives were also set off under the
ocean's surface in the Pacific, the sea area south of Spitsbergen,
where the waters of the Gulf Stream flow over difficult seabed terrain
into the deep oceans, is particularly sensitive to disruptions.
Considering the significance of the Gulf
Stream for heat conditions in the northern hemisphere and in Europe in
particular, it is surprising that no one has looked into the influence
of conducting war at sea on the temperature drop beginning in 1940. The
origin of this thought is the fact that only a very thin upper layer of
the oceans displays high temperatures, while 75% of the oceans'
water is colder than +4° C.
In general, water temperatures fall as
depth increases. If warm surface water is exchanged with that from
lower water layers, the "bath water effect" of the ocean water must
decrease and the temperature of the air above it will also fall. On the
other hand, the "heat which has been pushed into the depths" must some
day come up again, and then the average measured air temperature will
raise more than expected. This could explain the greater temperature
rise since the beginning of the 1970s. For all of the heat held by the
oceans under the surface remains stored until it is transferred to the
atmosphere. In addition, there must be effects on current relationships
from extensive underwater explosions. In the North Atlantic, all the
way up to the Barents Sea, any disruption can have a particularly
c) The Warm Period Beginning in 1920 -
Result of World War I? top
In 1920, a warming period began rather
abruptly. It was found that in the peripheral regions of the northern
Atlantic (and only in the Atlantic) the water temperatures suddenly
began to rise strongly as of 1920. These conditions continued in the
waters off Greenland until about 1930 and around Iceland and north of
England until early 1940.
Optically, the change could clearly be seen in an unusually extensive
withdrawal of the ice line in the Barents Sea as of the beginning of
1920, reports Wagner. He
also points out that in the years between 1912 and 1918 there was a
median deviation from the average water surface temperature in the
Barents Sea of -0.7° C., but that in 1920 the deviation was almost
+1° C., which is a temperature increase of +1.7° C. within a
very short period of time. The following quote from Wagner is also
"Finally, Scholasky notes that the
warming of the polar area began in 1921 and writes: The branch of the
North Atlantic current which enters the Arctic Ocean at the edge of the
continental shelf near Spitsbergen, has so increased in strength that
the covering layer of cold water which at Nansen's time was 200 m thick
has not been reduced to less than 100 m".
It was not necessary to wait for the
explosive fire power of the Second Word War to create "disorder" in a
surface layer of several dozen meters. The sea war in the North
Atlantic from 1914 to 1918 was more than just a few skirmishes. As it
is clear that during this time there was a drop in the average air
temperatures, it is possible that this was caused by the water exchange
described above. In addition, the water explosions could have had such
an effect on the ocean current conditions that there was a long-term
warming of the northerly part of the North Atlantic and the Barents Sea.
d) The Undiscovered Chance top
Neither in 1940 nor in 1918/20 was there
an atmospheric occurrence which could explain the temperature
fluctuations for the periods from 1920 to 1940 and from 1940 to 1965.
There were no large volcanic eruptions. CO 2 cannot be the cause of the
cold period. But because of the suddenness of the change, the
greenhouse effect cannot be a direct cause of the warm period, either.
There is also very little place for a significant indirect involvement.
It was determined that in the Barents Sea the warm water masses
expanded from the depths to the surface, i.e., the 0° isotherm
In conclusion, it should be noted here
that the climate changes of 1920 and 1940 can be evaluated only when
the two sea wars of this century have been thoroughly investigated with
respect to their relevance for the climate.
4. Other Events - Constant Dropping
Wears the Stone top
a) Poisoners of the Sea top
This was the title of an assessment of
the condition of the oceans published by K. A. Gourlay (London 1988). But neither he nor other
scientists have considered the influence of the enormous ocean
pollution on the heat relationships or on the relationships among the
ocean currents in particular. If serious thought is given - and this is
undoubtedly necessary - to the fact that emissions into the atmosphere
can cause a shift in the natural equilibrium of nature, then the
industrial influence on the dynamics concentrated in the oceans can
most certainly not be ignored. The sinking process of the Gulf Stream
in the northeast Atlantic could in the long run also be affected by the
water from the North Sea or other ocean pollution, whether with or
without the pinch of salt which has recently become a topic of
discussion (cf. Footnote 52).
b) Eight Times a Day to the Moon -
Warming in the Wake? top
It was described above how every
exchange of water between upper and lower layers can have very sudden
effects. There are over 30,000 trading ships registered. If half of
them travel about 275 nautical miles (about 500 km) every day, then the
waters of the oceans are "churned up" to a width of about 30 meters and
a depth of about 15 meters over a path which is equal to eight times
the distance from the earth to the moon or 1500 times the distance from
the English Channel to the east coast of North America (all of these
figures rough estimates). In a year, this would mean that the Atlantic
from Iceland to the Ross latitudes is "plowed up" to a depth which
contains as much heat capacity as the entire atmosphere. As a general
rule, warm water is exchanged for cold in this process.
No one can say today what really happens
and what the effects are. There are virtually no series of measurements
which would permit acceptable conclusions about the isotherm structure
and its development over a long period of time for the upper layer of
the ocean to a depth of at least 50 meters. An on-location
investigation series (apparently one of the first) by Caspar (among
others) showed - although in
general it was no secret -that the temperature difference between the
surface and a depth of 15 meters can amount to more than 3° C. When
there is a mixing, the surface temperature can sink by 1.5" C. In the
long term, this can cause a warming of the ocean surface and thus an
increase in the air temperature.
It would be nice if it could be proven
that there is no effect on the climate resulting from the wakes of the
world's trading fleets. But it cannot be excluded, and this effect is
just as much in need of clarification as the greenhouse theory.
III. CO 2 - Drastic Effect or Drastic
Bitter and confusing, the debate over
the greenhouse sheds more heat than light. The science is shaky but
there's reason to act anyway, commented Newsweek on the start of the
Rio Conference in June 1992.
Such criticism is rare so far. Ruling opinion is convinced that the
steps taken in Rio point in the right direction.
It would be absolutely impossible for
this paper to take up a full survey of the contributions to the topic
of greenhouse gases. It also does not intend to suggest that the
greenhouse gases have nothing to do with the warming process, just as
the "butterfly effect" for events in nature's systems is not being
called into question here.
However, the dimensions of the standards
on which these statements are based should be questioned. This question
was in principle mentioned above in the section on statistics. Of
course the emissions of greenhouse gases are a more concrete danger
than the flight of millions of butterflies. Even if an otherwise dry
layer of air completely filled with greenhouse gases experiences a
temperature drop of about 20° C. per hour after sunset, the concept
itself cannot be completely negated.
Nonetheless, there are reasons, from a
climatic viewpoint, which justify doubts in granting CO 2 (as well as
other greenhouse gases) a prominent place in the efforts to protect the
climate, e.g., the following:
1. Atmospheric dynamics come about
principally from the varying concentrations of heat. While water vapor
has the characteristic of appearing in various concentrations
throughout the atmosphere, CO 2 is distributed evenly. To this extent,
it is a substance which is neutral for the climate and can appear of
importance only indirectly in connection with water vapor. The
following explanations refer to this:
a) Figuratively speaking, the
distribution of the greenhouse gases can be compared to a gridiron
whose meshes are the same distance apart. The only variable is that the
mesh network can be drawn tighter (e.g., by more CO 2) or loosened.
This net, by the way, changes only in accordance with the seasons and
never by more than 1-2/S.
b) Water vapor, on the other hand,
appears in varying concentrations. A saturated cloud has stored within
a certain volume many, many more times the amount of energy as the same
volume of the gridiron. A hurricane, which derives its energy from the
ocean, produces about 300-400 billion kw-hours daily and releases 10-20
billion tons of water.
While there is an active exchange of
water and energy between the ocean and the atmosphere, the greenhouse gridiron does not change. It would be interesting to
know how many kw-hours and how many tons of water the greenhouse
gridiron contributes to a hurricane as it develops and moves through a
region. As the development, strength, and maintenance of a whirlwind is
dependent on the condition of the ocean, such as in the case of a
hurricane, it seems unlikely that the greenhouse gridiron makes a
significant contribution - except perhaps in computer simulations - to
c) To this extent, it is difficult to
understand how any significant amounts of heat energy could be
transferred from this gridiron to the ocean, thus leading to a rise in
the level of the seas. Practical experience all shows that when the air
is dry the land heat does not come from the air, and when warm air
encounters cold water, the ocean immediately protects itself with a
protective shield which can sometimes be recognized as fog. Admittedly,
the interaction between ocean and atmosphere requires persistence if it
is to be explained plausibly. But it is a mystery how anyone can
explain with any conviction that the seas can be heated by a cloudless
sky at night, for example. The oceans will steam up any argument, just
as the bath water steams up the air in the bathroom.
2. More important than the arguments
above is the starting point for the greenhouse debate. Put simply, it
can be stated thus: Because the concentrations of the greenhouse gases
and the air temperatures are rising, there cannot be any serious doubt
that these events are somehow connected. To emphasize this, reference
is made to the rising level of the sea, the series of warm summers, and
the rising intensity of weather events.
Viewed by a seaman, the following
questions would come to mind: Are the air temperatures rising because
the ocean is warming for reasons other than those attributed to CO 2,
causing the oceans to expand, the level of the sea to rise, the
recording of warm summers, more intensive occurrence of atmospheric
activity, changes in ocean currents, a more frequent appearance of El
Nino, the expansion of desert regions, etc. Unfortunately, there is no
answer to this question. Just as one hundred years ago, the oceans are
still a climatic frontier.
Although a widespread basic awareness of
the particular role of the oceans is present, they remain for many
people, for reasons which are difficult to understand, "very far away,"
as if we were talking about the "obvious" which did not need to be
investigated in any more depth.
Even the marine biologist Rachel Carson, whose book Silent Spring is
unquestionably one of the most famous (and one of the first)
environmental books, does not award the oceans a prominent position. Only singly and hesitantly
is mention made "here and there" that more attention must be paid to
Only recently have clear warnings been
heard. John Spiesberger of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
declared in April of this year at the convention "Oceanology
International 92" in Brighton: "We won't understand global warming
until we understand exactly how important a role the oceans play".
IV. The Phenomenon - Climate top
1. The Statistical Starting Point top
It is noteworthy that in the climate
debate so far the oceans have been granted only a peripheral
importance, which leads to the question, "why". The forefathers of the
greenhouse theory, such as Svante Arrhenius and the mathematician Plass
(Footnote 3) attempted to explain the beginning of the ice ages on the
basis of rising CO 2 concentrations. They displayed no recognizable
interest in the function of the global natural system. Even the Second Climate Conference in
Geneva in 1990 and the preparatory negotiations for the Rio Conference
could not yet extract themselves from this abstract observation method.
Without the least hesitation or doubt, greenhouse experts use the
definition provided to them by meteorology: Climate is the average
weather over a long period of time.
As a result of this definition from the
last century, climate has been only of secondary interest for
meteorologists, seeing as how it meant no more than adding up all the
collected observations for a given period of time and a given region
and dividing this figure by the number of years involved.
It was not until the middle of the
1970s, when the danger to the ozone layer caused by CFCs entered the
discussion, that meteorology began to show an interest in chemical
processes in the atmosphere
and to make extensive use of computers and the new world of statistics.
