Tomorrow Obama will give a big primetime speech about the BP oil disaster, and he's expected to call for some sort of energy bill from Congress. But how far is he going to push? The New York Times reports that the administration is reining in its goals:
President Obama has said that the time has come to put a price on carbon dioxide pollution and vowed to find the votes for it this year. On Thursday, reacting to the defeat of a Republican plan to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating climate-changing emissions, the president again cited the urgent need to pass clean-energy and climate legislation.
Behind the scenes, however, his advisers are working on a more modest package of energy-saving measures that stop well short of an effort to cap carbon emissions across all sectors of the economy.
But Mike Allen of Politico finds other advisers pushing for a full comprehensive climate bill:
Obama plans to include a call for an energy bill in his Oval Office address about the Gulf on Tuesday night. And the Obama administration has told key senators that “an energy deal must include some serious effort to price carbon as a way to slow climate change,” according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide.
“No traditional ‘energy only’ bill [without climate-change provisions] meets their sense of what’s credible as a response to BP, or the president’s own 2008 rhetoric,” the aide said.
There's a fair bit of leeway between those two positions—an energy bill could end up just capping carbon emissions from electric utilities, for instance, while leaving other sectors untouched. But carbon pricing isn't quite dead yet.