AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
January 31, 2007
A number of congressional proposals to advance programs that reduce greenhouse gases have been introduced in the 110th Congress. Proposals receiving particular attention would create market-based greenhouse gas reduction programs along the lines of the trading provisions of the current acid rain reduction program established by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. This paper presents a side-by-side comparison of the major provisions of those bills and includes a glossary of common terms.
Contents Introduction Proposed Legislation in 110th Congress Appendix 1. Comparison of Key Provisions of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Bills Appendix 2. Common Terms
Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Bills in the 110th Congress
Climate change is generally viewed as a global issue, but proposed responses generally require action at the national level. In 1992, the United States ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which called on industrialized countries to take the lead in reducing the six primary greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the year 2000. (1) For more than a decade, a variety of voluntary and regulatory actions have been proposed or undertaken in the United States, including monitoring of power plant carbon dioxide emissions, improved appliance efficiency, and incentives for developing renewable energy sources. However, carbon dioxide emissions have continued to increase.
In 2001, President George W. Bush rejected the Kyoto Protocol, which called for legally binding commitments by developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. (2) He also rejected the concept of mandatory emissions reductions. Since then, the Administration has focused U.S. climate change policy on voluntary initiatives to reduce the growth in greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, in 2005, the Senate passed a Sense of the Senate resolution on climate change declaring that a mandatory, market-based program to slow, stop, and reverse the growth of greenhouse gases should be enacted at a rate and in a manner that "will not significantly harm the United States economy" and "will encourage comparable action" by other nations. (3)
A number of congressional proposals to advance programs designed to reduce greenhouse gases have been introduced in the 110th Congress. These have generally followed one of three tracks. The first is to improve the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions to provide a basis for research and development and for any potential future reduction scheme. The second is to enact a market-oriented greenhouse gas reduction program along the lines of the trading provisions of the current acid rain reduction program established by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. The third is to enact energy and related programs that would have the added effect of reducing greenhouse gases; an example would be a requirement that electricity producers generate a portion of their electricity from renewable resources (a renewable portfolio standard). This report focuses on the second category of bills.
Proposed Legislation in 110th Congress
In the 110th Congress, four bills have been introduced that would impose controls on emissions of greenhouse gases. A comparison of major provisions is provided in Appendix 1.
S. 280, introduced by Senator Lieberman, would cap emissions of the six greenhouse gases specified in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, at reduced levels, from the electric generation, transportation, industrial, and commercial sectors--sectors that account for about 85% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The reductions would be implemented in four phases, with an emissions cap in 2012 based on the affected facilities' 2004 emissions (for an entity that has a single unit that emits more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent); the cap steadily declines until it is equal to one-third of the facilities' 2004 levels. The program would be implemented through an expansive allowance trading program to maximize opportunities for cost-effective reductions, and credits obtained from increases in carbon sequestration, reductions from non-covered sources, and acquisition of allowances from foreign sources could be used to comply with 30% of reduction requirements. The bill also contains an extensive new infrastructure to encourage innovation and new technologies.
S. 309, introduced by Senator Sanders, would cap greenhouse gas emissions on an economy-wide basis beginning in 2010. Beginning in 2020, the country's emissions would be capped at their 1990 levels, and then proceed to decline steadily until they were reduced to 20% of their 1990 levels in the year 2050. The EPA has the discretion to employ a market-based allowance trading program or any combination of cost-effective emission reduction strategies. The bill also includes new mandatory greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles and new powerplants, along with a new energy efficiency performance standard. The bill would establish a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and a new low-carbon generation requirement and trading program.
S. 317, introduced by Senator Feinstein, would cap greenhouse gas emissions from electric generators over 25 megawatts. Beginning in 2011, affected generators would be capped at their 2006 levels, declining to 2001 levels by 2015. After that, the emission cap would decline 1% annually until 2020, when the rate of decline would increase to 1.5%. The allowance trading program includes an allocation scheme that provides for an increasing percentage of all allowances to be auctioned, with 100% auctioning in 2036 and thereafter. The cap-and-trade program allows some of an entity's reduction requirement to be meet with credits obtained from foreign sources and a variety of other activities specified in the bill.
H.R. 620, introduced by Representative Olver, is a substantially modified version of S. 280. Using the same basic …