The definition of climate from ancient times fit like a glove. A
rejection of a climate concept based on statistics did not take
place; in fact, it was just the opposite. The "dry-as-dust bookkeeping"
(Footnote 73) was transferred into the fascinating world of computer
model simulations. It is truly astounding how credible science has been
in accepting the evidence and proofs provided by this aid. Yet it is
nothing more than a continuation of the recording of statistical values
once used as a basis. Even if it could be assumed that all the relevant
basic data for the oceans had been entered (which is considered
impossible), the natural system is still too variable, complex, and
chaotic for computer models to be able to provide a reliable
extrapolation. The US Environment Protection Agency (US EPA) also took
this stand in a report to Congress in 1989. Speaking of the atmosphere, the former
English Prime Minister, Lady Margaret Thatcher, who was educated as a
chemist, also denied that the natural system could be researched in a
2. What is Climate - The Place of
Climate in the Natural System top
The present climate discussion is being
held because there is serious reason to fear that there could be
changes. As this would result in shifts and changes of weather
conditions, it would seem to be self-evident that climate cannot be
defined as the result of average weather conditions. Climate is a cause
of weather and not its result. This reversal of cause and effect has
blocked the way for a suitable treatment of the climate problems in the
climate discussion so far.
Even if climate is used only as the term
for the description of a current set of circumstances, this assumes
that it be defined in a way which clearly refers to its causal nature.
The definition of climate used so far does not satisfy this condition.
For one, it takes into account only a partial aspect of the global
natural system - the weather - and, for another, ignores the dimensions
of the influential and decisive forces within this system.
An event such as Krakatoa, the cooling
off in 1940, but also the generally known statistical ratio data
concerning the heat energy levels of the earth indicate that process
here under discussion can be defined as follows: Climate is the
continuation of the oceans by other means. If we wish to avoid this
paraphrase of Clausewitz' famous declaration, a reliable definition of climate is,
with some restrictions, only possible if it permits us to see
immediately that the oceans play a central role in determining climate. Climate is not itself a
cause, but arises from the condition and the effect of the oceans on
This becomes particularly clear in areas
where cold water from the deep oceans rises on the edges of continents,
such as in Chile and Namibia. Here, the waters of the ocean assure that
climate and weather are identical. A further example is the climatic
categorization of the poles. In general, these ice masses are
"deep-frozen" climate. While not wishing to question their relevance
for the daily atmospheric influence, their particular climatic
significance is based on the release of melting water (cold fresh
water) into the oceanic system.
3. Further Points of Argument - Further
Question Marks top
Other points also play a role in the
discussion of climate. Some of them should be mentioned briefly here.
a) Climatic Data from Prehistoric Times top
There is some doubt as to whether even
good research results on the climate in the past (e.g., during the ice
ages) are of any particular help for the problems of today. The
conditions of the ocean do not repeat themselves. The historical
condition of the oceans at a particular time or time period cannot be
reconstructed with an exactness which would in any way be of help for
the present-day situation. Even if this were possible, it is difficult
to see how this would be of any use in overcoming the present climatic
problems. After all, we must
look for and stop the processes by which industrial society interferes
in the "natural" course of events. The way the oceans have reacted for
centuries or even longer becomes irrelevant for this question.
b) The Chicken or the Egg - Atmospheric
Winds and Ocean Currents top
The previous discussion is dominated by
the idea that climatic changes will have an effect on the oceans. The
thought that the danger should arise and be determined by the oceans
has found little support. An
example of this line of thought can be seen in the literature, which
often indicates that the currents in the upper levels of the oceans are
caused by winds. As the last
link in a chain of causes, the winds are certainly of importance.
However, the earlier causes in the chain, i.e., the condition of the
ocean or of an ocean region are much more decisive. Based on the former
viewpoint, it would be difficult to explain the frequency of occurrence
of El Nino with changes in the atmospheric wind conditions. But this is done by stating
that the winds had changed due to a warming of the atmosphere. El Nino
is a phenomenon from the depths of the ocean, and the atmosphere
follows its direction.
c) The Rise in the Level of the Sea -
Cause from Above or Below top
The rise in the level of the seas has
played a major role in the discussion, as it underlines the dramatic
nature of the climatic changes. In addition, it is used as evidence to
prove that the greenhouse age has already started. The idea that the
oceans could be expanding because a warming not initiated by the
condition of the atmosphere is originating in them has not yet been a
topic of discussion. Written material has been concerned either with
the collection of data of water mark measurements or with determining
the expansion coefficient of water masses, dependent on the assumption
of various degrees of warming. As far as can be seen, little thought
has been given to the question of how the layers of ocean water (to a
depth of 20, 100, or 500 meters?) could be warmed by the atmosphere.
This is simply assumed.
d) Temperature measurements – Land and
Although there are interesting
differences between temperature measurement series on land and at sea
(whereby the maritime data is more than scarce as it is), a trend to
pass over these differences can be observed.
e) Beginning of a Warm or Cold Age top
In the primary occupation with the
greenhouse effect as an atmospheric problem, one aspect tends to be
given short shift: even if the global-warming theory should prove to be
justified, it will not necessarily have such a great effect. Even
slight shifts in the ocean currents,
however, can quickly bring about conditions which will remind people
that the oceans have an average temperature of only 5° C.
The examples given above are meant to
indicate that many of the contributions to the discussion and the work
done in this area show that the independence and importance of the
oceans have not been shown adequate consideration. One of the reasons
for this is presumed to be the fact that until the second half of this
century, science studied climate only as a question of statistics and
was otherwise involved, at first with "feeling" and later with the
memory capacity of computers, in improving weather forecasts. Even
after three decades of use of these aids, the results have been
mediocre, to say the very least. This will not be surprising when one
considers that the weather is dependent on the climate, the climate on
the oceans. Without extensive knowledge of the oceans and continual
up-to-date and detailed descriptions of the state of the oceans,
weather forecasts and climate predictions will continue to be dubious.
Furthermore, the basic factors for the
development of the global climate are sketched out in the seas on a
time scale ranging from a few seconds to a thousand years. Because of
its size, the ocean could be used by humankind as a kind of magnifying
glass for long-term tendencies. In addition, it is possibly the only
medium which could help us to find causes which are completely unknown
today. The establishment and exploitation of a suitable observation
network can hardly be carried out without the cooperation and work
of all states.
But this requires first of all the
understanding that the climate is the continuation of the oceans by
other means and that the latter determine how the effects of the
civilized and industrialized societies will make themselves felt in the
V. Result - The Situation top
The relevant situation for the
protection of the climate is closely associated with the oceans. This
criterion has not been worked out clearly and adequately, neither in
the past nor during the latest discussion of the climate. This has
meant failing both to concentrate on the essential nucleus of the
climate problem and to mobilize the necessary forces as well as to
direct the limited scientific and monetary resources to the central
In speaking of the relevance of the
oceans for the climate, it is not adequate that several directed ocean
research programs have also been initiated. In order to develop and successfully carry
out good practical and legal strategies, the primary need is for
recognition and understanding that climate research and climate
protection are synonymous with ocean research and ocean protection.
C. Bodies of Regulations for the Climate
I. Climate Convention of Rio - A
Through the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change,
an international agreement has for the first time taken a direct stand
on the climate. It includes 26 Articles and 2 Appendices. The agreement
can be sub-divided into the following sections:
- Description of the problems and tasks
- Obligations and tasks (Art. 4-6)
- Measures for supervision and further
development of the convention’s goals (Art. 7-13)
- Settlement of disputes (Art. 14)
- Administrative regulations (Art. 15-26)
One of the main points of dispute which
was fought out towards the end of the two-year period of negotiations
between the United States and the "rest of the world" was the question as to whether the agreement
should set binding obligations for the reduction of greenhouse gases or
only call upon the parties to work towards a reduction. The United
States carried the day. Article 4 now establishes that attempts should
be made to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions to the level of 1990 by
the year 2000. A discussion of further details of the agreement,
particularly with respect to the balance between the industrialized
countries and the developing countries, follow-up conferences,
supervisory mechanisms, or concepts such as "sustainable economic
growth and development" cannot be discussed here at all.
The question which must be in the
foreground is whether the starting point which was chosen in the form
of the Climate Convention offers adequate chance of handling the
climate problem effectively. This is described in the Convention in the
articles on principles (Art. 3) and goals (Art. 2).
Among other things, Art. 3 determines
that the parties are to protect the climate system for the benefit of
present and future generations. Furthermore, they should take
precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent, or minimize the causes
of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. These principles are therefore of a very
general nature. The legal definition of climate change according to
Article 1, No. 2 does little to clarify the situation. According to
this, climate change is to be understood as follows:
"Climate change" means a change of
climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity
that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in
addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time
Article 2, on the other hand, sets out
the actual goals of the Convention, which are then defined in Article
4, Paragraph 2 a) as concrete actions.
The ultimate objective of this
Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the
Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant
provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas
concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous
anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should
be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt
naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not
threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a
The goals as described make it more than
clear that it basically affects only the greenhouse gases. The Climate
Convention does not make direct use of the traditional definition of
climate, according to which climate is the summation of the average
weather over a long period of time, but the last half-sentence in
"climate change" reverts to the usual statistical basis.
The Convention now uses the concept
"Climate System" and defines it in Article 1, Item 3 as follows:
"Climate system" means the totality of
the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their
This definition does not make sense. To
begin with, it is amazing that the word "system" is used, as climate is
neither a thing nor does it consist of material, but is rather a result
and phenomenon of other substances. Furthermore, the description of
what is meant by climate is so all-encompassing that it would have been
enough to write: "Climate system is nature working in all of its
forms." A definition which does not serve to make a situation more
concrete is not only superfluous, but also allows everyone to interpret
it as he may please. Perhaps the only point is to serve as a basis to
allow everyone to open his area of specialization for climate research.
Even if the present definition now indicates that a change from the
traditional definition is taking place, the present description of
"climate system" (particularly when this definition is read together
with "climate changes") is a sign that the understanding of climate is
still vague. The definition points out considerable uncertainty on the
part of the legislature and the advisors. But a clear definition of the
problem is an important first step.
The evident weaknesses in the
description as defined in the Convention can hardly avoid having an
effect on the following regulations of the convention. According to
Article 7, Paragraph a (ii), for example, the Parties are to promote
the development and introduction of programs for education and
instruction about climate changes and their effects. Since the
convention mentions exclusively the greenhouse gases as the only
concrete starting point, there is reason to fear that such rules and
duties for the Parties will institutionalize a program of action which
will delay and hinder the path to effective climate protection.
Finally, it should be noted that the
Climate Convention does not show signs of having encompassed the basic
characteristics of the climate problems; the only concrete starting
point mentioned is the emissions of greenhouse gases. To this extent,
concrete (although not obligatory) measures for the avoidance of
emissions have been regulated.
As these requirements do not give the
impression that they are adequate for the organization and execution of
efficient climate protection, the following considers the problem on a
broader basis, referring to the Climate Convention of 1992.
