Climate Change Bills Markup

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 04 Dec 2007 19:30:00 GMT

  • S 1581 — Federal Ocean Acidification Research And Monitoring (FOARAM) Act of 2007
  • S 2307 — Global Change Research Improvement Act of 2007
  • S 2355 — Climate Change Adaptation Act
  • S 2332 — Media Ownership Act of 2007
From CQ:
Several bills designed to promote research on adapting to global warming were approved Tuesday by a Senate panel.

The bills are not geared toward limiting climate change. Rather, they are aimed at helping federal, state and local officials adapt to the possible consequences of global warming.

The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved the measures by voice vote. The Environment and Public Works Committee will begin marking up a broad climate-change bill Wednesday.

Tuesday’s markup was mostly perfunctory, but one bill did engender some debate. The measure (S 2355), sponsored by Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., would require the president to prepare a strategy for addressing the impacts of climate change in the United States and require federal departments and agencies to prepare adaptation plans.

The legislation also would direct the Commerce secretary to conduct regional assessments of the vulnerability of ocean and coastal resources.

Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, said science does not currently have the ability to make those types of predictions on a regional scale.

“This requirement of the bill would have many significant impacts on the economy of my state,” Stevens said.

Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said she would work with Stevens to address his concerns as the measure proceeds.

The committee also approved a bill (S 2307), sponsored by John Kerry, D-Mass., and Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, that would set up a “national climate service” within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to assess the impacts of climate change at state and local levels.

Proponents say state and local governments do not have enough information about how global warming could affect specific regions of the country. They also say the government needs to do a better job of relaying this information in a way that is relevant to policy makers.

The bill is partly a response to criticism of the government’s implementation of the 1990 Global Change Research Act (PL 101-606), which requires assessments every four years of the impacts of changes in the global environment. The Clinton administration issued one national assessment in 2000, but the Bush administration has not issued one.

The bill would amend the law to clarify how comprehensive an assessment should be, a Senate aide said. It also would require a new strategic plan for the Global Change Research Program, an interagency group established under the law.

Many similar provisions in the bill are included in House-passed energy legislation (HR 3221). The two chambers are now preparing to move a new version of the energy bill to the floor; it remains unclear whether the climate-science language will become part of the final package.

The panel also approved a bill (S 1581) that would establish an interagency committee on ocean acidification. Greenhouse gas emissions can make oceans more acidic, potentially destroying ecosystems. It was introduced by Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J.