2007 United States Climate Policy Legislation

In January and Febraury of 2007, several important pieces of legislation have been introduced in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives. They represent a recognition that the government must play an active and aggressive role in stemming the tide of climate change, as well as signaling the the U.S. is focusing on international cooperation.

Bill # S.280 (Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act of 2007) introduced by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) is the most aggressive and most similar to the European Union emissions trading scheme enacted in January of 2005. The bill, which has received bipartisan sponsorship, calls for a trading scheme in which the government will issue credits for the emission of green house gases (GHGs). Firms that emit less GHGs than they have credit for will be able to sell their credits to other firms that emit more than their own credits allow. Firms that produce pollutants more than they have credit for will be taxed based on the amount of pollutants they release. It's attraction is that it creates a market for pollution credit, thus applying free market forces on the problem of climate change.

Bill # S.309 (A bill to amend the Clean Air Act to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, and for other purposes) Introducted by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and co-sponsored by 11 democracts and 1 independent, takes a more regulatory approach to climate change policy. It directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set limits on net levels of emissions by taking a market based approach. This means that the EPA will be issuing the credits for an emissions trading scheme based on research of which it is in charge. The EPA will also be in charge of setting guidelines for the energy industry for emissions reduction. The bill also will require the automotive industry to meet emissions reduction standards by 2016. Other powers of regulatory enforcement are given to the Department of Commerce and Security and Exchange Commission. The bill is similar to the one sponsored by Senator Lieberman (S.208) in that it calls for an emissions trading scheme, but it takes a more comprehensive approach and allocates more implementation power to various government agencies.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson (D-IL) has proposed a bill that would add an ammendment to the U.S. constitution that guarantees the right to a safe, clean, and sustainable environment. Bill #H.J Res33

Bill # H.R. 204 (The Right to Know About Airport Pollution Act) This bill aims to study, reduce, and make transparent the pollution in areas around commercial airports. It charges the Environmental protection agency with studying the impact of commericial airports on the surrounding areas and determining if efforts should be made to reduce the emissions of airplanes. It also requires that all information about pollution from airports be made available to the public.

Bill # H.R. 792 (Growing Responsible Energy and Environment Nationally Through Federal Energy Decision Act) This legislation would ammend the Energy Policy Act of 1992, and would require that in areas where ethanol blended gasoline is price competitive, nearby government agencies purchase 10% of this fuel for agency cars. It also stipulates that all government agencies should use 20% alternative fuels in 10 years.