II. Legislature - Science top
In spite of Houghton's statement that
science and politics had worked together in the climate question in a
way that had never been done before,
the question still arises as to whether this was not a false conclusion
or, if true, if it really served as a substantial help. At the end of
the day, the question will be why something worked well or went wrong
and who was responsible. One side believes, for example, that
international politics and the legal system are too poorly equipped to
offer solutions which could ensure the preservation of the earth's
climate, while others see
the need to criticize science.
In particular, the suspicion has been voiced that some scientists are
using the global-warming debate in order to gain influence in the
public debate on climate changes.
The initial position is certainly complicated. The environmental
situation is making international demands for which neither science nor
politics are prepared. It could well be that the problems will affect
the very substance of man's basis for existence. We still lack the
knowledge, international co-operation, and globally binding regulation
mechanisms necessary to evaluate, block, or even eliminate the dangers.
A particular difficulty arises from the fact that a
cost-benefit-analysis of the suitability of the continuation of
economic and industrial growth in comparison with the dangers
arising from intervention in the natural system is very difficult to
carry through. Since a return to the pre-industrial period is out of
the question (on the contrary: around three-fifths of humankind is
still waiting to become part of a modern industrial society), a
breakneck balancing act will be difficult to avoid. The principal task
for politics will be the development of an effective legislative,
executive, and judicative, which includes planning, strategies, and
In any case, this is not the task of
science. Categorically, scientists do not enjoy a more favorable
position in political decision-making processes than do other interest
groups and lobbyists. After all, only proven arguments should become
integrated into a political decision-making process. The case of the
climate, there is all too often a lack of basic knowledge. In the place
of knowledge and logic is faith,
and because the scientific argument is lacking, the desire to act
directly on the tasks of the legislative is almost understandable.
One cannot help suspecting that science
was less interested in making up for lost opportunities (such as
Krakatoa, cold change in 19AO, and rethinking the definition of
climate) than in first talking, demanding, and intervening in the
legislative process, if necessary by overstepping its own limits of
authority, all before coming up with definite information.
Hypotheses have been put forward without sufficient investigation,
and now there is a danger that their supporters will cling to them in
spite of considerable doubt on their own part. There is also talk of the "noble lie", which is justified with the
argument that if we wait until we are absolutely certain it will be too
late to avoid the changes caused by humankind. A discussion as to when lies are "noble"
or when someone is being alarmist would be out of place here. Cooperation between
science and politics can be fruitful only if each area fulfills the
tasks assigned to it conscientiously.
Through the Climate Convention of Rio,
science has in principle received exactly what it demanded from
politics at the Second World Climate Conference in Geneva in 1990. To
this extent, we now have a situation which needs clarification in two
(1) Are the problem descriptions
provided by science for the Climate Convention concrete enough to allow
for regulation? This writer does not believe so. His reasons are given
in the first part of the discussion above.
(2) There should be an attempt made to
determine if there are not already applicable international regulations
which would provide for research and protection of the climate. This
question will be discussed in the following.
III. Global Climate Protection - The
International Regulations top
1. Overview top
The emergence of a global policy for the
protection of the environment was neither desired nor predicted. The fact that the oceans
were the first object for a global environmental convention in 1954 indicates where
pacemaker functions could have been centered. But the great initiative
for global environmental conventions really began with the Environment
Conference in Stockholm in 1972. At the Conference itself, no new
international conventions were drawn up. But the "Stockholm Declaration", however, provided strong
impulses for international environmental law. Among the international
conventions which were prepared after 1972 and which could be relevant
for the climate, the following agreements are particularly noteworthy:
Convention on Long-Range Transboundary
Air Pollution of 13 November, 1979,
in effect since 16 March, 1983, and amended by protocols of 1984, 1985,
United Nations Convention on the Law of
the Sea, 1982; the
Convention is not yet in force.
At the end of 1991, ratification by nine states was still lacking in
order to reach the number of 60 states required for the entry into
force of the Convention.
Vienna Convention for the Protection of
the Ozone Layer of 22 March, 1985. The Convention has been in force
since 22 September, 1988; it has been amended by the following
- Montreal Protocol of 16 September,
1987, on materials which lead to the destruction of the ozone layer, in
effect since 1 January, 1989
- London Amendment, Amendments and
Adaptations of 29 June, 1990 to the Montreal Protocol. Climate
Convention of Rio 1992 (see above)
2. Comparison and Importance of the
Regulatory Content top
a) The Regulatory Content of the
Individual Conventions top
The Convention on Air Pollution of 1979
determines in Article 2 that humankind and the environment are to be
protected from air pollution. Air pollution is defined (Art. 1 a) as:
the direct or indirect introduction of substances or energy by persons
into the air which causes a hazard.
If the concept of pollution is
interpreted in a wide sense, then it might certainly be possible to
include the greenhouse gases. The convention was actually intended to
reduce the "visible" resultant phenomena of emissions, such as "acid
The Law of the Sea Convention of 1982
determines that the oceans as a whole are to be protected. According to
Article 192, the decisive principle reads: States have the obligation
to protect and preserve the marine environment.
The Vienna Ozone Layer Convention sets
down in Article 2 obligations serving the protection of human health
and of the environment from harmful effects which are caused by human
activity which changes or probably changes the ozone layer. In addition
to a definition of the term "ozone layer," "harmful effects" are
defined as the change of the living or non-living environment,
including climate changes, which have considerable negative effects on
human health (etc.). The modifications contained in the agreements of
Montreal and London include measures which regulate the the reduction
of certain gases which are particularly harmful to the ozone layers
The regulatory content of this
convention is basically aimed at protection of the ozone layer. The
inclusion of "climate changes" is the basis of the obligation of the
Party States to make provisions for research and systematic observation
The Climate Convention of 1992 aims at
the reduction of CO 2 and other greenhouse gases to the extent that
such gases were not included in the Montreal Protocol (Art. 4,
Just as the Air Pollution Convention of
1979 is restricted to certain substances (defined in protocols), the
only concrete regulatory goal of the Climate Convention is the
reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. To this extent, it would be
correct and adequate if the convention were named accordingly. In terms
of substantive content, the Convention for the Protection of the
Climate offers little more than the Ozone Layer Convention, namely the
promotion of research and international cooperation.
b) The Relevance of the Conventions for
the Climate top
No one can deny that each of the
Conventions has some importance for the protection of the climate. In
the case of the Climate Convention, this is solely a question as to
whether CO 2 or other greenhouse gases actually make a significant
contribution to the warming of the earth's atmosphere. At this time,
there is more presumption rather than actual proof that these gases in
any way directly or indirectly act on climatic events (e.g., dissolving
of CO 2 in the seas). The statements about the greenhouse effect above
apply equally as well to the Ozone Layer Protection Convention. In
addition, there could be indirect relevance for the climate because the
increase in ultraviolet radiation could damage organisms which have an
effect on climatic events (e.g., sea plankton could be
considered). In speaking of the Air Pollution Convention of 1979, we
can assume that there is a supportive effect. But today there are still
very narrow limits set on an exact evaluation.
Of these three conventions, however, the
Air Pollution Convention is the closest to being well enough conceived
to serve as a law for the protection of the climate. It aims to avoid
air pollution in general and so to maintain the natural condition of
the atmosphere. The Climate Convention of 1992 and the Ozone Layer
Convention of 1985 are aimed at the cause (CO 2) and the object of
protection (ozone layer), respectively.
We can also easily observe the progress
of the climate debate by looking at the three conventions of 1979,
1985, and 1992. While the concept "climate" does not appear at all in
the convention of 1979, there is mention in the 1985 convention, and
the 1992 agreement pretends to be a climate convention, although a
protocol to the Air Pollution Convention of 1979 could have achieved
the same goal in comparable quality. Even though a legislature is free
to define situations in need of regulation and to give names as he
pleases, the manner in which this has been done in this case is an
indication that co-operation between legislature and science has
managed to blur the distinction between the proper tasks of the two
disciplines, namely a presentation of the situation on the one hand and
political action on the other. After all, enacted law is one of the
most powerful manifestations of power relationships in the real world
and one of the most important grounds of decisions for social behavior. But this can be achieved
only if the outlines of the situation which is to determine social
behavior have been clearly defined beforehand. These conditions were
not met during the preparations of the Climate Convention.
Although the 1982 Law of the Sea
Convention does not contain any reference to the climate, the situation
is well defined in this convention and this alone perhaps makes it far
and away the most important legal instrument for protecting the climate
and efficiently bringing the community of states together in this task.
IV. The 1982 Law of the Sea Convention -
the Climate Treaty top
1. Introduction - No Climate without the
A legislature cannot provide required
legal regulation until the matter to be regulated has been clearly
defined. The word climate alone does not satisfy this condition;
climate change is not a specific idea if climate in general has not
previously been defined. Apparently, not even the authors and advisors
of the Climate Convention of 1992 dared to set down the traditional
definition of climate, according to which climate is the average
weather over a long period of time, in an international treaty. The
path taken instead, that of defining and using the concept of "climate
system" (Art. 1, Para, c) is little help in describing the concrete
situation. In place of this concept, it was suggested above that
climate be defined as the continuation of the oceans by other means or
to select a definition which shows where the main points or essential
causes of climatic conditions originate. These criteria do not result
from weather statistics. Instead, the climatic components in the global
natural system are to be found in the heat storage capacity of water,
its present condition (e.g., warmth, salt content, density) and the
differences in distribution around the globe. This automatically puts
the oceans at the focal point and is therefore an essential component
for defining the situation in terms relevant for the climate.
It is not necessary to determine whether
the situation as described here -protection of the oceans as protection
of the climate - will need modification in the future. Whatever other
factors may be considered as relevant causes of climate, they will not
be decisive of themselves for the climatic events, but will act
primarily on the water masses, which will then in a transformation
process “determine” how these components affect the condition and the
dynamics of the atmosphere. Further details to be taken into account in
the determining the situational description relevant for the climate
can be seen in the discussion above.
2. Basic Factors Involving the 1982 Law
of the Sea Treaty top
The 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty is the
first international agreement which has the qualities of a global
constitution. With its more than twenty regulatory areas and more than
four hundred individual statues, it includes all aspects relevant to
the oceans which were recognized as such by the Third UN Law of the Sea
Conference, which negotiated the treaty between 1973 and 1982. No one
thought of the climate. Nevertheless, the following sections stand out
- Part XII, Protection and Preservation
of the Marine Environment (Art. 192-237)
- Part XIII, Scientific Marine Research
- Part XIV, Development and Transfer of
Marine Technology (Art. 266-278)
- Part XV, Settlement of Disputes (Art.
While the sections dealing with the
marine environment and the settlement of disputes are categorically of
obligatory nature, the parts concerning research and transfer of
technology should be regarded as guidelines in the nature of a program.
