Huffman Introduces Bill to Require Congressional Budget Office to Estimate Carbon Footprint of Bills Considered Before Congress
WASHINGTON—On the eve of a Senate vote to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would drastically increase America’s greenhouse gas emissions, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) introduced a bill that would require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to estimate and report the projected carbon footprint of bills considered before Congress. Many bills considered by the U.S. Congress have the potential to increase or decrease carbon emissions, and lawmakers and the American public have a right to know how each would affect our environment. The Carbon Pollution Transparency Act of 2014, first introduced in the Senate by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), would provide such information from the Congressional Budget Office, a well-respected, neutral umpire that already provides long-term financial forecasting for the most important bills that go before Congress.
“This bill would provide Congress and the American public with nonpartisan, objective information on how legislation would help or hinder our efforts to decrease carbon emissions and fight climate change. Just as each bill’s projected financial impact is of incredible importance, the total carbon impact should be a serious consideration for lawmakers.” Huffman said. “If this bill were law, I have a hunch that many members of the Senate might think twice about voting ‘yea’ on the Keystone XL pipeline bill before them today.”
The Carbon Pollution Transparency Act of 2014 would:
- Require that the Director of the Congressional Budget Office include a carbon score with every analysis of a public bill or resolution it submits to a Congressional Office under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 on the same timeline as the financial analysis.
- Require that the carbon score be based on the incremental change in carbon emissions relative to the current level of emissions likely to result from the activities required to carry out the bill.
- Require the Director to estimate emissions using established best practices, including life-cycle analysis and internationally recognized methodologies.