Obama Proposes Deep Greenhouse Gas Cuts
Monday, October 8, 2007; 11:01 PM
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- Democrat Barack Obama is calling for sharply reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and forcing power companies and other businesses to pay for all of their pollution.
He said Monday that he would get results, unlike those whom he said are bound by the unwritten rules and timidity of Washington politics.
"Our energy problem has become an energy crisis because no matter how well-intentioned the promise, no matter how bold the proposal, they all fall victim to the same Washington politics," Obama said.
He spoke at the new, energy-efficient Portsmouth Public Library, where about 100 invited guests watched a short video featuring every president since Gerald Ford promising to curb the use of fossil fuels _ contrasted with a graphic illustrating the nation's increasing dependence on foreign oil. Obama suggested his rivals for the Democratic nomination would provide more of the same.
"There are some in this race who actually make the argument that the more time you spend immersed in the broken politics of Washington, the more likely you are to change it," he said. "I find this a little amusing."
Obama, who has been working to overcome suggestions that he's too inexperienced to be president, said those with long Washington careers have failed to act on issues such as higher fuel economy standards for cars and trucks.
"When they had the chance to stand up and require automakers to raise their fuel standards, they refused. When they had multiple chances to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by investing in renewable fuels that we can literally grow right here in America, they said no," he said.
"As president, I will set a hard cap on all carbon emissions at a level that scientists say is necessary to curb global warming, an 80 percent reduction by 2050," he said.
He proposed a modified "cap and trade" approach to reduce emissions, requiring businesses to buy allowances if they pollute, creating an incentive to reduce energy usage.
"No business will be allowed to emit any greenhouse gases for free," he said. "Businesses don't own the sky, the public does, and if we want them to stop polluting it, we have to put a price on all pollution."
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., has said she is intrigued by the carbon auction system but has stopped short of endorsing it. Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut has proposed taxing polluters for their carbon emissions.
Separate from the energy proposal, Obama joined rival John Edwards Monday in criticizing Clinton for voting for a Senate resolution that urges the State Department to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.