In comparison with other international
treaties (with the exception of the UN Charer of 1945), the 1982 Treaty
enjoys particular significance which is not discernable from the text
alone. Due to the extent of the regulatory spectrum and its conceptual
claim as being "all-encompassing," the Party States are prevented from
choosing the regulations which they like and ignoring the parts less
pleasant for them ("pick and choose"). This gives the 1982 Treaty a
dynamic quality which other treaties dealing with this problem do not
have. Thus states which wish to make claims on the basis of the
regulations of the Convention regarding the rights of coastal states
(e.g., fishing rights, economic zone) or the right of passage for trade
ships must also accept the obligations to protect the marine
environment and assume responsibility for marine research, transfer of
technology, and - last, but not least - accept the judgments of the
The new law of the sea is noteworthy for
a fundamental change in comparison with previous international
treaties. The leading principles are not the rights of the parties, but
the obligations for marine environmental protection. If it were only a question of the
ratification of Part XII, then the chances for entry into force in the
near future would be poor indeed. The disinclination of the states to
accept the obligations of a strong international law and a loss of
their cherished sovereignty as well as modification of national state
thought would be too great. There is even less reason to suppose that
the Rio Conference could have agreed to anything even remotely
comparable. The Stockholm Environmental Conference was twenty
years past in 1992.
3. The Major Regulations Relevant for
the Climate in the Individual Sections top
The following discussion concentrates on
pointing out a number of aspects of the importance of the Law of the
Sea Treaty for the climate and does not claim to be complete or a
a) Regulations Concerning Marine
Environmental Protection top
Part XII is in itself a complete
constitution for global environmental protection within the Law of the
Sea Treaty. It is in this respect the best conceived and, in its
magnitude and coverage, the most extensive law for global environmental
protection. It includes all areas which could be held accountable for
marine pollution, the most detailed being the section affecting
trade shipping, for which a number of exact regulations are proposed.
Otherwise, the treaty limits itself to basic principles which provide a
catalogue of obligations for the party states. This covers the
following causes for marine pollution; from the land, by activities on
the sea bed, by dumping, by ships, and from or through the atmosphere.
With a certain amount of generalization,
it can be said that the obligations for the party states can be divided
into five groups:
- Guiding Principles
- Obligation to adopt and implement laws
- Special regulatory areas
- Individual regulations (particularly
If these five groups are compared with
other international treaties, the legal quality of the first three
groups is considerably higher than the usual standard. Particularly
noteworthy is the obligation of the states to adopt laws under the
guiding principle of protecting and preserving the seas. The standard
comparable to other treaties is found first at the level of the special
and individual regulations. One of these is the definition of the
"pollution of the marine environment" found in Article 1, Item 4 of the
1982 Law of the Sea Treaty. According to this definition, pollution
means, among other things, "the introduction by man, directly or
indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment,
including estuaries, which results or is likely to result in such
deleterious effects as harm to living resources and marine life,
hazards to human health, . . . and reduction of amenities". In comparison, the Ozone
Layer Conventions formulates "harmful effects" as "changes in the
living and non-living environment, including climate changes, which
have considerable harmful effects on human health or on the
composition, resistance, and productivity of ecological systems or
materials useful for humankind, whether in their natural state or
influenced by human beings." This definition is confusing and does
little to clarify the situation. In the Air Pollution Treaty, "air
pollution" means (excerpt): "the direct or indirect introduction of
substances or energy by human beings into the atmosphere which could
result in harmful effects such as a hazard to human health, damage to
living resources and ecological systems or property, and a reduction of
the amenities of the environment."
The concept of the law of the sea is
characterized by the fact that, aside from the comparable level with
other international treaties, additional guidelines and principles are
set down, such as the regulation by which the party states are
obligated to adopt, implement, and adapt to changing situations laws
and regulations in all areas affecting the environment. The following
example should make this clear.
The Montreal Protocol of 1987 is often
quoted as a sterling example of the ability of international politics
to take charge of a problem even in the absence of particular
obligations to do so. It
is relatively certain that damage to the ozone layer can also have a
major effect on marine plank ton. Art. 212 of the Law of the Sea Treaty
determines that the states shall adopt laws and regulations to prevent,
reduce, and control pollution of the marine environment, which includes
hindrance to marine activities, including fishing and other legitimate
uses of the sea, from or through the atmosphere. If not interpreted too
narrowly, the agreements reached in Montreal can be regarded as an
obligation as provided by Article 212.
The overriding principles of Art. 212,
particularly the guideline of the environment chapter already mention,
whereby the states are obligated to protect and preserve the marine
environment, means that the states cannot rely on a narrow
interpretation. Since, according to the assumptions and definition
given above, the climate is the continuation of the seas by other
means, this guideline can also be read so that it means: The states are
obligated to preserve and protect the climate.
From the viewpoint of this seaman and
lawyer, it cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to establish
first exact knowledge of the true situation. Without this knowledge,
all measures will fall short of the goal, remain helpless, and involve
the danger of even greater damage if the wrong route is taken. The
situation for the protection of the climate can be clearly, definitely,
and briefly stated with the words: "the ocean." Considering the
importance of this principle, the lawyer cannot do more than underline
this sentence several times in recognition of its significance and
point out that it is comparable with Article 1 of the Basic Law of the
Federal Republic of Germany, which provides that the dignity of a human
being is inviolable. This sentence stands at the head of several
thousand pages of laws and regulations, and every one of these is to be
interpreted and implemented in the light of the guiding principle. The
guiding principle for the protection of the marine environment cannot
yet claim to preside over thousands of pages of laws, regulations, and
standards. This could possibly have been different even today if
science had long ago recognized and expressed the fact that the climate
can be understood and protected only if the oceans are understood and
steps taken to preserve their condition.
b) Scientific Marine Research top
The concept and quality of the Law of
the Sea Treaty have not been reached anywhere else. Generalizing a
little, this body of regulations can be described as one of the most
modern and extensive.
As the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty was
being negotiated during the 1970s, the scientific community for the
most part reacted negatively because of the concept. In particular,
they feared they would be hindered in their work by the introduction of
the so-called economic zones. The coastal states are supposed to
establish economic zones reaching out as far as 200 nautical miles into
the ocean, and they can claim a right of co-determination for
research activities in this sea area. But as the sum of these coastal
areas make up only about 16% of the total surface area of the earth,
over 50% of the globe still remains under the banner of "freedom of the
seas and research." Even the other points of the expressed criticism
show little thought. Co-operation based on partnership with the coastal
states cannot help but serve to expedite the extensive and rapid
exploration of the seas.
Forcing co-operation is one of the most
valuable characteristics specific to the Law of the Sea Treaty. These
characteristics result from the status of the seas, which are in
principle "exterritorial", and their physical structure, which make
claims of possession and rule by states impossible. These factors
result in a series of consequences, providing a position for the seas
which differs fundamentally from that of the continents. The following
aspects are particularly noteworthy:
The seas are almost totally removed
from the thought of sovereignty of states;
The supervision and control of
environmental restrictions can be conducted
by anyone in front of anyone's door, (almost) without hindrance;
Co-operation between rival national
states is easier to bring about when it takes place on exterritorial"
These points would be particularly
favorable for extensive climate research.
c) Development and Transfer of Marine
This body of regulations, which was
negotiated in the 1970s under the influence of the Stockholm Conference
of 1972 and the first oil price shock, also enjoys particular
prominence. The significance of this particular regulatory concept is
especially a result of the fact that extensive marine research can be
achieved only through the efforts of all states. About two-thirds of
the community of states have their own coastlines. Requirements of
practicality and economical use of research resources demand that each
state be given the opportunity and encouraged to explore the sea area
in its immediate neighborhood and to obtain, analyze, and feed back
into a global observation system the required data and measurements.
d) System for Settlement of Disputes top
Although the regulations for the system
of dispute settlement are now ten years old, they remain the most
modern concept for dispute settlement which the community of nations has ever
developed. All of the environmental protection regulations set down in
the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty fall under the jurisdiction of this
system. This means that any state can take any other state to court for
violation of rights laid down by the Law of the Sea Treaty and demand
that the other state fulfill the appropriate obligations. Thus one
could imagine that if the Maldives or other Pacific Ocean island states
succeed in proving that CO 2 is the cause of the rise of the level of
the seas they could sue one or more industrialized states, forcing them
to reduce emissions and pay damage compensation. But there are
countless less dramatic cases imaginable which could certainly find a
way into the process of international maritime law dispute settlement.
This would give international environmental protection laws, protection
of the oceans, and protection of the climate a new dimension and new
impulses. The maritime judiciary could become one of the most important
promoters for efficient climate protection.
4. Problem Management - Legal Claim or
As described above, scientists have been
attempting since the Ozone Layer Protection Convention of 1985 to
establish the conditions for "legal authorization" to do research on
the climate by including the problems of climate change in
international treaties. They believe that they have succeeded by means
of co-operation with politics such has never existed before. But this
does not mean in any way that the matter itself has been well served by
this process. It was not
necessary for either interest groups or scientists, either legislatures
or states to set out on such a bold venture. International politics
concluded in the form of the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty a treaty which
in its range and quality would not under current conditions be at all
attainable among the members of the community of nations. The difficult
negotiations before the beginning of the Rio Conference were a prime
example. Scientists, environmental protection groups, and other
interested groups, including the states (such as those who fear they
will be swallowed up) have had the option since 1982 of fighting for
the generally binding implementation of the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty
and then demanding from the states and their political leaders the
strict implementation of the Treaty. The effects for the protection of
the climate would have been far greater than anything that has come out
of the climate discussion since 1982, when, on 10 December, 119 states
signed the Law of the Sea Treaty.
D. Final Remarks top
Problems can be viewed from one point or
another. When this writer attempted before the Rio Conference to
interest a newspaper in an article, he received a rejection letter with
the remark: "I share your skeptical evaluation of the current
environmental policy debates, even though I also believe that the
attempt to reduce CO 2 emissions will not cause any great damage. After
all, this will sooner or later lead to a reduction in the use of
energy." As acceptable as this statement is, the sense of proportions
and the relationship to the problem upon which this statement (which,
thankfully, was made) and the previous climate discussion have been
based are just as askew.
Perhaps it was "continental thinking."
Perhaps it was because the meteorologists are only interested in the
atmospheric form of the phenomenon, the weather, and consider climate
only as a sub-division for the statistical description of weather
events. Perhaps it is one of the reasons why the small group of marine
scientists, split into many different directions, believe that climate
is a part of meteorology and this science already knows what it is all
about. Finally, it could also be because a group of scientists has
presented their knowledge of the greenhouse effect, calculated in the
laboratory and at the discussion table without adequate consideration
of the practical events, to the general public and politicians as
having the highest degree of probability. One thing, with some few
exceptions, can certainly not be said about the previous climate
discussion, namely, that "oceanic thinking" has found suitable echo.
This has, as far as the seaman
"understands the world," not been the case. According to his opinion
presented above, the ocean is responsible for the climate to such an
extent that one can speak of them being synonymous. Even if other
causes not arising in the oceans could be considered as having an
influence on the climatic phenomena, it would still depend on the
reaction of the oceans as to how the climate would be affected.
If climate can be spoken of as the
continuation of the oceans by other means, then research and protection
of the climate can only be promising if we first concentrate fully on
the oceans. At the moment, we do not even have an "inventory" of the
oceans that is of the least use, much less the beginnings of an
observational system. Instead, data fragments are stored in computers
and statistics celebrate triumphs. Faith in the ability of computer
simulations to make serious statements continues unbroken. The oceans are much too
large and complex to base everything on these simulations, and the
question does not aim at normal climatic changes, but at those caused
by humankind; but this means that it will be too late by the time
statistics register the change.
