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Obama Rejects Carbon Tax, Prefers Focus on Jobs

The White House rejected the idea of proposing a carbon tax, just days after President Barack Obama called for action on climate change in his inaugural address.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration has not proposed and has “no intention of proposing a carbon tax,” according to transcripts of a press briefing. Carney was responding to a question about whether President Obama supported legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, that would issue penalties on fossil fuel companies that generate carbon dioxide.

Instead, the Obama Administration’s climate agenda will be tied to spurring investment in renewable energy projects that create jobs, said Brian Deese, deputy director of the National Economic Council. The Obama Administration will also explore ways to use other types of legislation – such as the upcoming effort to overhaul the tax code – to achieve clean energy goals, Reuters reported.

Deese said Obama wants to see “targeted and smart” investments in research and demonstration projects, and plans to use the corporate tax reform process to try and level the playing field for renewable forms of energy, Reuters said.

Obama will have fewer dollars this time around to meet those goals. During his first term, $90 billion in economic stimulus funds were used for green jobs projects.

Obama also still wants Congress to pass a “clean energy standard” with annual targets for electricity from clean sources. This would allow utilities to choose the type of renewable power source that would best suit their needs, Deese said.

A survey released this month found a majority of Americans believe businesses are better suited than the government to cope with climate change. The survey by communications group Havas Worldwide found US consumers expect business to take on duties that were once the task of government.

Photo: White House

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