Congress and climate change

On June 27 Reuters reported that the U.S. House passed a bill "recognizing the 'reality' of climate change," increasing federal funding for research on climate change, and establishing a new commission to address scientific questions.

The bill is HR 2643 (pdf). Title V therein (p. 111, et seq.) expresses "the sense of the Congress" that there should be a program of limits on greenhouse gases. The new commission is established in Title II (at p. 56).

In a related matter, on June 25 the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report on the the role of carbon dioxide in climate change. Recognizing that "Congress is considering several legislative strategies that would reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases--primarily carbon dioxide (CO2)," CRS examines the global carbon cycle, which is the exchange of carbon between the atmosphere, the oceans, and Earth's land surface. From the Summary:
Less than half of the total amount of CO2 released from burning fossil fuels during the past 250 years has remained in the atmosphere because two huge reservoirs for carbon--the global oceans and the land surface--take up more carbon than they release. They are net sinks for carbon. If the oceans, vegetation, and soils did not accumulate as much carbon as they do today, then the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would increase even more rapidly. . . .

Congress may opt to consider how land management practices, such as afforestation, conservation tillage, and other techniques, might increase the net flux of carbon from the atmosphere to the land surface.

The Carbon Cycle: Implications for Climate Change and Congress, CRS Report RL34059 (pdf, 14pp/240kB, from Open CRS), June 25, 2007

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Anonymous Snowboardjohn said...

Interesting, and quite advanced practices for reducing carbon emission in the USA is surely undermined by large emerging economies that do not have the government infrastructure and resources to be "environmentally aware".

What is the point of putting our own farmers under the stress of using these new practices if they are only contributing a tiny percentage of the worldwide emission?

Anonymous Designer said...

The U.S. Congress plays a key role in determining how the United States responds to the challenge of global climate change. As of mid-May 2007, lawmakers had introduced more than 70 bills, resolutions, and amendments specifically addressing global climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—compared with the 106 pieces of relevant legislation the previous Congress submitted during its entire two-year (2005-2006) term.


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