Climate Change: Federal Laws and Policies Related to Greenhouse Gas Reductions [Updated January 28, 2008] [open pdf - 137KB]
"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 greenhouse gases. Over the past 15 years, a variety of voluntary and regulatory actions have been proposed or undertaken in the United States, including monitoring of utility carbon dioxide emissions, improved appliance efficiency, and incentives for developing renewable energy sources. In 2001, President George W. Bush rejected the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC, which called for legally binding commitments by developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 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. This focus is particularly evident in the Administration's 2006 Climate Action Report (CAR) submitted under the provisions of the UNFCCC. Of the roughly 50 programs summarized in the 2006 CAR, only seven are described as 'regulatory.' These regulatory programs were generally implemented to achieve energy or environmental goals other than the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but produced a concomitant emissions reduction. In this sense, they could be considered the results of a 'no regrets'3 policy in which climate change effects resulting from related air quality and energy policies are included in the decision-making process on new or modified rules. This report provides background on the evolution of U.S. climate change policy from ratification of the UNFCCC to the George W. Bush Administration's rejection of the Kyoto Protocol programs, to the present. Current major regulatory programs that monitor or reduce greenhouse gas emissions are identified, along with their estimated effect on greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, energy legislation enacted in the 109th and 110th Congresses that could directly or indirectly reduce greenhouse gases is discussed."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31931
National Agricultural Law Center: http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/