Oil report

Obama: cap-and-trade may be separate in Senate bill

NASHUA, N.H., Feb 2 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama acknowledged on Tuesday that a controversial “cap-and-trade” mechanism to fight climate change could be separated from other aspects of an energy bill before the U.S. Senate.

A cap-and-trade system would set limits on greenhouse gas emissions and allow companies to trade permits to pollute. The system, a version of which was approved by the House of Representatives, is controversial, especially among lawmakers that represent states with big coal reserves.

“The most controversial aspects of the energy debate that we’ve been having: the House passed an energy bill and people complained that, ‘well, there’s this cap-and-trade thing,’” Obama told the crowd.

“We may be able to separate these things out. And it’s conceivable that that’s where the Senate ends up,” he continued.

Other, more popular parts of the energy bill seek to boost renewable energy such as wind and solar power. Those parts may be easier to pass.

A White House spokesman said the president still supported comprehensive climate and energy legislation as one package.

Obama made it clear he wanted a market mechanism to put a price on carbon.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; Editing by Doina Chiacu