In addition to the starting question as
to what we really mean when we talk about protecting the climate,
achieving such a goal requires a legal framework describing rights and
obligations and setting out the means of implementation. In the three
treaties concerning air pollution, the ozone layer, and the greenhouse
gases of 1979, 1985, 1992, science and politics co-operated in the
attempt to address concrete problems and, at the same time, to include
the problem of climate change in an international treaty. These efforts
have not led to recognizable progress in protecting the climate. Aside
from the basic doubts as to whether a close relationship between
climate change and CO 2 can even be established, alone the fact that
the term climate could not be given a substantial definition and the
problem specifically described means that the efforts have failed to
reach the target. The "average weather" has been the basis of the
climate discussion for too long. The paraphrase "climate system" now
used in the Climate Convention displays a certain amount of
helplessness and lack of understanding (or a lack of will to make
knowledge understandable) of the basis of the phenomenon known as
Some of the gaps and exaggerations in
the previous climate discussion have been justified by the claim that
immediate action is necessary. The reputation and importance of science
has risen from one conference to the next and from press article to
press article. The ocean has been given prominence only because a rise
in the ocean level was helpful as a threat. The possibility of the
oceans being the cause of the average increase in atmospheric
temperatures was not a point.
The interested circles could have
achieved much more for the protection of the climate. A strict law is
the very least that is needed. For more than ten years we have had the
chance to use an once-in-a-lifetime treaty in international law to
protect the climate. All that was needed was for someone to determine
that we cannot understand and protect the climate unless we understand
and protect the oceans. We cannot exclude the possibility that with an
adequate understanding and overview of the condition of the oceans we
would be able to see today what the climate would be doing in the next
ten, fifty, or two hundred years. What is the point of raising the
level of the dikes today if tomorrow there will be a cooling-off
brought about by the oceans and the ocean level falls? In order to
establish reliable aids for making decisions in this and dozens of
other questions affecting humankind, there is only one solution, and
that is to implement soon, fully, and efficiently an instrument such as
the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty. To this extent, neither scientists nor
other interested parties need to beg and plead with "high politics."
All that is needed is the entry into force and global implementation of
the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty, then the demand can be made that the
states fulfill their obligations arising from Article 192 and protect
and preserve the oceans.
The best possible international
instrument for the protection of the climate could be implemented
immediately. Then we can only hope that all the fears with respect to
climatic changes and climatic catastrophes were exaggerated fears. If
not, and if they turn into reality, then someone, in politics or
science, will have to explain why important years which could have
reduced, prevented, or in some other way balanced out the extent of
such a catastrophe were wasted.
Neumayer, Report on the Volcanic Eruptions of the Year 1883, Describing
Their Effects on the Atmosphere, Meteorologische Zeitschrift, January
1884, P. 1
Cf. Wexler, H., On the Effect of Volcanic Dust on Insolation and
Weather, Bulletin American Meteorological Society, Vol. 32, Jan. 1951,
Pp. 10-15 and Pp. A8-51, containing further references; Wagner, Artur,
Climatic Changes and Climatic Fluctuations, Brunswich 1940, P. 42.
For details, cf. Plass, Gilbert N., The Carbon Dioxide Theory of
Climate Change, Tellus, Vol. 8, 1956, Pp. 140-154 (140).
Ibid, P. 140. F. Möller was critical of this viewpoint ven then:
cf. On the Influence of Changes in the CO2 Concentration in Air on the
Radiation Balance of the Earth's Surface and on the Climate, Journal of
Geophysical Research, Vol. 68, 1963, Pp. 3877-3886.
Plass, op. cit., P. 154. Today, the amount of literature on the CO2
effect is overwhelming. Cf. for example Crutzen, Paul J., in:
Crutzen/Muller, The End of the Blue Planet?, Munich 1989, Pp. 25-43;
Investigative Committee of the llth German Parliament, Protection of
the Earth, Bonn, 1990, Pp.139-240; Kondragyeo, K. YA., New Assessments
of Global Climate Change, Atmosfera, 1991, Pp. 177-188; Elsom, Derek
M., Atmospheric Pollution, Oxford 1992, Pp. 132-165.
S. H. Schneider, for example, twenty years ago denied any elevance of
CO2 for the warming effect, declaring that it was "highly unlikely for
the next thousand years", cf. Rasool, S.I., & Schneider, S.H.,
Atmospheric Carbon and Aerosols, Science Vol 173, 1971, P. 138. Cf.
also the (hidden) reference in his book: Global Warming, San Francisco
1989, Footnote 17 in Chapter 4, where he backed down from his statement.
Cf. Schneider, S.H., Global Warming, San Francisco 1989, Pp. 194-195.
lbid; cf. also Henderson-Sellers, A. Greenhouse Guessing: When Should
Scientists Speak Out, Climate Change, Vol 16, 1990, Pp. 5-8 (8): "Many
of my colleagues in the meteorological community argue that no
statements should be made until we are absolutely certain!"
Houghton, John, World Climate Needs Concerted Action, in Financial
Times, 11 November, 1990. Houghton was the Chairperson of the
Scientific Committe on Climatic Change of the IPCC.
The Panel was established by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and
the World Meteorology Organisation (WMO) at the end of 1988.
Houghton, op. cit. (Footnote 9); Cf. Andresen, Steinar, The Climate
Negotiations: Lessons and Learning, International Challenges, Vol. 12,
No. 2, 1992, Pp. 34-43 (40)
Jager, J., & Ferguson, H. L. (ed), Climate Change: Science, Impacts
and Policy. Proceedings of the Second World Climate Conference,
Cambridge 1991; this is a summary of the various work groups of the
Financial Times, 28 May, 1992, with reference to: IPCC: Climate Change,
In summarizing the results of the IPCC, Bert Bolin wrote in:
Jager/Ferguson (ed), op. cit. (Footnote 12), P. 19: "There is a
greenhouse effect, that is at present being enhanced by man due to
emissions of a number of the so-called greenhouse gases" and "we can
tell with confidence that (climate change) is going to be significant
if present increse of the emissions continue without constraints." One
of the few critical voices was, for example: Thomas, David, The Cracks
in the Greenhouse Theory, Financial Times (Weekend FT) 3/4 November,
1990; furthermore, Lunde, Leiv, Science and Politics in the Greenhouse.
How Robust is the IPCC Consensus? in: International Challenge, Vol. 11,
1991, Pp. 48-57, with additional references.
Jager, J., & Ferguson, H. L. op. cit. (Footnote 12), P. 498.
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED); the
preparatory conference was called on the basis of a decision by the UN
General Assembly on 22 December, 1989; cf. Environmental Policy and
Law, Vol. 20, 1990, Pp. 72-73 and Pp. 96-97.
The negotiations for the Climate Convention were concluded after almost
18 months of work on 9 May, 1992 (The Int. Herald Tribune, 11 May,
1992, Global-Warming Pact Without Targets Gets U.S. Approval).
The Guardian, 15 June, 1992 (Brown/Rocha, World Leaders Put on
Probation by Rio Organiser)
In: Frankfurter Rundschau, 16 June, 1992 (Wille, J.: "At the Beginning
of a Necessary, Dramatic Process"); cf. also Brown, Paul, who wrote in
the Guardian (15 June, 1992): "But Europe and Japan regard the
convention as weak, ducking specific promises on carbon dioxide
reductions to accommodate the United States. Politicians have repeated
many times in the main conference, however, their hopes that this is
only the beginning of the process."
Cf. for example Int. Herald Tribune (The New York Times), 16 June,
1992: "But now, after the Earth Summit, there is a road"; Nature, "Two
successful weeks at Rio", Vol. 357, 18 June, 1992, P. 523.
Minutes (No. 45, 1st sentence) of the Summit of the Arch, 16 July,
1989, printed in: The New York Times, 17 July, 1989, P. A7; US State
Bulletin, September 1989.
op. cit. (Footnote 1) Pp. 3/4.
The Times, 29 February, 1992, (Questioning weather).
Disraeli, S. (1804-1881), Engl. Prime Minister, noted by A. Henderson-
Sellers, op. cit. (Footnote 8), P. 6.
Monin, A. S., writes in An Introduction to the Theory of Climate,
Dordrecht 1986, P. 6: "We don't have to know the individual
chronological sequence of states of the atmosphere-ocean-land system.
Rather we must have statistics of the states, that is their limits of
variation and their
frequence of occurrence over a long time
interval." Cf. the discussion of the nature of the climate in this
For the temperature effect of water, cf. Gross, M. Grant, Oceanography,
5th Edition, Englewood Cliffs, 1990, P. 87; Monin, A. S. op. cit., Pp.
Weischet, W.: Einfuhrung in die Allgemeine Klimatologie, Stuttgart
1988, P. 121, explains this as follows: "This is due to the fact that
the nightly cooling affects a layer of only 300 to 500 meters, whereas
the warming effecting during the day affects 1000 to 1500 meters."
Stanton, B. R., Ocean Circulation and Ocean-Atmosphere Exchanges,
Climate Change, Vol, 18, 1991, Pp. 175-194 (176).
Monin, A. S., op. cit. (Footnote 25), P. 2.
According to W. Weischet, op. cit. (Footnote 27), Pp. 73-74, the ratio
of the specific warmth for (still) water and air is 1:0.24, and one cm3
of water requires 10,000 times as many calories for warming as the air
near the earth.
Cf. Siegenthaler, U. & Sanhueza, E., Greenhouse Gases and Other
Climate Forcing, in: Jager/Ferguson (ed), op. cit. (Footnote 12), Pp.
Woods, J. D. quoted in: Houghton, John T. (Ed), The Global Climate,
Cambridge, 1984, P. 142.
Kraus, Eric B., in: Fairbridge, Rhodes W. (ed), The Encyclopeida of
Climatology, New York 1987, P. 639.
Gra61, Hartmut, & Klingholz, Reiner, Wir Klimamacher, Frankfurt
1990, P. 123.
Regarding this point, Keith Clayton, Scaling Environmental Problems,
Geography 1991, Pp. 2-15 (5) notes sarcastically: "We are remarkably
land-centred. Even Ron Johnston (1984) seemed to have forgotten where
oysters actually grow! Yet the oceans play a critical part in the world
climatic system and cursory reading of the national curriculum suggests
they are neglected everywhere, and almost totally neglected within the
The directors of the German Sea Observatory wrote an article, "The
Magnificent Twilight Manifestations in the Period from 26 to 30
November, 1883", when Krakatoa began to have effects on the sky in the
northern hemisphere three months after the eruption; Neumayer, op. cit.
Wagner, Artur, op. cit. (Footnote 2), Pp. 41-42.
Cf. Wexler, H., op. cit. (Footnote 2); Bradley, R. S., The Explosive
Volcanic Eruption Signal in Northern Hemisphere Continental Temperature
Records, Climatic Change, Vol. 12, 1988, Pp. 221-244.
Cf. for example Investigative Committee, op. cit. (Footnote 5), Vol. 1,
P. 220; GraBl/Klingholz, op. cit. (Footnote 34), P. 61, write: After a
powerful volcanic eruption, "it will become colder for a short period
of time, but after a couple of years the disturbance has passed. Only
in exceptional cases will there be a natural climatic catastrophe." S.
