Budget proposes shift to green energy

February 26, 2009 11:33:02 AM PST
President Barack Obama's first budget plan moves aggressively on several fronts to tackle climate change and shift the nation from reliance on foreign oil to green energy. The proposed budget released Thursday by the White House would rely on $15 billion a year, beginning in 2012, from auctioning off carbon pollution permits to help develop clean energy technologies, such as solar and wind power. But Congress has yet to write a bill that would regulate heat-trapping gases and collect that money.

Across the government, Obama's commitment to address climate change is apparent.

There's more money at NASA for space-based monitoring of greenhouse gases and expanded support at the Energy Department for finding ways to economically capture carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants.

The document also asks Congress to approve an additional $19 million for the Environmental Protection Agency to measure how much climate-related pollution industries are releasing.

The administration "will work expeditiously" to get Congress to approve an 83 percent reduction in global warming emissions by mid-century, the budget document says.

The administration's success on global warming will depend on a second set of priorities outlined in the budget document to reduce the nation's dependence on fossil fuels, including oil and coal, by quickening the transformation to renewable energy and development of technologies to help people use less energy.

The budget would impose a new excise tax and fees on companies that take oil and natural gas from federal waters and reimposes a tax - again largely targeting the oil industry - to pay for cleaning up Superfund sites.

The budget calls for "significant increases" in cutting-edge research into renewable energy, including solar, wind and geothermal sources and ways to produce non-corn ethanol, and eventually a gasoline-like fuel, from plants.


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