Congressional Research Service Reports - 342 Matching Results

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Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy

Description: 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.
Date: January 10, 2011
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi; Lattanzio, Richard K. & Barbour, Emily C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened concerns about the region's future. Issues such as Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation, competition, or conflict. 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.
Date: October 8, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

International Climate Change: A Negotiations Side-by-Side

Description: This report discusses various cooperative international efforts to address the issue of global climate change. The two major international agreements discussed in a side-by-side comparison are the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2010 Copenhagen Accord. The report discusses how many observers are hoping that initiatives carried out under the Copenhagen Accord may help bridge divides between the various tracks and economic groupings established under the Kyoto Protocol.
Date: November 18, 2010
Creator: Leggett, Jane A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Litigation Seeking to Establish Climate Change Impacts as a Common Law Nuisance

Description: This report discusses recent legislative initiatives seeking to establish climate change impacts as a common law nuisance. The report explains what private and public nuisances are, the issues faced by policymakers when litigating a climate-change/nuisance suit, and also discusses five climate-chance/nuisance suits that are now or formerly active, as a basis of comparison. The report also explores arguments of those both for and against addressing the complex issue of climate change through common law suits.
Date: November 19, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Market-Based Environmental Management: Issues in Implementation

Description: Increasingly, efforts to protect integral features of the natural environment that are essential to human well being face a double challenge. First, the magnitude of some conventional and emerging threats to environmental quality is growing, despite solid progress in controlling some causes. This is particularly the concern on a global scale in terms of atmospheric changes and loss of biological diversity. Second, easily-implemented uniform control methods using feasible technologies or other direct regulatory approaches are already in place for many pollution and resource management problems in the United States. Additional progress with so-called command and control policies can be expensive and disruptive, and thus counter productive to overall economic well being. This type of dilemma is common where environmental deterioration results from diffuse and complex causes inherent in technically-advanced high-consumption industrial societies such as the U.S. Solutions to these types of environmental problems are complicated by the diffuse benefits which obscures the net gains of additional controls that have concentrated and highly visible costs. Given this double bind, many policy analysts and academics have for years advocated more cost-effective and flexible approaches relying on market forces to further some environmental management objectives. Although market-based theory and practical environmental policy are still far apart, the incremental approach to environmental policymaking since the late seventies has resulted in some market-type innovations within traditional regulatory frameworks at all levels of government. The most prominent examples are the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) air emissions trading program and the recently enacted sulfur dioxide allowance trading program under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.
Date: March 7, 1994
Creator: Moore, John L.; Blodgett, John E.; Copeland, Claudia; Gushee, David E.; Mayer, Susan L.; McCarthy, James E. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Global Climate Change: Three Policy Perspectives

Description: The 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change requires that signatories, including the United States, establish policies for constraining future emission levels of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2). The George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush Administrations each drafted action plans in response to requirements of the convention. These plans have raised significant controversy and debate. This report examines three starting points from which a U.S. response to the convention is being framed.
Date: November 26, 2008
Creator: Parker, Larry & Blodgett, John
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector and Congressional Action

Description: 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.
Date: June 19, 2009
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Critical Barriers and Congressional Policy

Description: 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.
Date: June 24, 2009
Creator: Parfomak, Paul W.; Sissine, Fred & Fischer, Eric A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Estimates of Carbon Mitigation Potential from Agricultural and Forestry Activities

Description: 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.
Date: June 19, 2009
Creator: Johnson, Renée; Gorte, Ross W.; Yacobucci, Brent D. & Schnepf, Randy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)

Description: 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.
Date: June 19, 2009
Creator: Folger, Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Calculation of Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the Renewable Fuel Standard

Description: 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.
Date: June 25, 2009
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D. & Bracmort, Kelsi S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Ocean Acidification

Description: 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.
Date: July 2, 2009
Creator: Buck, Eugene H. & Folger, Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The World Bank's Clean Technology Fund (CTF)

Description: The United States Treasury has led efforts to create a $10 billion Clean Technology Fund (CTF), located at the World Bank, to help fund deployment of clean technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing economies. The Bush administration has asked Congress to authorize and appropriate U.S. funding of $2 billion over three years (FY2009 to FY2011). While many Members of Congress have expressed support for the CTF, others have raised concerns, primarily with respect to whether the CTF should finance carbon-based energy projects. To date, Congress has not passed legislation authorizing or appropriating U.S. contributions to the Fund.
Date: November 24, 2008
Creator: Weiss, Martin A. & Logan, Jeffrey
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Are Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rising More Rapidly Than Expected?