H. Schneider, op. cit. (Footnote 1), P. 45, continues (P. 91): Recent
theories linking climate and atmospheric opacity from volcanic
eruptions are not confirmed and this connection is physically better
based." Cf. also Gentilli, J-, Present-Day Volcanicity and Climate
Change, The Geological Magazine, Vol, 85, 1948, Pp. 172-175, who denies
any connection whatsoever. So does Mitchell, J. Murray Jr., in: Singer,
Fred (ed), The Changing Global Environment, 1975, Pp. 149-173 (171).
Neumayer, Report on the Volcanic Eruptions of the Year 1883 with
Respect to Their Effect on the Atmosphere, Meteorologische Zeitschrift,
1884, Pp. 49-65 (Continuation from previous issue, cf. Footnote 1).
Pernter, J. M., The Krakatoa Eruption and the Resulting Phenomena,
Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 1889, Pp. 329-339, Pp. 409-418, Pp.
447-466; cf. Neumayer, op. cit. (Footnote 1), P. 3, concerning the
beginning of work by the Committee of the Royal Society in London.
Cf. Wexler, op. cit. (Footnote 2); Pernter, op. cit. (Footnote 41), P.
Cf. Gentilli, J., op. cit. (Footnote 39). According to the graph
reproduced in "Protection of the Earth", op. cit. (Footnote 5), P. 194,
a drop in temperature cannot be determined, but is mentioned on page
220. On the corresponding graph from the IPCC report (Ja'ger &
Ferguson, op. cit. (Footnoe 12), P. 72), it is at least mentioned that
this is the avera^i" temperature measured over land.
Wagner, Artur, op. cit. (Footnote 2), P. 42.
Gentilli, J., op. cit. (Footnote 39), Pp. 173-174. The following
general observation of W. Weischet, op. cit. (Footnote 27), P. 70,
could be taken into account as an inverse conclusion, according to
which the northern hemisphere receives about 10% less shortwave energy
than the southern hemisphere. It should be considered that the southern
hemisphere came under the "blockage" 2-3 months earlier and presumably
more strongly (it was never measured) than the northern hemisphere.
Cf. Jones, P. D., Wigley, T. M. L., & Wright, P. B., Global
Temperature Variations Between 1861 and 1984, Nature Vol. 322, Pp. 430-
Cf. Curt Covey, Chaos in Ocean Heat Transport, Nature, Vol. 353, 1991,
Wexler, H., op. cit. (Footnote 2), P. 14.
Op. cit., (Footnote 5), P. 195. If this statement is compared with the
graph on page 194, then it is striking that the downward trend in the
southern hemisphere after 1940 is sharper than in the northern
hemisphere. Cf. also Folland et.al., Worldwide Main Temperature
Fluctua¬tion, Nature, Volume 310, 1984, Pp. 670-679. Folland &
Parker, in: Schlesinger, M. E. (ed), Climate-Ocean Interaction, 1990,
Mitchell, J. Murray, in: Oliver, John E., & Fairbridge, Rhodes W.
(ed), The Encyclopedia of Climatology, New York, 1987, P. 326.
ln World War I, for example, over 300,000 blockade mines and in World
War II over 800,000 mines were laid; cf. Monin, Tsymbal, Schmelev:
Damage to the World Ocean as a Result of the Armaments Race, in: Peace
to the Oceans, Newsletter 2-90, Pp. 26-29.
For details, cf. Aagaard, Knut, in: Parker, S. P. (ed), McCraw-Hill
Encyclopedia of Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, 1980, Pp. 21-26; among
other factors, Aagaard refers to the importance of the salt content.
This was recently described in expositions by Walter Frese on NDR 3 on
1 August, 1992, "Ocean Salt: Anti-Freeze for Europe"; Hamburger
Abendblatt, 22/23 August, 1992, "A Pinch of Salt Makes the Difference";
Siiddeutsche Zeitung on 27 August, 1992, "How the Oceans Determine the
Climate". Note: Salt content plays a major role everywhere in the
oceans, and changes have decisive effects. If the Strait of Gibralter,
through which the North Atlantic receives its high salt content, were
blocked up, it would not be long before the ice line would be at
Scotland. For an explanation of the "flow mechanism" between Iceland
and Greenland, cf. Whitehead, John A., Giant Ocean Cataracts,
Scientific American, Vol. 260, 1989, Pp. 36-43.
Bjerknes, J., The Recent Warming of the North Atlantic, in: Bolin, Bert
(ed), The Atmosphere and the Sea in Motion, Oxford, 1959, Pp. 65-73.
Cf. also Wagner, A., op. cit. (Footnote 2), P. 49.
Wagner, Artur, op. cit. (Footnote 2), Pp. 46-47, who also gives
information about the mediation deviation (D) of the ice line (in km)
in the East Spitzbergen Sea for late summer of the years 1898 to 1934,
e.g.: 1914 = D +120; 1915 = D +30; 1916 = D +320; 1917 = D +100; 1919 =
D -30; 1920 = D -140 (all other values through 1934 are also minus).
Wagner, Artur, op. cit. (Footnote 2).
Cf. also the references given by Wagner, Artur, op. cit. P. 49.
Cf. also GESAMP, The State of the Marine Environment, UNEP Report 115,
1990; OECD, The State of Environmnet, 1990 Pp. 71-93.
Gaspar, Phillipe, Andre, Jean-Claude, & Lefevre, Jean-Michel, The
Determination of the Latent and Sensible Heat Fluxes at the Sea Surface
Viewed as an Inverse Problem, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 95,
1990, No. C9, Pp. 16.169-16.178.
Newsweek, 1 June, 1992, P. 20.
The Int. Herald Tribune (New York Times) 16 June, 1992: "Rio Sketched
the Road" (But now, after the Earth Summit, there is a road); The
Guardian, 15 June 1992: "Rio: the Bucks Stop Here" (Rio has set up some
machinery for effective cooperation); Financial Times, 15 June, 1992:
"Many Roads from Rio" (The Rio conference was worth having - once).
The meteorologist Eward Lorenz published a paper in 1972 with the
title, "Can the Beating of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Cause a
Tornado?", cf. Palmer, Tim, in: Hall, Nissa (ed), Guide to Chaos,
London 1991, Pp. 69-81.
The possibility that the CO2 thesis could be a flop is mentionened in:
Newsweek, 1 June 1992, Pp. 23-24. Excerpt: "Greenhouse theory suggests
that warming should peak on summer afternoons: the worst time, Karl's
(of the US National Climatic Data Center) work suggests nature is doing
Gross, M. Grant, op. cit. (Footnote 26), P. 119.
A series of other factors which cannot be discussed here, such as
plankton, salt, dust, and particularly the direct effect of the solar
radiation on the oceans, also play a significant role in this process.
For example, it was mentioned in Umwelt-Weltweit, Report of the UNEP
1972-1982 (Volume 88A - Discussions of Environmental Development), P.
53, that the CO2 effect appeared to act differently than had been
Cf. Jager & Ferguson, op. cit. (Footnote 12), there: Bollin P.
19;Houghton, P. 23; others as well. Cf. also GraBl/Klingholz, op. cit.
(Footnote 34), P. 14.
This phenomenon could be labeled "continental thinking", which would
include the weather. To this extent, meteorology has to this day not
been able to free itself from a "land consciousness."
As an example of this attitude, cf. the following sentence from the
report of the UNEP 1972-1982, op. cit. (Footnote 65), P. 25: These
experiments indicate that regions in the ocean may have a significant
influence on atmospheric processes over the land - with a temporal
shift of 4-8 months. Cf. also, for example, the speech held by the
great man of the sea, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, before the UNCED Full
Assembly on 4 June, 1992, in: Die Weltwoche, 11 June 1992, P. 63.
E, g., Svendrup, H. U., Oceanography for Meteorologists, New York 1941,
P. 223 (. . . one cannot deal independently with the atmosphere … but
in meteorology it has not yet received sufficient attention). Namias,
J., The Sea as a Primary Generator of Short-Term Climatic Anomalies,
in: WHO Proceeding on Long-Term Climatic Fluctuation, Norwich 1975, Pp.
331- 333. Clay ton, Keith, op. cit. (Footnote 35).
The Guardian, 10 April 1992, Booth, Nicholas, How to Tune into an Ocean
In this respect, and as an indication of the attitude of meteorology,
cf. Lamb, H. H., The New Look of Climatology, Nature, Vol. 223, 1969,
Pp. 1209-1215: "But for the physical scientist it has seldom had a
depth of interest to rival dynamical meteorology and the great strides
forward in the development of numerical forecasting."
Cf. Houghton, J. T. et al. (ed.), Climate Change, The IPCC Scientific
Assessment, Cambridge, 1990, P. XXXV; Harries, John E., Earthwatch -The
Climate from Space, Chichester UK, 1990, P. 30.
Cf. Lamb, H. H., The New Look of Climatology, Nature, Vol. 223, 1969,
Pp. 1209-1215 (1209): "Climatology was generally regarded as the mere
dry-as-dust bookkeeping end of meteorology."
GraBl/Klingholz, op. cit. (Footnote 34), P. 90. One of the "greats"
(and until recently a critic of the greenhouse debate, cf. Andresen,
op. cit. (Footnote 11)) in climatology, S. Fred Singer, came up with
the following statement about climatic influences in 1975: "The four
most important factors are: chemical changes in the atmosphere,
particularly changes in CO2 concentration; presence of dust and
aerosols; changes in surface albedo, including ice and snow, clearing
of land, inundation, building of cities, etc.; and generation of heat."
In: Singer, S. Fred (ed), Introduction, op. cit. (Footnote 39), P. A.
Smith, Joel B., & Tirpatz, Dennis (ed), The Potential Effects of
Global Climate Change on the US, US EPA, December 1989, P. 21: "In many
sciences ... it is possible to investigate new phenomena by doing
research in a laboratory. In the field of climate, this is not
possible. One cannot bring the earth's climate system into a room and
perform experiments on it, changing the trace gas concentration or
increasing the amount of sea ice. It is not possible to have two
identical systems, one a control that is changed to compare the
From a speech held on the occasion of a "Royal Society Dinner" on 27
September, 1988: "In studying the system of the earth and its
atmosphere we have no laboratory in which to carry out controlled
experiments. We have to rely on observations of natural systems." Cf.
also Lamb, H. H. op. cit. (Footnote 73), P. 1215: "The computer models
of atmospheric behaviour in other climatic eras may be too unrealistic,
and may therefore proceed too far and too fast on faulty basic
assumptions." Cf. also Peterman, R. M., et al, Statistical Power
Analysis and the Precautionary Principle, Marine Pollution Bulletin,
Vol. 24, 1992, Pp. 231-234, with further references; Ghan, Steven, J.,
The GCM Credibility Gap, Climate Change, Vol. 21, 1992, Pp. 345-346,
according to which there are great discrepancies between the results of
various GCMs regarding the greenhouse warming.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."
Klaus Hasselmann, Ocean Circulation and Climate Change,
Max-Planck-Institut fur Meteorologie, Report No. 58, 1990, P. 3,
stated: "The dynamics of climate is strongly controlled by the ocean",
but only allowed for an influence of the oceans over a period of time
of a few weeks up to a thousand years. In Report No. 57, P. 8, a
reaction time of hundreds up to a thousand years for the oceans is
allowed for "external forcing." It is not made clear that the oceans
"bear", second by second, the climate or the air temperature. Eric B.
