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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 #d90jan103

Dozens of legislative proposals concerning global warming and ozone-depleting chemicals were the topic of hearings and discussions in Congress in 1989, but only a few have made substantial progress. Over the summer, Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell formed a "Task Force on Global Warming" to coordinate Senate Democrats, with Sen. Max Baucus as Chair. Developments since the last GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST review (NEWS, April 1989) are summarized below under several broad headings; many of the bills introduced deal with more than one of these categories. Aside from federal legislation, many states are considering or have adopted measures that limit CFC use in various ways, limit energy use and CO2 emissions, or direct evaluations of the effects of climate change within the state. (See Air/Water Pollut. Rep., p. 365, Nov. 20, 1989.)

Energy Efficiency and CO2 Reduction. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has excerpted a portion of Sen. Timothy Wirth's wide-ranging S. 324. The least-cost national energy plan, being prepared as a separate, smaller bill, is designed to achieve a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by the year 2000 through energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.

The Clean Air Act revision sent to the Senate floor just before the holiday recess would require automakers to meet CO2 emission standards equal to about 33 miles per gallon by 1995, rising to 40 miles per gallon by the year 2000. A separate bill with similar goals (S. 1224, the Motor Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Act) was introduced by Sen. Richard Bryan.

Chlorofluorocarbons. Late in the session, Congress cleared a deficit reduction bill that includes a tax on CFCs that is expected to raise $489 million in 1990 and $1.3 billion by 1994, according to Chemical Week (p. 6, Dec. 6, 1989). The article also discusses industry's vigorous objections to the proposal, which had been brewing for several months. Pending legislation introduced by Rep. James Bates and Senators Wirth, Baucus, Chafee and Leahy also deals with CFCs.

Climate Change Research. A broadly supported bill introduced by Rep. Robert Roe in July (H.R. 2984) was approved by two House subcommittees in November. It would expand the authority and support of the Bush Administration's Committee on Earth Sciences (CES) for coordinating federal global change research and absorbing most functions of the National Climate Program Office. (See American Meteorology Society's AMS Newsletter, pp. 1-2, Sep. 1989)

H.R. 3332, a later version of the H.R. 980 introduced by Rep. Walter Jones, has been moving through the House committees; it would establish a 10-year research plan and create a Council on Global Environmental Policy to advise the president.

Effects on Agriculture. Sen. Patrick Leahy introduced S. 1610 on Sep. 12, 1989, which would direct the Department of Agriculture to take an active role in reducing the effect of global warming on the nation's food supply and its forests. It would also require that foreign assistance be granted in a manner that minimizes tropical deforestation, a feature included in several other bills under consideration.

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