Senate Committee OKs Bill Directing EPA to Study Soot

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and John Kerry (D-Mass.) on Sept. 17 welcomed approval by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee of their legislation directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study the role of soot emissions in global warming and to identify technologies and strategies to reduce those emissions.

Recent scientific studies have concluded that soot, also known as "black carbon," plays a more significant role in global warming than previously thought.

"So-called 'black carbon' emissions may play a significant role in global warming and also may contribute to serious respiratory health problems. The study mandated by this legislation will provide crucial answers about the extent of the damage caused by black carbon and will put us on the path toward reducing those harmful emissions," Clinton said. "Winning the approval of this key committee is a major step forward for this important legislation."

A study published earlier this year in Nature Geoscience concluded that the atmospheric warming impact of black carbon emissions is as much as three to four times higher than estimated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released last year. One strategy for reducing black carbon emissions would be to retrofit older trucks, buses. and other heavy-duty diesel engines with equipment to reduce emissions.

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