Sens. Carper, Inhofe, Boxer & Kerry Introduce Black Carbon Bill

Bipartisan Legislation Directs the EPA to Conduct a Comprehensive Study on Black Carbon Emissions to Improve Worldwide Public Health and Reduce Global Warming Impacts

WASHINGTON – On this Earth Day 2009, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced legislation directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study the environmental impact of black carbon and the most cost-effective ways to reduce its emissions to improve public health and reduce global warming.

Black carbon – a dangerous pollutant emitted by old, dirty diesel engines like school buses – is thought to be the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide.

This bipartisan bill directs the EPA to do a four-phase study that 1) develops a universal definition of black carbon; 2) identifies global black carbon sources and reduction technologies; 3) identifies current and possible international funding opportunities to mitigate black carbon emissions; and 4) identifies opportunities for future research and development.

The senators stressed that the United States has made progress in reducing this air pollutant by regulating new diesel engines and by a voluntary national diesel retrofit program. But, because the nation still has more than 11 million old diesel engines without proper emission control technology, black carbon remains a serious health and environmental threat. 

“Taking bold steps to reduce black carbon emissions is a win-win situation because it will lessen the threat of global warming and improve global public health,” Sen. Carper, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, said. “This EPA black carbon study will help us find the most cost-effective control ways to reduce a dangerous air pollutant.”

“Domestically we have made great progress in reducing black carbon emissions though low sulfur diesel fuel and retrofit programs,” Sen. Inhofe said. “It is important, however, to continue to research the effects of black carbon. This research may also lead to an understanding on how to lessen its impacts on developing countries, in Africa, China and India.”  

Sen. Boxer, Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, said “This legislation is an important step in our strategy to address black carbon emitted by dirty diesel engines. Black carbon is the second largest cause of global warming, and this bill will ensure that we have the information we need to address this dangerous pollutant.”

“The science emphatically proves thatblack carbon has a larger impact on climate change than was previously understood and we can’t escape reality. Additional findings from the EPA on the effects of soot emissions are needed so we can craft the best policy response to combat the climate crisis,” said Sen. Kerry.

This black carbon study is due to Congress in one year.