Shift In Support

After 2005, DEFRA shifted its support from ACE to the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE), in which the government joined with educators, students, and scientists to generate knowledge about global warming and climate change. Funded in large part by the National Science Foundation, DLESE provides students of higher education with information on such topics as ecology, environmental science, forestry, hydrology, natural hazards, space science, atmospheric science, and biological oceanography. Information is generated from sources ranging from the GLOBE Program Collection, the New York Instructional Collection, and Realtime Atmospheric Data. Teachers are encouraged to use resources provided by DLESE, including lesson plans, maps, images, data sets, visualizations, and online courses.

As support for the ACE program declined, attention also focused on action-oriented programs designed to deal with the implications of climate change. In the early 21st century, the government established the Climate Change Programme, which set emission reduction targets throughout the economic sector, including the establishment of industry caps on pollution, promotion of the development of alternative fuels, legislative efforts to enact stricter building codes, support for more effective home energy savings, and the generation of public and business support for achieving government goals on mitigating the effects of climate change. In March 2006, the government announced that goals of the Climate Change Programme included a 23-25 percent reduction in base year levels of carbon dioxide emissions and a 15-18 percent reduction beyond 1990 levels by the year 2010.

Since the 1990s, the British government has served as a leader in promoting efforts to mitigate the effects of global warming. During that period, greenhouse gas emissions in Britain have continued to fall. In October 2006, the British government issued a controversial 700-page report written by economist Sir Nicholas Stern that sought to call worldwide attention to the economic aspects of global warming. Stern concluded that the potential effects of global warming and climate change could be more devastating than the world wars and the Great Depression combined. Some economists, most

Atmospheric Absorption of Solar Radiation

notably William D. Nordhaus of Yale University and Sir Partha Dasqupta of the University of Cambridge, questioned Stern's findings.

Then Prime Minister Tony Blair challenged nations around the world, particularly the United States and China, where efforts to reduce global warming have often run into political stumbling blocks, to join Britain in reducing the carbon emissions that are believed to be leading to warming temperatures around the globe. Despite a close political alliance between Britain and the United States, Blair urged President George W. Bush to rethink his position on global warming, which has allowed the industrially dominant United States to forego the restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions that have been instituted throughout much of the world as a result of the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. The provisions of that protocol are set to expire in 2012.

sEE ALso: Energy; Kyoto Protocol; Pollution, Air; Sustain-ability; United Kingdom.

BIBLIoGRAPHY. Digital Library for Earth System Education, (cited November 2007); Manchester Metropolitan University, (cited November 2007); United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, (cited November 2007); H.R. Varian, "Recalculating the Costs of Global Climate Change," New York Times (December 14, 2006); J.C. White, ed., Evaluating Climate Change Action Plans: National Actions for International Commitment (Plenum Press, 1996).

Elizabeth R. Purdy Independent Scholar

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