Post-election, Obama suggests comprehensive climate bill is dead
Nov 3, 2010, 19:04 GMT
Washington - President Barack Obama acknowledged Wednesday that US efforts to put a price on the cost of carbon dioxide emissions blamed for global warming would be put off for at least the next two years.
With Republicans in control of the House of Representatives after Tuesday's landslide election, Obama said he would push for more piecemeal incentives for developing alternative energies that could help the United States reduce its carbon footprint.
Most Republicans had campaigned against a so-called cap-and-trade bill, which would have put a ceiling on US climate pollution and allow cleaner and dirtier firms to trade emissions permits.
Obama had made tackling climate change a priority in his first term. A cap-and-trade bill was passed by the House but stalled in the Senate, branded unnecessarily harmful to the US economy by conservatives and some Democratic opponents.
With Republicans now in control of the House, 'it's doubtful that you could get the votes to pass that through the House this year, or next year, or the year after,' Obama said in a press conference at the White House.
But Obama insisted the US could still achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions without cap and trade. He cited bipartisan agreement on developing natural gas, electric cars and nuclear energy.
'Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat,' Obama said. 'It was a means, not an end.'
Obama will have to take his case to another international climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, starting at the end of this month. The meeting is a follow-up to the Copenhagen climate summit last December, where world leaders failed to agree on a new global climate treaty.
Obama said it was important 'not to have us ignore the science' behind global warming, 'but rather to find ways that can solve these problems.'
Any global climate treaty would have to be approved by the Senate, where Obama's Democrats still retain a slim majority after Tuesday's election.
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