Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Obama Wants 'Price' on Carbon Emissions. Republicans See 'Tax.'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Obama Wants 'Price' on Carbon Emissions. Republicans See 'Tax.'

Article excerpt

Putting a price on carbon emissions will help America reduce dependence on polluting fossil fuels and speed the transition to clean energy, Obama told a bipartisan group of senators Tuesday. Republicans decried that idea as a tax that will hurt the economy.

President Obama urged a bipartisan group of senators Tuesday to put a "price" on carbon pollution, as they draft energy and climate legislation the White House hopes to pass this year.

Many Republicans call carbon pricing a "tax" that would harm the already-ailing economy, and therefore they oppose it. But in the eyes of many Democrats, including Mr. Obama, a "polluter pays" provision in the legislation will help reduce America's unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels.

"The president told the senators that he still believes the best way for us to transition to a clean energy economy is with a bill that makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America's businesses by putting a price on pollution - because when companies pollute, they should be responsible for the costs to the environment and their contribution to climate change," according to a White House readout of the closed-door session with about 20 senators.

"Not all of the senators agreed with this approach," the statement added, "and the president welcomed other approaches and ideas."

Democratic senators who attended the meeting said afterward that Obama argued passionately for pricing carbon emissions. But they also acknowledged Republican resistance, and are trying to find a compromise that can win enough votes to pass. One Senate leader on the issue, John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts, said he and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut are ready to "scale back the reach of our legislation" to gain more support.

Last year, the House passed energy and climate-change legislation, but its ambitious "cap and trade" system for limiting carbon emissions is a nonstarter in the Senate. …

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