U.S. Global Climate Change Policy: Evolving Views on Cost, Competitiveness, and Comprehensiveness [Updated January 29, 2007]   [open pdf - 168KB]

From the Summary: "U.S. policy toward global climate change evolved from a 'study only' to a more 'study and action' orientation in 1992 with ratification of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Convention committed developed countries to aim at returning their greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 levels by the year 2000. The U.S. decision to ratify the UNFCCC reflected both the nonbinding nature of the accord and analyses that suggested that the United States could achieve the necessary reduction at little or no cost. Under the UNFCCC, developed countries were to adopt national plans and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The United States submitted such plans in 1992, 1994, 1997, and 2002. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT) has been the principal U.S. statutory response to the UNFCCC. Primarily an energy policy response to the Iraqi takeover of Kuwait and the U.S.-led reaction, EPACT's energy conservation, renewable energy, and other titles were also seen as having a beneficial effect on global climate change concerns. In addition, the George H.W. Bush and Clinton Administrations encouraged voluntary reductions by industry through administrative initiatives, such as EPA's various 'green' programs. This largely voluntary approach to complying with UNFCCC allowed the two Administrations to implement a climate change policy without having to ask Congress for new authorities."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL30024
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