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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
President Obama's Climate Action Plan
This report discusses President Obama's Climate Action Plan (CAP) to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHG), and to encourage adaptation to expected climate change. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc306440/
Clean Air Issues in the 113th Congress: An Overview
This report discusses the air pollution regulations and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) regulatory actions on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and also addresses some climate change issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc287923/
EPA's Vessel General Permit: Background and Issues
This report is an overview of the revised Vessel General Permit (VGP) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and two key issues: inclusion of numeric performance standards to limit ballast water discharges from vessels, and controversies about the role of states in regulating vessel discharges. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276891/
Carbon Capture: A Technology Assessment
This report is a brief summary of what carbon capture and storage (CCS) is, how it is supposed to work, why it has gained the interest and support of some members of Congress, and what some of the challenges are to its implementation and deployment across the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272007/
Increasing the Efficiency of Existing Coal- Fired Power Plants
This report focuses on efficiency improvements to power plants, and discusses retrofits, technologies, and other modifications to facility operations which offer the potential to improve power plant efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272073/
Clean Air Issues in the 113th Congress: An Overview
The report in addition to addressing climate change, it discusses the air pollution regulations and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) regulatory actions on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272037/
Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy
This report is intended as a primer on the policy issues, science, and governance of geoengineering technologies. The report will first set the policy parameters under which geoengineering technologies may be considered. It will then describe selected technologies in detail and discuss their status. The third section provides a discussion of possible approaches to governmental involvement in, and oversight of, geoengineering, including a summary of domestic and international instruments and institutions that may affect geoengineering projects. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272009/
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced?
This report provides an overview of the statutory framework, key players, infrastructure, resources, tools, and operations associated with enforcement and compliance of the major pollution control laws and regulations administered by EPA. It also outlines the roles of federal (including regional offices) and state regulators, as well as the regulated community. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272112/
Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future
This report discusses climate change and surveys existing law for legal issues that have arisen, or may arise in the future, on account of climate change and government responses thereto. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc267842/
Climate Change Legislation in the 113th Congress
Report regarding legislative actions that explicitly address climate change issues. The provisions in these bills fall into six general categories: carbon price (i.e., tax or fee) on greenhouse (GHG) emissions; other mechanisms intended to encourage mitigation of GHG emissions (e.g., sequestration of emissions); research on climate change-related issues; adaptation activities related to expected climate change impacts; support for international climate change-related activities; and action that limits or prohibits climate change-related authorities, efforts, or considerations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227933/
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS): A Primer
Report describing Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), how it is supposed to work, why it has gained the interest and support of some members of Congress, and what some of the challenges are to its implementation and deployment across the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227766/
Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future
Report that surveys existing law for legal issues that have arisen, or may arise in the future, on account of climate change and government responses thereto. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227774/
Climate Change Science: Key Points
This report discusses the climate change science, that though often is portrayed as controversial there is a broad scientific agreement over many points. The report provides data on long-term temperature observations, estimate of human-related versus solar contributions to global temperature change over the 20th century, estimated top 20 emitting nations of greenhouse gases in 2010, and sea ice extent in Arctic (September) and Antarctica (April), 1979 to 2012 digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227932/
Clean Air Issues in the 112th Congress
Report providing a brief overview of the climate change, power plant, and air quality standard issues, as well as information on other Clean Air Act issues that the 112th Congress has addressed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227699/
Ocean Acidification
Report that discusses the increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, and the extent of related effects on the ocean and marine resources. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227633/
Automobile and Truck Fuel Economy (CAFE) and Greenhouse Gas Standards
Report that looks at vehicle fuel costs, fuel consumption in the United States, and examines the estimated costs to new vehicles that may arise from the Obama Administration's new passenger vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for vehicle model years (MY) 2017-2025. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227810/
