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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations

A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations

Date: February 8, 2011
Creator: Leggett, Jane A.
Description: The United States is a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but not to its subsidiary Kyoto Protocol. Negotiations under way since 2007 have run on two tracks: one under the Kyoto Protocol, to extend commitments of developed parties beyond 2012, and the second track under the UNFCCC, regarding commitments for all Parties. Both tracks convened in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009 under a deadline to agree on steps to address climate change beyond 2012. As background for congressional deliberations, this document provides a U.S.-centric chronology of international climate change policy from 1979 to 2010. This chronology identifies selected external events and major multilateral meetings that influence both the current legal and institutional arrangements, and the contentious choices about future international cooperation.
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A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations

A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations

Date: December 23, 2008
Creator: Leggett, Jane A.
Description: This document provides a U.S.-centric chronology of the international policy negotiations to address climate change. It covers the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the Marrakesh Accords of 2001, and the Bali Action Plan of 2007 that mandates the current negotiations toward a new agreement by the end of 2009 on commitments for the period beyond 2012. Today's negotiations under the Bali Action Plan focus on four elements: mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions; adaptation to impacts of climate change; financial assistance to low income countries; and technology development and transfer. For U.S. legislators, important issues include the compatibility of any international agreement with U.S. domestic policies and laws; the adequacy of appropriations, fiscal measures and programs to achieve any commitments under the agreement; and the desirable form of the agreement and related requirements for potential Senate ratification and federal implementing legislation.
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Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues

Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues

Date: October 5, 2006
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: Section 401 of the Clean Water Act requires that an applicant for a federal license or permit provide a certification that any discharges from the facility will comply with the Act, including water quality standard requirements. Disputes have arisen over the states' exercise of authority under Section 401. Until recently, much of the debate over the Section 401 certification issue has been between states and hydropower interests. A 1994 Supreme Court decision which upheld the states' authority in this area dismayed development and hydroelectric power interest groups. The Court revisited these issues in a 2006 ruling that unanimously upheld the states' authority to condition hydropower licenses. The dispute between states and industry groups about Section 401 authority has been a legislative issue on several occasions, but Congress has not responded by modifying the provision's scope. In addition, there has been interest in clarifying whether Section 401 certification applies to nonpoint source discharges, such as rainfall runoff, as well as point source discharges from pipes or ditches.
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Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations

Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations

Date: January 30, 2012
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: The principal federal program to aid municipal wastewater treatment plant construction is authorized in the Clean Water Act (CWA). In appropriations legislation, funding for EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) wastewater assistance is contained in the measure providing funds for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. This report summarizes, in chronological order, congressional activity to fund items in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account since 1987.
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Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: February 27, 2012
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region's future. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial interests in the region. The Arctic has increasingly become a subject of discussion among political leaders of the nations in the region. In varying degrees, the Arctic coastal states have indicated a willingness to establish and maintain a military presence in the high north. U.S. military forces, particularly the Navy and Coast Guard, have begun to pay more attention to the region.
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Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: December 23, 2011
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues. Congressional readers with questions about an issue discussed in this report should contact the author or authors of the section discussing that issue. The authors are identified by footnote at the start of each section.
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Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress

Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress

Date: September 22, 2005
Creator: McCarthy, James E.
Description: In the Summer of 2005, Congress focused on several Clean Air Act Issues before the August recess. Although the Congressional agenda stated that attention would be given to the needed amendments of the Clear Skies/Multi-Pollutant Legislation, this progress was stalled, and the committee failed to approve the bill due to a tied vote. This otherwise stagnated debate was given some attention due to the discussions over mercury regulations as they apply to power plants. The outcome of the decision concerning these regulations has stirred controvery in at least fifteen states. Perhaps the most debated issue that Congress covered concerned MTBE and Ethanol, which have been used to meet the Clean Air Act requiremnets that reformulated gasoline(RFG), sold in the nation’s worst ozone nonattainment areas, contain at least 2% oxygen, to improve combustion. Air quality standard deadlines and provisions, specifically in the most severe ozone nonattainment areas, were discussed by Congress. Dsicussions over the Clean Air Act also sparked discussions over environmental regulations concerning related issues, including the Conformity of Transportation Plans and SIPs, and Hurricane Katrina.
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Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress

Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress

Date: November 25, 2005
Creator: McCarthy, James E.
Description: The courts and the executive branch face major decisions on clean air issues in 2006, with Congress more likely playing an oversight role. One focus is EPA's Jan. 17 2006 proposal to strengthen air quality standards for fine particles, which are estimated to cause tens of thousands of premature deaths annually. Whether the proposal is supported by the available science and what impact its implementation would have likely issues of concern. Other issues of continuing interest are EPA's 2005 decisions limiting interstate transport of air pollution and establishing cap-and-trade systems for emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the agency's proposed changes to New Source Review.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress

Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress

Date: May 3, 2006
Creator: McCarthy, James E.
Description: The courts and the executive branch face major decisions on clean air issues in 2006, with Congress more likely playing an oversight role. One focus is EPA's Jan. 17 2006 proposal to strengthen air quality standards for fine particles, which are estimated to cause tens of thousands of premature deaths annually. Whether the proposal is supported by the available science and what impact its implementation would have likely issues of concern. Other issues of continuing interest are EPA's 2005 decisions limiting interstate transport of air pollution and establishing cap-and-trade systems for emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the agency's proposed changes to New Source Review.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress

Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress

Date: June 15, 2006
Creator: McCarthy, James E.
Description: The courts and the executive branch face major decisions on clean air issues in 2006, with Congress more likely playing an oversight role. One focus is EPA's Jan. 17 2006 proposal to strengthen air quality standards for fine particles, which are estimated to cause tens of thousands of premature deaths annually. Whether the proposal is supported by the available science and what impact its implementation would have likely issues of concern. Other issues of continuing interest are EPA's 2005 decisions limiting interstate transport of air pollution and establishing cap-and-trade systems for emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the agency's proposed changes to New Source Review.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department