Global Climate Change Briefing Book
Congressional Research Service
Redistributed as a service of the National Library for the Environment

Energy Issues

Larry Parker

A long-term sustained effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions would have a substantial effect on energy policy. About 98% of U.S. carbon emissions result from fossil fuel combustion (coal, oil, and natural gas). Much of the current effort to control such emissions focuses on using energy more efficiently (i.e., energy conservation), on advancing technologies that emit less carbon (e.g., high efficiency combustion) or no carbon (e.g., solar, wind, geothermal, other renewables), and on developing innovative technologies and strategies to capture and dispose of carbon dioxide emitted during fossil fuel combustion. Indeed, much of the variation in cost estimates to control carbon emissions revolves around the availability and cost of carbon-free technologies and carbon-reducing technologies, such as energy efficiency and energy conservation equipment.

CRS Products

CRS Report 98-615, Electricity Restructuring: The Implications for Air Quality. Includes discussion of potential effects of electricity restructuring on carbon dioxide emissions.

CRS Report RS20326, Electricity Restructuring and Air Quality: Comparison of Proposed Legislation. Includes comparison of proposed legislation introduced in the 106th Congress to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electric generating facilities.

CRS Issue Brief IB10020, Energy Efficiency: Budget, Climate Change, and Electricity Restructuring Issues. [pdf: 7/27/01] [html: 3/14/01]

CRS Report RL30285, Global Climate Change: Lowering Cost Estimates through Emissions Trading -- Some Dynamics and Pitfalls.[8/20/99] Discusses reports estimating the cost of U.S. compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, and the impact of emissions trading on those estimates.

CRS Report RL30155, Global Climate Change Policy: Domestic Early Action Credits. [7/23/99] Discusses issues surrounding proposals to credit polluters for early actions taken to reduce greenhouse gases, and compares legislative proposals introduced in the 106th Congress to implement such a program.

CRS Report 97-1017, Industrial Energy Intensiveness and Energy Costs in the Context of Climate Change Policy. [html: 11/21/97] [pdf: 11/21/97]

Additional Reading

For a report suggesting renewable energy may not be cost-effective, see Robert L. Bradley. "Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not 'Green'" Cato Policy Analysis #280, August 27, 1997.

For a report suggesting greenhouse gas reductions can be achieved while saving consumers money and creating new jobs, see Energy Innovations: A Prosperous Path to a Clean Environment. Report prepared jointly by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), The Alliance to Save Energy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Tellus Institute, and Union of Concerned Scientists, June, 1997.

For a study conducted by five of DOE's national laboratories suggesting that substantial reductions in energy consumption and CO2 emissions are possible without harming the economy or significantly altering lifestyles, see Scenarios of Carbon Reductions, Potential Impact of Energy Technologies by 2010 and Beyond, prepared by the Interlaboratory Working Group on Energy-Efficient and Low-Carbon Technologies for the U.S. Department of Energy. Undated. A second report by the five laboratories was released in November, 2000, entitled: Scenarios for a Clean Energy Future .

For a study conducted by DOE's Energy Information Administration on the potential energy and economic effects of implementing the Kyoto Protocol, see Energy Information Administration, Impact of the Kyoto Protocol on U.S. Energy Markets and Economic Activity. Prepared for the U.S. House, SR/OIAF/98-02, October 1998.

For the Clinton Administration's analysis on the effects of implementing the Kyoto Protocol, see The Kyoto Protocol and the President's Policies to Address Climate Change: Administration Economic Analysis. White House, July 1998.

For a summary of recent analytical work organized by the Stanford Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) with respect to Kyoto implementation, see John P. Weyant and Jennifer N. Hill, "Introduction and Overview," in The Energy Journal, Special Issue, 1999, pp. vii-xliv.

Selected Web Sites

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

American Petroleum Institute

American Wind Energy Association

Coalition for Vehicle Choice

Edison Electric Institute

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network (EREN at the U.S. Department of Energy)

Global Climate Coalition

Heritage Foundation

International Energy Agency

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), DOE's national laboratory dedicated to renewable technology

Pew Center On Global Climate Change

U.S. Energy Information Administration's reports on greenhouse gas emissions

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Wise Program

Western Fuels Association

Page last updated January 4, 2001. Updated by NCSE: September 6, 2001.

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