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Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

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STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS -- (Senate - July 06, 2009)

By Ms. COLLINS (for herself and Mr. Durbin):

S. 1396. A bill to direct the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to carry out a pilot program to promote the production and use of fuel-efficient stoves engineered to produce significantly less black carbon than traditional stoves, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I rise today to offer a bill to reduce the production of black carbon, a potent contributor to global climate change. I am pleased to be joined on this bill by my friend and colleague, Senator Durbin, as the lead cosponsor.

Black carbon is a particulate produced during the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing materials. It has been estimated to have, on an equivalent mass basis, more than 500 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Reducing the production of black carbon would help stabilize the global climate.

Black carbon is produced by some events, such as forest fires, that cannot easily be corrected by Senate actions. My bill addresses a mechanism of black carbon production that we can influence.

Throughout the world today, an estimated two billion people cook with solid fuels over an open fire or with primitive stoves. More than 50 percent of the controllable black carbon emissions in the world are due to these practices. Modern stoves, designed to efficiently burn fuel, can eliminate up to 90 percent of the black carbon produced during cooking and home heating.

Additionally, cooking and heating with poorly designed stoves emits noxious gases and particulates. Experts believe that these pollutants cause the premature deaths of over 1 million people, chiefly women and children, each year. Replacing these stoves with modern alternatives will strongly reduce the number of these deaths. There is a real need to find alternatives to those poorly performing stoves to improve global environmental and human health.

The U.S. Agency for International Development carries out activities under a number of existing projects to place low-cost, fuel efficient stoves in poor communities. It has found that, to be successful, the new stoves must be customized to fit the needs and cooking traditions of the community. These programs have had a very positive impact. But, they have not had the resources to optimize stoves to minimize black carbon emissions.

Our bill authorizes $1 million per year for 2 years for the U.S. Agency for International Development to conduct a pilot program to develop and test stoves that optimize both fuel efficiency and black carbon reduction.

This measure addresses an issue, global climate change, that we must take very seriously. It also provides funding that, while addressing an important global pollutant, also alleviates a public health disaster affecting developing nations. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

S. 1396

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