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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Year: 2009
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Estimates of Carbon Mitigation Potential from Agricultural and Forestry Activities
The report is organized into three parts. The first provides a brief overview of the role of the agriculture and forestry sectors within the broader climate change debate, describing available estimates of current GHG emissions and carbon sequestration in the farm and forestry sectors. The second describes available data and information on the potential for carbon storage (tonnage) by type of farming and forestry activity, and presents available estimates of the carbon sequestration potential in these sectors. The final part discusses some of the limitations of available estimates of GHG mitigation potential in the agriculture and forestry sectors, focusing on recent policy and market changes and other types of modeling uncertainties that could limit the accuracy of available mitigation projections.
Carbon Tax and Greenhouse Gas Control: Options and Considerations for Congress
This report begins with an overview of the fundamental choices involved between a cost (tax) and a quantity (cap) control instrument. This includes a discussion of policy tools that could be employed to bridge the gap between a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade program. Following this overview, the report analyzes the potential advantages and disadvantages of a carbon tax. In many cases, carbon tax attributes are compared with those of a cap-and-trade program. The next section discusses implementation issues for a carbon tax, including where to apply the tax, at what level to set the tax, and options for distributing the tax revenues. The final section provides conclusions.
Climate Change: Current Issues and Policy Tools
This report introduces the reader to fundamentals of the climate change issue. Part One summarizes current understandings and controversies concerning the science, economics, international cooperation, and other aspects of the climate change policy problem. Part Two is a brief update on the status of domestic and international policies. Part Three outlines the policy toolbox seen as being available to policymakers to address the challenge as they define the emerging legislative agenda.
Biochar: Examination of an Emerging Concept to Mitigate Climate Change
This report briefly describes biochar, its potential advantages and disadvantages, legislative support, and research and development activities underway in the United States and abroad.
California's Waiver Request Under the Clear Air Act to Control Greenhouse Gases From Motor Vehicles
This report reviews the nature of EPA's, California's, and other states' authority to regulate emissions from mobile sources, the applicability of that authority to GHGs, and issues related to the California waiver request.
Clean Air After the CAIR Decision: Back to Square One?
This report discusses the potential impact on communities attempting to achieve National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and the impact on mercury emissions could be substantial, and has prompted some to call for congressional action to address the issue.
Capturing CO2 from Coal-Fired Power Plants: Challenges for a Comprehensive Strategy
This report examines the current effort to develop technology that would capture CO2. First, the paper outlines the current status of carbon capture technology. Second, the paper examines the role of government in developing that technology, both in terms of creating a market for carbon capture technology and encouraging development of the technology. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion of implications of capture technology for climate change legislation.
Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships
This report provides information regarding pollution from ships and port facilities; discusses some of the measures being implemented and considered by local, state, and federal regulatory agencies; discusses the efforts to ratify and to strengthen Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); and describes legislation in Congress to control emissions from ships by amending the Clean Air Act (CAA).
Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Critical Barriers and Congressional Policy
Federal policymakers are debating a range of potential initiatives for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from U.S. energy sources. An overarching policy issue which arises from carbon control proposals is how the CO2 reduction targets could be achieved. One method that has garnered significant attention is increasing the electricity efficiency in buildings. Analysts have identified a number of critical socioeconomic and policy barriers which have historically limited the impact of federal and state building efficiency programs. This report describes those barriers, the degree to which federal law has addressed them, and their implications for meeting future U.S. carbon reduction targets.
Calculation of Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the Renewable Fuel Standard
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) significantly expanded the renewable fuel standard (RFS) established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. EISA requires an increasing amount of the 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022 mandate be met with "advanced biofuels." This report defines the classification "biofuels," discusses the ongoing debate regarding several aspects of biofuels endeavors, and discusses related legislative efforts on climate change policy and low-carbon fuel standards.
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)
Carbon capture and sequestration (or storage) - known as CCS - has attracted interest as a measure for mitigating global climate change because large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from fossil fuel use in the United States are potentially available to be captured and stored underground or prevented from reaching the atmosphere. Congressional interest has grown in CCS as part of legislative strategies to address climate change. The large and rapid influx of funding for industrial-scale CCS projects may accelerate development and deployment of CO2 capture technologies.
Ocean Acidification
With increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, the extent of effects on the ocean and marine resources is an increasing concern. One aspect of this issue is the ongoing process whereby seawater becomes acidified (i.e., ocean acidification) as more CO2 dissolves in it, causing hydrogen ion concentration in seawater to increase. While not yet fully understood, the ecological and economic consequences of ocean acidification could be substantial. Congress is beginning to focus attention on better understanding ocean acidification and determining how this concern might be addressed.
Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector and Congressional Action
The debate in Congress over whether and how to address possible future climate change is intensifying. Often, the role of the U.S. agriculture sector is invoked in this debate. Agriculture is a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which many scientists agree are contributing to observed climate change. Congress is considering a range of climate change policy options, including GHG emission reduction programs that would either mandate or authorize a cap-and-trade program to reduce GHG emissions. This report discusses this issue in detail, i.e., how the agricultural industry affects GHG emissions and efforts currently underway to combat these negative effects, but it does not address the potential effects of global climate change on U.S. agricultural production.
Estimates of Carbon Mitigation Potential from Agricultural and Forestry Activities
Numerous theoretical and empirical studies estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of farm and forestry activities, and suggest that the potential for carbon uptake in agricultural soils and forest lands is much greater than current rates. Following a discussion of the estimated current emissions and carbon sequestration by the agricultural and forestry sectors, this report presents a brief overview of the available estimates from USDA and EPA carbon mitigation studies, and then discusses some of the limitations of the available data and modeling results. This report is organized into four parts, including a brief overview of the agriculture and forestry sectors within the broader climate change debate, as well as various data and information on potential for carbon storage and mitigation from farming and forestry activities.