Greenhouse gas emissions

Two reports on greenhouse gas emissions issued last month by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), one on state actions and the other from an international perspective, were provided on Open CRS.

According to the report on state actions, since there is no federal program mandating greenhouse gas reductions, many states have addressed this issue. However, California and several Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states have taken "the most aggressive actions." CRS devotes the first part of its report to California and the second part to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a collaboration of 8 states - CT, DE, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, and VT - to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. From January 2009, the initiative will begin a mandatory cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide, setting a cap on emissions and allocating credits among individual sources. (The concluding section of the report reviews issues for Congress presented by these state actions.)

In the international report, CRS discusses the interactions of three variables in measuring greenhouse gas emissions: population, income, and intensity of emissions. The report refers to three initiatives addressing climate change and the growth in greenhouse gases: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); the Kyoto Protocol (Wikipedia); and the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP). CRS notes the great divide between developed and less-developed nations. While developed countries may practice conservation and energy efficiency, population and economic growth increase total energy use. In less-developed countries, increases in emissions result from energy expended for economic development.

Greenhouse Gas Reductions: California Action and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, CRS Report RL33962 (pdf, 21pp/148kB), April 13, 2007

Greenhouse Gas Emission Drivers: Population, Economic Development and Growth, and Energy Use, CRS Report RL33970 (pdf, 36pp/280kB), April 24, 2007

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