Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Air Quality: EPA's Proposed New Ozone and Particulate Matter Standards
This report discusses the contentious issue of enforcing stringent national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone and particulate matter (PM), the opponents of which decry as harmful to the economy. The report discusses actions undertaken by the EPA, President Clinton's support of the NAAQSs, and the criticisms of opponents.
Air Quality Standards: The Decisionmaking Process
The decisions by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1997 to revise the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone and particulate matter refocused attention on the criteria and the process by which these decisions are made Tracing the steps of the decision pieces, this report identifies the statutory criteria established by the Congress and summarizes the administrative procedures the Agency follows in setting these standards and in reviewing them every 5 years.
Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress
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.
Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress
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.
Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress
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.
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: Implementation Issues
No Description Available.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
From an environmental quality standpoint, much of the interest in animal agriculture has focused on impacts on water resources, because animal waste, if not properly managed, can harm water quality through surface runoff, direct discharges, spills, and leaching into soil and groundwater. A more recent issue is the contribution of emissions from animal feeding operations (AFO), enterprises where animals are raised in confinement, to air pollution. AFOs can affect air quality through emissions of gases such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants, and odor. These pollutants and compounds have a number of environmental and human health effects. This report reviews key issues associated with the Air Compliance Agreement.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, intended to produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: Regulatory Issues
No Description Available.
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.
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.
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.
Climate Change and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS): Looking to 2020
This report discusses emissions standards in trade in European Union (EU).
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.
Canadian Oil Sands: Life-Cycle Assessments of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
This report discusses the basic methodology of life-cycle assessments and compares several of the publicly available studies of GHG emissions data for Canadian oil sands crudes against each other and against those of other global reference crudes.
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.
International Climate Change Financing: The Green Climate Fund (GCF)
This report discusses the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which aims to assist developing countries in their efforts to combat climate change through the provision of grants and other concessional financing for mitigation and adaptation projects, programs, policies, and activities.
Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court's Climate Change Decision in Massachusetts v. EPA: 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).
Canadian Oil Sands: Life-Cycle Assessments of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
This report discusses the basic methodology of life-cycle assessments and compares several of the publicly-available studies of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data for Canadian oil sands crudes against each other and against those of other global reference crudes.
Climate Change: EU and Proposed U.S. Approaches to Carbon Leakage and WTO Implications
This report discusses climate change and issues related to carbon leakage by examining the European Union's (EU's) cap-and-trade program with a review and analysis of various EU efforts to address the concerns of energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries. Additionally, it considers similar provisions enacted or proposed by the U.S.and analyzes potential World Trade Organization (WTO) implications in relation to U.S. trade agreements.
Is Biopower Carbon Neutral?
This report discusses some factors taken into account when considering whether biopower is carbon neutral. It does not discuss carbon accounting for other bioenergy pathways.
Ozone Air Quality Standards: EPA's Proposed January 2010 Revisions
This report discusses the standard-setting process for ambient air, the specifics of the new standard, and issues raised by the Administrator's choice; and it describes the steps that will follow EPA's promulgation.
Climate Change and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS): Looking to 2020
This report discusses the European Union's (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is a cornerstone of the EU's efforts to meet its obligation under the Kyoto Protocol. It covers more than 10,000 energy intensive facilities across the 27 EU Member countries.
Climate Change: EU and Proposed U.S. Approaches to Carbon Leakage and WTO Implications
This report discusses climate change and issues related to carbon leakage by examining the European Union's (EU's) cap-and-trade program with a review and analysis of various EU efforts to address the concerns of energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries. Additionally, it considers similar provisions enacted or proposed by the U.S. and analyzes potential World Trade Organization (WTO) implications in relation to U.S. trade agreements.
Carbon Sequestration in Forests
This report examines basic questions concerning carbon sequestration in forests. The first section provides a brief background on congressional interest in forest carbon sequestration. The second describes the basic carbon cycle in forests, with an overview of how carbon cycling and storage vary among different types of forests. The third section then addresses how forest carbon is considered in the global climate change debate.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Climate Change and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS): Looking to 2020
This report looks at new European Union (EU) emissions standards in trade.
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.
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.
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.
Transportation Conformity Under the Clean Air Act
This report explains the Clean Air Act requirement that federal departments and agencies demonstrate that their activities--including projects that they fund--"conform" to state plans for achieving air quality standards. The report explains the statutory requirements, reviews the recent history of their implementation, and examines how conformity requirements might affect areas designated "nonattainment" for a revised ozone air quality standard.
Cars and Climate: What Can EPA Do to Control Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources?
This report discusses legislation being considered by congress to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change. It discusses the EPA's authority under Title II and provides information regarding the mobile sources that might be regulated under this authority. Among these sources, motor vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks, including SUVs) are assumed to be the most likely initial targets for regulation, both because a petition addressing these sources began EPA's consideration of the endangerment issue, and because these are the most significant GHG emission sources among those covered by Title II.
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.
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 (carbon dioxide). It outlines the current status of carbon capture technology; 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; and concludes with a discussion of implications of capture technology for climate change legislation.
Carbon Tax and Greenhouse Gas Control: Options and Considerations for Congress
This report provides an overview of the fundamental choices involved between a cost (tax) and a quantity (cap) control instrument, including a discussion of policy tools that could be employed to bridge the gap between a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade program. It also analyzes the potential advantages and disadvantages of a carbon tax, 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-- and provides conclusions.
Greenhouse Gas Pledges by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
This report briefly summarizes the existing commitments and pledges of selected national and regional governments to limit their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as contributions to the global effort.
Global Climate Change
This report discusses different perspectives used to consider issues related to the global climate change and issues related to the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 1997 Kyoto Agreement.
Are Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rising More Rapidly Than Expected?
This report discusses the recent emissions estimates with the greenhouse gas (GHG) and addresses the question, are carbon dioxide emissions rising more rapidly than expected?