Kraus in: Oliver & Fairbridge (ed), op. cit. (Footnote 33), P. 639,
also declares: "The ocean is truly the flywheel of the climate system,"
but then hedges. But the trend - albeit very slowly -is moving towards
the oceans, cf. Stephens & Slingo, who recently wrote: "With the
oceans assuming an ever greater significance in our understanding of
climate, . . . ." in: Nature, Vol. 358, 1992, P. 369.
when it cannot be seen that logical conclusions have been drawn. There
is a lot of discussion about the fact that climatic changes could be
caused by changes in currents in the deep ocean (cf. Watts &
Morantine, Rapid Climatic Change and the Deep Ocean, Climatic Change,
1990, Pp. 83-97), but no one pays any attention to the possible effects
of polluted river water and many other factors on the ocean currents.
Cf. Bernal, Patricio, Consequences of Global Change for Oceans, Climate
Change, Vol. 19, 1991, Pp. 339-359.
Cf. Wunsch, Carl, in: Houghton (ed), The Global Climate, op. cit.
(Footnote 32), P. 195; Kennish, Michael J., Marine Science, Bocan
Raton, 1989, P. 4: "Ocean circulation is inextricably linked to the
atmosphere. Winds and density differences which drive circulation in
the ocean largely depend on atmospheric conditions."
Cf. for El Nino: Glantz & Katz & Krenz, Climate Crisis,
Cf. GESAMP, op. cit. (Footnote 57), P. 80; van der Veen, C. J.,
Projecting Future Sea Level, Surveys in Geophysics, 1988, Pp. 389-418;
Wigley, T. M. L., & Raper, S. C. B., Implications for Climate and
Sea Level of Revised IPCC Emissions Scenarios, NATURE, Vol. 357, 28
May, 1992, Pp. 293-300; the same in NATURE, Vol. 330, 1987, Pp.
127-131; Smith & Tripatz, op. cit. (Footnote 75), Pp. 123-147;
Oerlemans, J., A Projection of Future Sea Levels, Climatic Change, Vol.
15, 1989, Pp. 151-174 (165); Elsom, Derek M., Atmospheric Pollution,
Oxford 1992, P. 162. For heat from the deep ocean, cf. the report of
Roemmich & Wunsch, Apparent Changes in the Climatic State of the
Deep North Atlantic Ocean, Nature, Vol. 307, 1984, Pp. 447-450; Rind
& Chandler, Increased Ocean Heat Transports and Warmer Climate,
Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 96, D4, 1991, Pp. 7437-7461; cf.
also quote of Wagner (Footnote 55 above).
Cf. Jones, E. D., Wigley, D. M. L., & Wright, P. B., op. cit.
(Footnote 46), Wright, Peter B., Problems in the Use of Ship
Observation for the Study of Interdecadal Climate Changes, Monthly
Weather Review, Vol. 114, 1986, Pp. 1029-1034; Folland & Parker,
op. cit. (Footnote 49). Cf. also GraBl/Klingholz, op. cit. (Footnote
34), P. 196. Folland & Parker, for example, simply ignored all
daytime measurements. A seaman would have outraged. Jones/Wigley/Wright
continued to "adjust" the sea temperatures to land temperatures until
they could identify the statistical final result as a long-term warming
trend. The fact that the small differences might have been much more
interesting was apparently not even considered. Under these
circumstances, it is hardly surprising that the presence of great
eddies in the oceans was not discovered until the end of the 1960s, cf.
Robinson, Allan R., Eddies in Marine Science, Berlin 1983, Pp. 3-4, P.
10, and Spill, A. E., Pp. 442-445.
Cf. the following dialogue before the Select Committee on Science and
Technology of the House of Lords concerning the Greenhouse Effect, 6th
Report, 1989 (HL Paper 88-11), P. 11: Question from Lord Clitheroe to
Prof Wigley: "40 years ago, my tutor . . . was saying at that time the
probability was that the raising of the temperature would alter the
currents of the sea to make the climate of England colder rather than
hotter"; the following reply from Prof. Wigley: "I think that is
extremely unlikely, although that is one of those stories that still
crops up every now and again in the press" (referring to the work of
Wigley, cf. Footnotes 46 and 83).
This opinion is not exactly widespread. Many scientists seem to have no
problem admitting that weather computers cannot provide reliable
forecasts for more than a week in advance, as a tiny mistake in the
current weather observations can quickly grow to a large one.
Nevertheless, they are convinced that the climate computers produce
usable results. Cf. Schnei-der, S. H., op. cit. (Footnote 7), P. 93;
GraBl/Klingholz, op. cit. (Footnote 34), Pp. 21-22 and Pp. 118-123. Cf.
also Footnotes 75 and 76.
Cf. Baker, D. J., World Ocean Circulation and Climate Change: Research
Programmes and a Global Observation System, Pp. 195-202, in: Ja'ger
& Ferguson, op. cit. (Footnote 12).
This paper is based on an Advance Copy of the Intergovernmental
Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change, 15
May, 1992 (A(Ac.237/18(Part Il/Add.l).
Vidal, John, America versus the World, The Guardian, 30 April, 1992;
cf. TIME, 30 March, 1992, P. 42; Die Zeit, The Glass House in the
Greenhouse, 17 April, 1992; Der Spiegel, Festival of Hypocrisy, 21/92,
Cf. Beckermann, Economic Growth and the Environment, in: World
Development, Vol. 20, 1992, Pp. 481-496.
Excerpts from Article 3, PRINCIPLES: In their actions to achieve the
objective of the Convention and to implement its provisions, the
Parties shall be guided, inter alia, by the following:
1. The Parties should protect the
climate system for the benefit of present and future generations ... on
the basis of equity . . . the developed country Parties should take the
2. The specific needs and special
circumstances of developing country Parties should be given full
3. The Parties should take
precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of
climate change and mitigate its adverse effects, (cont.)
4. The Parties have a right to, and
should, promote sustainable developoment. (cont.)
5. The Parties should promote
sustainable econoimc growth.(cont.)
"For a true understanding of environmental conflict there must be a
true understanding of the environment," writes An Painter, The Future
of Environment Dispute Resolution, Natural Resource Journal, Vol. 28,
Winter 1988, Pp. 145-170 (150); cf. also Miles, Edward L., Science,
Politics & Int. Ocean Management, Berkley, 1987, P. 154.
Cf. Footnoes 9 and 11.
Wirtb, David A., Climate Chaos, in: Foreign Policy No. 74, 1989, Pp.
3-22 (P. 3).
One (of the few) criticisms of science comes from the developer of the
GAIA-Theory, James A. Lovelock: "Science must abandon its genteel
posturing and come down to earth again, quite literally. This is no
easy task. It requires scientists to recognize that science has grown
fat, lazy, and corrupt and, like an obese atherosclerotic man, imagines
that more rich food will cure his condition." In: The Guardian, 27
September, 1989, P. 63 (The Greening of Science). Recently, George F.
Wille reminded readers that twenty years ago many scientists were
predicting an ice age in the near future, in: Int. Herald Tribune, 3
June, 1992, The Eco-Pessimists Among Us Are a Family Bore.
Cf. Andresen, Steinar, & Ostreng, Willy (ed), International
Resource Management, London/NY 1989, there: Young, Oran R., Science and
Social Institutions, Pp. 7-2-4 (P. 10); and Boehmer-Christiansen, S.,
The Role of Science in the International Regulation of Pollutions, Pp.
143-167 (P. 150).
As stated by Michael Haller, Warner, Windmaker, Scientists in Die Zeit,
23 March, 1990, including other truly convincing analyses, such as: "As
is always the case when exact relationships cannot be discerned and -
just as with the tip of the famous iceberg - very little data is known,
faith moves in and takes the place of knowledge"; and, "It was
scientists . . . who transposed the simple causal models from the
laboratory to nature, without taking into account the complex
interaction of the various natural processes. They opened the scenario
game, the concrete description of calculations; they drew more and more
Cf. Buttel & Hawkin & Power, , From Limits to Growth to Global
Change, Global Environment Change, December 1990, Pp. 57-66 (P. 65):
"They have entered the policy arena in an unprecedented way and are now
willing to stand behind data that are not entirely conclusive, but
which have awesome potential implications for humankind." John S. Gray
fears: "There is a risk that the large and powerful WMO will simply
ignore the ocean or not give it the scientific priority that it needs
in the future." In: Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 22, 1991, Pp.
169-171 (P. 170).
Buttel et al., ebenda
Henderson-Sellers, A., op. cit. (Footnote 8): "The question is, 'Do
most people understand that by the time we, the scientists, are all
absolutely certain it will be much too late to avert most of the
changes that mankind is currently effecting?’”
Manfred Hefner wrote in a letter to the editor printed in Die Welt on
26 May, 1992: "Stephan Schneider, the American climatologist, wrote in
Discover Magazine in October 1988 (!): "Scientists such as I need broad
support to arouse and influence the imagination of the population. We
must develop scenarios which cause fear, make drastic claims, simplify,
and whenever possible avoid mentioning our own doubts. Each of us must
decide what the right relationship is between being successful and
being honest.'" (For the quoted works of S. H. Schneider, cf. Footnotes
6 and 7).
A lot of work has been published in only a few years, whereby the legal
literature is more modest in extent and strongly affected by the thesis
that the climate problem is mainly a result of COa. A selection:
Randelzhofer, Albrecht, On the Path to a World Climate Convention,
Festschrift fur Sendler 1991, Pp. 465-481; Hohmann, Harald, Int.
Environ¬mental Law and Global Environmental Politics, Spectrum der
Mssenschaft, 1991, Pp. 68-80; Solomon, Lewis D., & Freedberg,
Bradley S., Environmental Law, Vol. 20, 1990, P. 83-110; cf. Geoffrey
Palmer, New Ways to Make Int. Environmental Law, and: Stone,
Christopher D., Beyond Rio: "Insuring" Against Global Warming, American
Journal of Int. Law, Vol. 86, 1992, Pp. 259-283 and Pp. 445-488. For
more political aspects, cf.: Skolnikoff, Eugene B., The Policy Gridlock
on Global Warming, Foreign Policy, No. 79, 1990, Pp. 77-93; Hampson,
Fen Osier, Climate Change: Building International Coalitions of the
Like-Minded, International Journal, Vol. XLV, Winter 1989-90, Pp. 36-74.
Caldwell, Lynton Keith, Between Two Worlds, Science, the Environmental
Movement and Policy Choice, Cambridge, 1990, P. 125; the same,
International Environmental Policy, Emergence and Dimensions, Durham
NC, 1984, starting p. 82.
The International Convention for Averting Pollution of the Sea by Oil
of 1954, which has in the meantime been replaced by the MARPOL 1973/78
and its protocols, which is undoubtedly one of the "most highly
developed" and most efficient (practically and technically)
international environmental conventions.
Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment of 16 June 1972, printed
in: UN Doc. A/CONF.48/14. Principle No. 6 reads (excerpt): "The
discharge of toxic substances or of the other substances and the
release of heat, in such quantities or concentrations as to exceed the
capacity of the environment to render them harmless, must be halted in
order to ensure that serious or irreversible damage is not inflicted
upon the ecosystems." Principle No. 7 reads: "States shall take all
possible steps to prevent pollution of the seas by substances that are
liable to create hazards to human health, to harm living resources and
marine life, to damage amenities or to interfere with other legitimate
uses of the sea."
For further details, cf. Cadwell, 1984, op. cit. (Footnote 103), P.
226, where he refers to the 1976 Convention on Prohibition of Military
or any Other Hostile Use of Environment Modification Techniques, which
was signed by 55 states.
Cf. the detailed description of Flinterman & Kwiatowska &
Lammers (ed), Transboundary Air Pollution, Int. Legal Aspects of the
Co-operation of States, Dordrecht 1986.
After the First and Second UN Law of the Sea Conferences in 1958 and
1960, a Sea-Bed Committee became active beginning in 1967, which then
took over the preparations for the Third Conference on the Law of the
Sea. From 1973 to 1982, the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea
held negotations on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The official text was published by the United Nations in 1983; printed
with explanatory comments of the entire Convention in: Bernaerts, Arnd,
Bernaerts1 Guide to the Law of the Sea, Coulsdon, 1988.
Art. 308, Paragraph 2 of the Convention; the names of the 51 states are
printed in Law of the Sea Bulletin, No. 19, October 1991, issued by the
UN Office on the Law of the Sea, NY.
Cf. Allot, Philip, Power Sharing in the Law of the Sea, American
Journal of Int. Law, Vol. 77, 1983, Pp. 1-30 (3)
Under the title, "Time to Adopt a Constitution for the Oceans" (in:
FAIRPLAY, Int. Shipping Weekly, 23 October, 1989, and Peace to the
Oceans, Newsletter, 2-90) and in his essay: Tribunal for the Law of the
Sea - Deep-Sea Mining, Recht der Int. Wirtschaft (RIW), 1991, Pp.
209-218, this writer pointed out the relationship between the climate
and the Law of the Sea Convention. As far as he is aware, this
relationship has been mentioned elsewhere only in a Student Note of
Beth H. Horness, Research on the Role of the Ocean in Global Climate
Change: The Effect of Extended Jurisdiction, Ocean Development and Int.
Law. Vo. 22, 1991, Pp. 71-89 (86): "Given that the 1982 Treaty is the
appropriate legal regime for oceanic global warming research, the
avenues to delays, disruptions, and added costs are numerous". Cf. also
the attempt to adapt the 1982 Treaty to an Atmosphere Treaty by Toufiq
A. Siddiqi, Towards a Law of the Atmosphere, Using Concepts from the
Law of the Sea, Honolulu 1988 (Environment and Policy Institute,
Working Paper 12).
Introductory Literature: Bernaerts, Arnd, Bernaerts' Guide, op. cit.
(Footnote 109); Churchill, R. R., & Lowe, A. V., The Law of the
Sea, 1988. For a discussion of the acceptance of the treaty: Bernaerts,
in: RIW, op. cit. (Footnote 112). A good overall view of the current
state of the discussion of the "value" of the 1982 Law of the Sea
Treaty can be found in: Panel on the Law of Ocean Uses, U. S. Interests
and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Ocean
Development and Int. Law, Vol. 21, 1990, Pp. 373-410. Thanks to the
election of the Democratic Presidential candidates, Bill Clinton and Al
Gore, on 3 November, 1992, it is to be expected that there will be a
return to policies on the law of the sea in line with those of the
Carter Administration during the 1970s. Particularly President R.
Reagan is responsible for the fact that the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty
did not meet with international acceptance many years ago; he, along
with Germany and England, was of the opinion that the regulation of
deep-sea mining was not acceptable; these three countries are the only
industrialized nations which have not signed the 1982 Law of the Sea
Cf. in detail: Boyle, Alan E., Marine Pollution under the Law of the
Sea Convention, American Journal of Int. Law, Vol. 79/2, 1985, Pp.
Cf.: Ramakrishna, K., Environmental Concerns and the New Law of the
Sea, Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, 1986, Pp. 1-19; Kindt, J.
W., Marine Pollution and the Law of the Sea, 6 Volumes, 1986; Lagoni,
Rainer, The Thwarting of Dangers for the Marine Environment, Berichte
der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Völkerrecht, Vol. 32, 1992,
with further references; Teclaff & Teclaff, Transfer of Pollution
and the Marine Environment Conventions, Natural Resources Journal, Vol.
31, Winter 1991, Pp. 187-211.
If CO2 is supposed as having the attribute of the term "substance" then
it is imaginable that a court could determine that CO2 is to be
regarded as "pollution" in accordance with Art. 1. According to Art.
212, 222, together with Art. 192, the states would then be obligated to
act (presuming that CO2 caused a rise of the seas - certainly a
reduction of amenities). Art. 222 reads thus: "States shall enforce,
within the air space under their sovereignty . . . their laws and
regulations adopted in accordance . . . with this Convention and shall
adopt laws ... to prevent, reduce and control pollution . . . from or
through the atmosphere. . . ." For more details on the topic of
pollution through the atmosphere: Ash, George, W., 1982 Convention on
the Law of the Sea - Its Impact on Air Law, The Air Force Law Review,
Vol. 26, 1987, Pp. 35-82 (68 and following); Hailbronner, Kay, Freedom
of the Air and the Convention on the Law of the Sea, American Journal
of Int. Law, Vol. 77, 1983, Pp. 490-520 (510). Regarding manipulation
of the weather, cf. Davis, Ray Jay, Atmospheric Water Resources
Development and Int. Law, Natural Resources Journal, Vol. 31, Winter
1991, Pp. 11-44.
Cf. NATURE, Vol. 357, 18 June 1992, P. 523; Nitze, William A., in:
International Challenge, Vol. 11, 1991, Pp. 9-16 (13).
These plankton influence a number of climatic factors, particularly the
formation of clouds (cf. Savoie & Prospero, NATURE, Vol 339, 1989,
Pp. 685-687; and Schwartz, Nature, Vol. 336, 1988, Pp. 441-445), but
also as neutralizers of CO2, cf. the research results of the
Alfred-Wegner-Institut in: Siiddeutsche Zeitung, 5 November, 1992, P.
47 (The Ocean Has Many Ways of Storing Carbon Dioxide).
Charnock, H., Marine Science, Organising the Study of the Oceans,
Marine Policy, 1984, Pp. 120-136. Knauss, John A., The Effects of the
Law of the Sea on Future Marine Scientific Research, Louisiana Law
Review, Vol. 45, 1985, Pp. 1201-1219
Cf.: Bernaerts, Arnd, The Influence of the UN Law of the Sea Convention
1982 on the Marine Technolgy Development and Perspectives for the
Federal Republic of Germany, Verein der Freunde and Forderer des
GKSS-Forschungszentrums, Vol. 1, Geesthacht 1988; Murthy, B. S.,
Transfer of Technology in the New Int. Economic Order, The Indian Year
Book of Int. Affairs, Vol. XIX, 1986, Pp. 435-458; Pinto, M. C. W.,
Transfer of Technology under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,
Ocean Yearbook, No. 6, 1986, Pp. 241-270; Boczek, Boleslwa A., The
Transfer of Marine Technology to Developing Nations in Int. Law,
Honolulu 1982; Wolf, Klaus Dieter, in: Kohler-Koch, B., (ed),
Technology and Int. Politics, Baden-Baden 1986, Pp. 214-243; Soons,
Alfred H. A., Marine Scientific Research and the Law of the Sea,
Deventer/NL (about 1983).
This requirement is absolutely essential. Due to industrialization,
there are today possibly already several dozen causes - including
perhaps CO2 -which affect the "normal" processes in the ocean and
thereby the climate. It is quite possible that some of the causes
neutralize each other, but that others have a cumulative effect. The
decision as to the most reasonable and practical actions must therefore
be determined by results (i.e., by the condition/trends of the oceans).
Taking a real (or presumed) cause as the starting point can turn out to
be a disastrous mistake. This should be considered only if there were
very few possible causes and it were really possible to restore
pre-industrial conditions. Note the remarks under Point A.V.
Cf. Birnie, P., Dispute Settlement Procedures in the 1982 UNCLOS, in:
Butler, W. E. (ed), The Law of the Sea and Int. Shipping, NY 1985, Pp.
39-68; Ripshagen, W., Dispute Settlement, in: Ripshagen, C. C., &
Stephanou (ed), The New Law of the Sea, Amsterdam 1983, Pp. 281-301;
Sohn, Louis B., Peaceful Settlement of Disputes in Ocean Conflicts, Law
and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 46, 1983, Pp. 195-210.
Cf. Lagoni, Rainer, Maritime Law Discussions in the Hamburg
Representation in the Federation, Paper given on 9 April, 1990.
Cf. Bernaerts, RIW, op. cit. (Footnote 112), Pp. 215-216.
Skolnikoff, Eugene B. op. cit. (Footnote 102), for example, points out
that "greater understanding of the issue is essential for policy
formation." As for the independence of the climate scientists, cf.
Andresen, S., op. cit. (Footnote 11), P. 41. Solomon & Freedberg,
op. cit. (Footnote 102), P. 91, point out that "the problem solving
approach mandates that all rel¬evant information be presented to
the policymaker prior to the formulation and adoption of a solution." A
good overview of the problem as a whole can be found in Andresen &
Ostreng, op. cit. (Footnote 96), cf. Pp. 10, 28, 120, 150. Cf. also
Nollkaemper, Andre, The precautionary Principle in International
Environmental Law: What's New Under the Sun, Marine Pollution Bulletin,
Vol. 22, 1991, Pp. 107-110. By no means of help is the opinion of
O'Rioradan & Rayner in: Global Environmental Change, 1991, Pp.
91-108 (103) that "the fusion of science and politics is inescapable if
major global change is to be averted before its discovery proves that
we have acted too late"; cf. Primas, Hans, Re-Thinking in Natural
Science, in GAIA, 1992, Pp. 1-15 (12): "A pact between state and
science which guarantees freedom of research and allows the closing of
one eye is dangerous for the continuation of our culture."
The fact that they "succeeded without really knowing it or trying" only
adds to the uniqueness of the situation. It is precisely not a case
where politics was once again to blame, and one cannot agree with
Skolnikoff, op. cit. (Footnote 102) when he says, as do many others:
"The only real prospect for a different policy outcome in the near
future would be if public consensus and international negotiations
overcome the stubborn nature of the policy process of governments." The
legislature cannot be blamed for the lack of precision in defining the
problem (cf. also Skolnikoff, ebenda). The fact that the environmental
law concept behind the 1982 Treaty would never have been achieved in
such high quality if there had at that time been any real
"understanding of the ocean" or the "understanding of the climate"
shown here need not be a cause of sleeplessness for someone who wants
to protect the climate.
But at least there are now calls for a little more differentiation. Cf.
Katz, Richard W., & Brown, Barbara G., Extreme Events in Changing
Climate: Variability is More Important than Averages, in: Climate
Change, Vol. 21, 1992, Pp. 289-302; "experiments using climate models
need to be designed to detect changes in climate variability, and . . .
policy analysis should not rely on scenarios of future climate
involving only changes in means."