2006 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5): Designating Nonattainment Areas
This report focuses primarily on the NAAQS implementation process for designating geographical nonattainment areas with respect to the tightening of the PM2.5 standards under the 2006 particulates NAAQS, including comparisons with the final designations under the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. Also included is a brief overview of states' subsequent obligations for developing and submitting implementation plans (SIPs) for attaining or maintaining compliance with the NAAQS. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122190/
Air Quality: EPA's 2012 Proposed Changes to the Particulate Matter (PM) Standard
This report summarizes the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) June 2012 proposed changes to the particulate matter (PM) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) and includes comparisons with previous (1997) and current (2006) promulgated and proposed standards. Key actions leading up to the June 2012 proposal, and potential issues and concerns associated with the proposal to strengthen the PM2.5 annual standard, are also highlighted. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122239/
Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court's Climate Change Decision: A Chronology
This report presents a chronology of major federal agency actions, mainly by the Environmental Protection Agencey (EPA), in the wake of Massachusetts v. EPA. In this case, the Court held that greenhouse gases (GHGs), widely viewed as contributing to climate change, constitute “air pollutants” as that phrase is used in the Clean Air Act (CAA). As a result, said the Court, the U.S. EPA had improperly denied a petition seeking CAA regulation of GHGs from new motor vehicles by saying the agency lacked authority over such emissions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103082/
Climate Change and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS): Looking to 2020
This report looks at new European Union (EU) emissions standards in trade. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103076/
Air Quality: Multi-Pollutant Legislation in the 110th Congress
This report discusses air pollutants (petroleum, natural gas, and coal), which account for about two-thirds of U.S. electricity generation. These gases include several pollutants that directly pose risks to human health and welfare. The report also discusses the utilities that are subject to an array of environmental regulations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99108/
Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court’s Climate Change Decision: A Chronology
This report presents a chronology of major federal agency actions related to environmental concerns following the decision of Massachusetts v. EPA; it particularly looks at actions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court held that greenhouse gases (GHGs), widely viewed as contributing to climate change, constitute “air pollutants” as that phrase is used in the Clean Air Act (CAA). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99015/
Is Biopower Carbon Neutral?
This report assesses the variables involved in determining whether or not biopower (i.e., electricity generated from biomass) is a carbon-neutral alternative to fossil fuels as a way to help meet meet U.S. energy demands and reduce U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It includes information about the biomass carbon cycle, GHG accounting for biopower production, recent developments affecting the assessment, and overview of whether or not it can be considered carbon neutral, and legislative implications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc97992/
Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future
This report surveys existing law for legal issues that have arisen, or may arise in the future, on account of climate change and government responses thereto. These include greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, liability for harms caused by climate change, water shortages, sea level rise, natural disasters, and how immigration/refugee law does not cover relocation due to climate change impacts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98036/
Cruise Ship Pollution: Background, Laws and Regulations, and Key Issues
This report describes the several types of waste streams that cruise ships may discharge and emit. It identifies the complex body of international and domestic laws that address pollution from cruise ships. It then describes federal and state legislative activity concerning cruise ships in Alaskan waters and activities in a few other states, as well as current industry initiatives to manage cruise ship pollution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98054/
Revising the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Lead
This report provides background on the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), the process used to establish the standards, the factors leading to the reduction in lead emissions, and the proposed changes to the lead standard, as well as information regarding the potential effects of any revision. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98103/
Clean Air Issues in the 110th Congress: Climate Change, Air Quality Standards, and Oversight
This report provides a brief overview of the climate change issue as well as other Clean Air Act issues of interest in the 110th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98085/
Is Biopower Carbon Neutral?
This report assesses the variables involved in determining whether or not biopower (i.e., electricity generated from biomass) is a carbon-neutral alternative to fossil fuels as a way to help meet meet U.S. energy demands and reduce U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It includes information about the biomass carbon cycle, GHG accounting for biopower production, recent developments affecting the assessment, and overview of whether or not it can be considered carbon neutral, and legislative implications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc97991/
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced?
