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White House Ties Climate Action to Economic Growth

whitehouse2Increasingly, the Obama Administration’s messaging on climate action is tied to opportunities for economic growth.

The proposed cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions would “encourage the development and deployment of the clean-energy technologies that will be critical to address climate change, enhance energy security and create jobs that can’t be outsourced,” Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said during a carbon markets conference in Washington, D.C., according to the New York Times.

The proposed cap-and-trade program would bring U.S. emissions 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

During the recent climate talks in Bonn, Germany, the Obama Administration sent strong signals that it would take a leading role in setting global policy.

“The administration is signaling to the rest of the world that the United States is ready to assume leadership in helping to bring the world together and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and protect the planet,” Sutley said.

On April 7, during a visit to Istanbul, Turkey, Obama acknowledged the cost and difficulty in getting Congress to tax all carbon emissions from power plants and refineries, according to FoxNews.

Any such plan would require massive and expensive changes at factories and utilities, which would pass the costs along to consumers, he said.

Still, Obama said he is dedicated to making the United States a leader in upcoming talks that will replace the Kyoto Protocol. The new agreement would take effect in 2012.

The economic stimulus package would provide  $40 billion for clean-energy technologies and services.

New climate legislation from the House of Representatives, which would cut national greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, is more aggressive than similar measures pushed by the Obama Administration. However, the House bill does not include provisions for the cap-and-trade auction system.

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