Budget to have CO2 revenues by 2012: White House

Century City and downtown Los Angeles are seen through the smog December 31, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama’s budget accounts for revenues from an emissions trading system in 2012, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Tuesday.

“That’s true,” Gibbs said when asked whether a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases would be in place in time for revenues to be generated by 2012.

The president, a Democrat, has said he wants the United States to take the lead in fighting climate change.

During his presidential campaign Obama laid out plans for a trading system that would set limits on greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and allow factories to trade permits to pollute more.

The European Union is anxious for the United States to develop a trading system to hook up with its own established scheme.

Obama has not released any details about his plans for such a system since taking office, while his administration focused on lifting the country out of recession and shoring up the banking system.

The president has made clear, however, that investments in renewable energy would be part of the economic recovery process.

Shortly after he won the November 4 election, Obama reiterated his commitment to fighting climate change, despite the financial crisis, pledging to “engage vigorously” in global warming talks with other countries.

The White House website says Obama plans to implement an “economy-wide cap-and-trade program” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Doina Chiacu