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Sunday, September 6, 2009

On climate change, the Obama administration has poured billions of dollars into projects to save energy or make it cleanly. But its real test is coming -- and looking harder all the time.

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This fall, the Senate takes up a bill to cap U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions -- allowing power plants, oil refineries and Wall Street bankers to buy and sell credits to pollute. Obama supported this kind of "cap and trade" system during the campaign, but now environmentalists say he may need to intervene personally -- as he has on health care, with public speeches and private lobbying of moderate Democrats and Republicans -- to save it.

The climate bill has been attacked by the oil and coal lobbies as a devastating tax on energy. Still, Carol Browner, the administration's climate "czar," said last week Obama will not give up on the idea of a cap on emissions.

-- David A. Fahrenthold

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