Statements and Speeches

Statement on Black Carbon Study Legislation (S.849)

Environment and Public Works Business Meeting

May 14 2009

I’d like to thank our Chairwoman for supporting and moving my bipartisan black carbon study legislation.

I also want to thank Senators Inhofe and Kerry for their hard work on this legislation and Senator Collins for her support.

Taking steps to reduce black carbon emissions is a win-win situation. It will lessen the threat of global warming and at the same time improve global public health.

Black carbon emissions – sometimes called soot – are the dark particles emitted when you burn fossil fuels, biomass and biofuels.

In the United States, we see mainly black carbon from old, dirty diesel engines.

Internationally, black carbon comes from old cook stoves, inefficient industrial processes, and dirty diesel engines.

Black carbon contributes to serious respiratory and cardiovascular health problems, even death.

Scientists also believe black carbon emissions contribute to global warming. In fact, it’s estimated to be the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide.

However, there is still a lot we do not know about black carbon.

This bill asks the EPA to identify: 1. global black carbon sources and cost-effective reduction technologies; 2. opportunities for current and possible international funding for mitigation; and 3. opportunities for future research and development. 

Here in the United States, we have made great progress in reducing black carbon by regulating new diesel engines and by a voluntary national diesel retrofit program.

But, we still have over 11 million old diesel engines without proper emission control technology. And we still have a black carbon problem in this country.

This legislation will enable us to build on the progress we have already made and use our resources wisely to go after black carbon emissions domestically and internationally.