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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d88nov1

Global climate issues received considerable attention in the 100th United States Congress. S. 2614 was reported out of committee, but no further action was taken and it will be introduced again in 1989. (See Global Climate Change Digest, NEWS, Oct. 1988.) It requires the development of a 10-year research plan for global climate change research that would emphasize coordination among the federal agencies. The following proposals were introduced more for discussion than with the expectation of immediate progress:

S. 2667--National Energy Policy Act of 1988. Introduced July 28, 1988, by Sen. Timothy Wirth (D-CO) and 17 others, it sets a goal of reducing national carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent from 1988 levels, through a mix of federal and state energy policies, while sustaining economic growth and development, and calls for an international agreement on the atmosphere by 1992. Among its 17 specific proposals (authorizing over $4 billion) are: promotion of energy conservation in businesses, homes and federal buildings by various public-private partnerships and removal of bureaucratic obstacles; funding (over $600 million) and other encouragement for development of various renewable energy sources; cooperation with international development agencies to halt tropical rain forest destruction; increased basic atmospheric research funding ($600 million); evaluation of fusion technology, and development of safer and economical nuclear fission reactors for commercial electric power ($500 million with cost sharing); programs and assistance for clean coal technology development and encouragement of increased natural gas use; international family planning services to reduce population growth ($1.6 billion). Wirth intends to introduce the bill again in 1989. For information contact Leslie Black, Sen. Comm. Energy & Nat. Resour. (202-224-9607).

S. 2666--Global Environmental Protection Act of 1988. Introduced July 28, 1988, by Sen. Robert Stafford (D-VT) and four others,it does not authorize expenditures but mandates the reduction of emissions that could lead to global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion. Production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and related chemicals would be eliminated by 1999 (compared to the 50 percent reduction required by the Montreal protocol, for five CFCs). Carbon dioxide would be reduced 50 percent from 1985 levels by targeting electric utilities, automobiles and certain residential appliances, sources of about 60 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. Nitrogen oxide emissions from new sources would be restricted to reduce ground level ozone, and the role in greenhouse warming and sources of methane would be studied. The bill establishes a commission to promote safe nuclear energy sources, with a goal of deriving half of the nation's energy from nonpolluting sources by 2000. The Office of Technology Assessment has issued a staff analysis of S. 2666 (see REPORTS, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Nov. 1988). Another version of the bill (S. 2663) by the same sponsors was referred to the Committee on Governmental Affairs; it would in addition elevate the Environmental Protection Agency to cabinet status. For information contact Curtis Moore, Sen. Comm. Environ. & Pub. Works (202-224-5762).

S. 2867, H.R. 5460--Global Greenhouse Warming Prevention Act of 1988, introduced October 5, 1988, in the Senate and referred to the Finance Committee by Sen. John Chafee (R-RI) and five others, and in the House by Rep. Claudine Schneider (R-RI) and 29 others. The national goal set by these identical bills is a minimum 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2005 through state, federal and local energy and resource policies, and an international agreement on similar reductions. It addresses specific energy efficiency measures and programs, renewable resources, solar hydrogen fuels, natural gas and coal, forest and agriculture policies, recyclable materials, world population growth. Substantial funds are authorized for energy efficiency research, ten research centers to improve efficiency in energy-intensive industries, and retrofitting federal buildings. For information contact Steve Shimberg, Sen. Comm. Environ. & Pub. Works (202-224-6228).

A spate of hearings was held over the summer in the House and Senate by the committees handling these bills, and others, with testimony from the scientific community, federal agencies, and policy institutes. Accounts may be found in the following: Nat. Sci. Found. Congr. Rep., pp. 19-24, Aug. 1988; Air/Water Pollut. Rep., p. 321, Sep. 19; p. 289, Aug 15; Coal News, p. 2, Sep. 19; BNA Environ. Rep. Curr. Devel., pp. 1120-1121, Sep. 30; p. 1085, Sep. 23; pp. 696-697, Aug. 19; p.443, Aug. 10.

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