Description: At least one recent report and numerous news articles suggest that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are rising more rapidly than expected. While CO2 emissions associated with human activities continue to rise -- and may be worthy of alarm because of their influence on climate change -- any short-term comparisons between actual emissions and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios miss the mark. This report analyzes this issue and the issues associated with IPCC scenarios and trajectories. It also describes the importance of monitoring CO2 emissions and analyzing the factors and forces behind increasing CO2 emissions.
Date: October 17, 2008
Creator: Leggett, Jane A. & Logan, Jeffrey
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Measuring and Monitoring Carbon in the Agricultural and Forestry Sectors

Description: Proposals to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases often include the use of forestry and agricultural practices and lands for carbon sequestration. However, uncertainty about the accuracy of measuring carbon from these activities has led some to question this potential. Basic approaches for measuring forest and agricultural carbon include on-site measurement; indirect measurement from off-site tools; and estimation using models or inferences. Because of challenges associated with balancing the cost and accuracy of these measurement tools, any practicable system for measuring forest and agricultural carbon might require a mix of these approaches.
Date: October 6, 2008
Creator: Gorte, Ross W. & Johnson, Renée
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Global Climate Change: Status of Negotiations

Description: In December 2007, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held their 13th annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia, and began the process of working toward an agreement/treaty that would succeed the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC when it expires in 2012. The Protocol includes a mandate for a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 developed/industrialized nations to an average of some 5% below their 1990 levels over the commitment period 2008-2012. The broad array of these issues, briefly discussed in this report, has been described by some as comprising perhaps the most complex negotiations ever undertaken internationally.
Date: June 17, 2008
Creator: Fletcher, Susan R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Global Climate Change and Wildlife

Description: Recently projected climate changes could have widespread effects on wildlife species. These effects might be positive or negative, depending on the species. Some effects might include extinction, range shifts, mismatches in phenology (timing of pollination, flowering, etc.), and population changes. If the effects of climate change are widespread, there is uncertainty on how wildlife will adapt. Some suggest that evolution and migration will enable species to adapt, whereas others contend that adaptation will be minimal because of limited habitat, and changes in climate that may occur may rapidly than adaptation can respond.
Date: May 15, 2008
Creator: Sheikh, Pervaze A.; Corn, M. Lynne; Leggett, Jane A. & Folger, Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Exemptions from Environmental Law for the Department of Defense

Description: Whether broader expansions from federal environmental laws are needed to preserve military readiness has been an issue. Questions have been raised as to whether environmental requirements have limited military training activities to the point that readiness would be compromised. The potential impacts of broader exemptions on environmental quality have raised additional questions. Although certain exemptions the Department of Defense (DOD) first requested in FY2003 have been enacted into law, Congress has opposed others. From FY2003 to FY2008, DOD requested exemptions from the Clean Air Act, Solid Waste Disposal Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. To date, Congress has not enacted these three latter exceptions. The Administration's FY2009 defense authorization bill does not include these exemptions.
Date: May 1, 2008
Creator: Bearden, David M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress

Description: Climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a continuing issue in the 109th Congress. Bills directly addressing climate change issues range from those focused primarily on climate change research to comprehensive emissions cap-and-trade programs. Additional bills focus on GHG reporting and registries, or on power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, as part of wider controls on pollutant emissions. The bills vary in their approaches to climate change issues. This report briefly discusses the basic concepts on which these bills are based and compares major provisions of the bills in each of the following categories: climate change research, technology deployment, GHG reporting and registries, and emissions reduction programs.
Date: August 4, 2006
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress

Description: Climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a continuing issue in the 109th Congress. Bills directly addressing climate change issues range from those focused primarily on climate change research to comprehensive emissions cap-and-trade programs. Additional bills focus on GHG reporting and registries, or on power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, as part of wider controls on pollutant emissions. The bills vary in their approaches to climate change issues. This report briefly discusses the basic concepts on which these bills are based and compares major provisions of the bills in each of the following categories: climate change research, technology deployment, GHG reporting and registries, and emissions reduction programs.
Date: February 22, 2006
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Climate Change Legislation in the 108th Congress

Description: Climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been an issue in the 108th Congress, as they have been over the past decade. Bills directly addressing climate change issues range from those focused primarily on climate change research (H.R. 1578 and S. 1164) to comprehensive emissions cap and trading programs for all six greenhouse gases (S. 139 and H.R. 4067). This report briefly discusses basic concepts on which these bills are based, and compares major provisions of the bills in each of the following categories: climate change research, GHG reporting and registries, and cap and trade programs.
Date: June 9, 2004
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D. & Powers, Kyna
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department