UPDATE 1-Kerry says Obama intends to move votes on energy

Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:22am EDT

Related Topics

 * Obama meeting with Senators on Wednesday
 * Kerry says no single way to price carbon
 * Environmental group says Kerry bill falls short
 (Adds environmental group analysis, details)
 WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) - U.S. Senator John Kerry,
the top sponsor of the climate and energy bill stalled in the
Senate, said President Barack Obama intends to pressure
lawmakers to vote for a bill that would put a price on emitting
greenhouse gases.
 "There's no question in my mind the president is fully
committed. He's fully engaged," Kerry told MSNBC on Tuesday.
"He intends to try to move votes himself and he understands the
seriousness of this effort." 
 Obama is slated to meet leading Republican and Democratic
senators on Wednesday to discuss a way forward for the energy
 It would take 60 of the Senate's 100 votes to pass
controversial legislation that creates a higher price on
carbon. In this election year, some moderate Democrats and
Republicans are hesitant to vote for a bill that would raise
the cost of burning oil and coal in the hope of making cleaner
alternative fuels more competitive.
 If support falls short for placing a price on carbon,
Senate leaders might opt for much a more narrow energy and
environment bill this year.
 The White House meeting will include Kerry, Joe Lieberman,
an independent and co-sponsor of the bill, and Republican
Lindsey Graham, one of the original authors of the legislation
who later dropped support for it.
 Kerry said the bill must include ways to price carbon but
was not "locked into any one single way of doing it."
 "The fact is if we don't price carbon, we will create one
tenth of the jobs and reduce only one tenth of the emissions,"
he said. "It would essentially be an energy-only bill."
 In his address last week on BP's (BP.L) oil spill, Obama
said he was willing to take ideas from both political parties
in order to push forward the bill, which he argued was needed
to help lessen dependence on fossil fuels.
 Kerry and Lieberman unveiled the bill last month that would
require power utilities to cut their output of gases blamed for
global warming. A similar bill passed in the House last year.
 A new analysis of the Kerry-Lieberman bill by the Center
for Biological Diversity concluded that the legislation would
fall short of international goals to keep the planet's
temperatures from rising more than a dangerous 2 degrees
Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
 "There is ... an 80 percent chance that the increase would
exceed 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit), according to
the study. "Even a 2-degree Celsius increase could cause the
displacement of millions due to sea-level rise, irreversible
loss of entire ecosystems and the triggering of multiple
'tipping points' that would result in additional, accelerated
warming," the environmental group said.
 Many policymakers acknowledge that legislation pending in
the U.S. Congress might not fully address global warming
concerns, but they see these bills as an important first step
that could be followed up with tougher efforts later if
 Bill Snape, the center's senior counsel, also criticized
the Kerry-Lieberman bill for including new incentives for
offshore oil drilling, nuclear power and a continued reliance
on coal-fired electricity generation.
 Those provisions were included in an attempt to lure more
support in the Senate.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner and Richard Cowan, Editing by
Sandra Maler)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
minuteman wrote:
There is no doubt that Obama is on a course to bankrupt America. Climategate legislation to tax carbon will literally break the back of the American businessman and the few remaining family farms in America. These farms are wholesale businesses and they cannot pass on the costs of higher energy to the consummer. Obama has no idea if the real economic impact of Tax and Cap on the American economy. He has already endangered one million jobs by stopping one third of US oil production based on faulty poor judgements and now he want energy to be so high that it breaks the economic backs of small businesses. This anti business president has no compassion for independent minded Americans. Only a welfare nanny state can accomplish the goal this socialist wants forced down our throats. We must note every congressman who votes for carbon taxing. We must change the bad oil in congress and get this terrible sludge out of the white house. Remember in November and begin the process of stopping the oil that is greasing the unions wheels at the taxpayer expense.

Jun 22, 2010 6:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.