This report provides an overview of the statutory framework, key players, infrastructure, resources, tools, and operations associated with enforcement and compliance of the major pollution control laws and regulations administered by EPA. It also outlines the roles of federal (including regional offices) and state regulators, as well as the regulated community. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96804/
Canadian Oil Sands: Life-Cycle Assessments of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
This report discusses basic methodology of life-cycle assessments and compares several publicly-available assessments of life-cycle emissions data for Canadian oil sands crudes against each other and against those of other global reference crudes. It also includes a survey of the scientific literature and the findings of the State Department's Keystone XL Project Envoronmental Impact Statement, and concludes with a discussion of tools for policymakers who are interested in using the assessments to investigate the potential impacts of U.S. energy policy choices onthe environment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96723/
China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Mitigation Policies
This report discusses China's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as the policies and programs that they have put in place to mitigate them. These issues affect how Congress considers envionmental policies and relations with China. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96701/
Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector
This report discusses the extent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the U.S. agriculture sector, and cites current and potential estimates for U.S. agricultural soils to sequester carbon and partly offset national GHG emissions. The report describes the types of land management and farm conservation practices that can reduce GHG emissions and/or sequester carbon in agricultural soils, highlighting those practices that are currently promoted under existing voluntary federal agricultural programs. The Appendix provides a summary primer of the key background information presented in these first two sections. Finally, the report describes ongoing legislative action within both the climate change and farm bill debates, and discusses the types of questions that may be raised regarding the role of the U.S. agriculture sector in the broader climate change debate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96765/
Clean Air Permitting: Status of Implementation and Issues
This report describes the statutory background of the Title V program and the status of implementation, in terms of federal approval of state and local permitting authorities and permit issuance. It also discusses broad policy issues identified by various stakeholders, including program complexity and costs, and inconsistencies due to a lack of sufficient federal guidance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94071/
Clean Air Issues in the 110th Congress: Climate Change, Air Quality Standards, and Oversight
This report provides a brief overview of the climate change issue as well as other Clean Air Act issues of interest in the 110th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94080/
Climate Change: Design Approaches for a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program
This report explores strategies to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and options to address the cost issue in four parts. First, the basic economic tradeoff between controlling the quantity of GHG emissions and the program's compliance costs is introduced and explained. Second, the five dimensions of the cost issue that have arisen so far in the climate change debate are identified and discussed. Third, a representative sample of proposed approaches to address cost concerns is compared and analyzed according to the five cost dimensions identified previously. Finally, the proposed options are summarized and opportunities to combine or merge different approaches are analyzed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94084/
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)
This report discusses carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), but not other types of carbon sequestration activities whereby CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored in vegetation, soils, or oceans. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94086/
The Role of Offsets in a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cap-and-Trade Program: Potential Benefits and Concerns
This report discusses offsets in relation to a greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program. The first section of this report provides an overview of offsets by discussing different types of offset projects and describing how the offsets would likely be used in an emission reduction program. The next section discusses the supply of offsets that might be available in an emission trading program. The subsequent sections examine the potential offset benefits and the potential concerns associated with offsets. The final section offers considerations for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94141/
Greenhouse Gas Reduction: Cap-and-Trade Bills in the 110th Congress
This report discusses the Cap-and-Trade Bills in the 110th Congress which are meant to advance market-based greenhouse gas reduction programs, similar to the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. The report presents a side-by-side comparison of the major provision in each of the bills and includes a glossary of common terms. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94094/
Global Environment Facility (GEF): Overview
The report provides an overview regarding the establishment and the role of Global Environment Facility (GEF). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94198/
Climate Change: Comparison and Analysis of S. 1766 and S. 2191 (S. 3036)
This report focuses on the second category of bills, and on two bills in particular: S. 1766 and S. 2191. S. 1766. Introduced July 11, 2007, by Senators Bingaman and Specter, S. 1766 would set emissions targets on most of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94153/
Clean Air After the CAIR Decision: Back to Square One?
This report discusses three Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) long-term options in regard to Clean Air: (1) starting anew with a new strategy with respect to mitigating transported air pollution based on the decision; (2) allowing the states to sort out the issue through Section 126 petitions; and (3) seeking new legislation providing EPA with the statutory authority to implement either CAIR in some form, or an alternative. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94165/
Automobile and Light Truck Fuel Economy: The CAFE Standards
This report discusses the current corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard of 35 miles per gallon (mpg), and the major issues on the CAFE debate. The report also offers an overview of Congressional interest in CAFE (1991-2005), and explains the CAFE and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94034/
Cars, Trucks, and Climate: EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources
As Congress and the Administration considered new legislation to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change over the last year and a half (a process that has now stalled), the Environmental Protection Agency simultaneously began to exercise its existing authority under the Clean Air Act to set standards for GHG emissions. The Administration has made clear that its preference would be for Congress to address the climate issue through new legislation. Nevertheless, it is moving forward on several fronts to define how the Clean Air Act will be used and to promulgate regulations. This report covers the steps that the Administration is taking on this topic. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93816/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87329/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87351/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87353/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87137/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87134/
Aviation and the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme
This report looks at how the European Union Emission Trading Scheme's coverage of carbon emission from commercial flights affects air carriers from the United States and other countries. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87222/
Aviation and the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme
This report looks at how the European Union Emission Trading Scheme's coverage of carbon emission from commercial flights affects air carriers from the United States and other countries. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87221/
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