The Safe Climate Act of 2007

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The Safe Climate Act of2007 (H.R. 1590), introduced by Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat from California, is a bill designed to take action to avoid the predicted, most severe effects of global warming on the environment. The bill focuses on increasing reliance on renewable energy sources and efficient energy. It establishes pollution reduction targets that aim to keep temperatures below the 2°F (1.2°C) "tipping point" that scientists refer to as the dangerous point beyond which drastic climate changes will be unavoidable. In order to stay below the tipping point, the concentrations of global warming pollutants must not exceed 450 ppm by 2100.

The bill establishes pollution reduction targets designed to keep levels below this limit. Emission levels are set at 2010 levels and then gradually reduced through 2050. From 2011 to 2020, emissions are cut 2 percent per year, after which reductions are cut 5 percent per year.

Under these guidelines, by midcentury, emissions are calculated to be 80 percent lower than in 1990.

In order to reach these goals, the bill requires an increased reliance on clean, renewable energy sources, improved energy efficiency, and clean cars. It directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to establish national standards requiring 20 percent of electricity to be generated from renewable energy resources by 2020. It also requires utilities to obtain 10 percent of their energy supplies through energy efficiency in 2020.

Standards must also be set for reducing global warming emissions from motor vehicles, which are at least as rigorous as the current California standards. It also directs the EPA to set a cap on global warming emissions from the largest polluters and allow polluters to meet the cap by buying and selling pollution allowances—a type of "pollution permit." The funds that are generated from the allowances sales are then deposited in the "Climate Reinvestment Fund," and are then used for public benefit and to promote economic growth, including helping fish and wildlife adapt to a changing climate.

The bill also requires the National Academy of Sciences to review on a five-year cycle the progress in order to enable adjustments to be made where necessary.

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