Despite President Obama’s renewed attention to climate change, as expressed in his inaugural address, the White House is ruling out any plans to propose a tax on carbon emissions favored by many environmentalist groups.
White House spokesman Jay Carney on Wednesday confirmed that Mr. Obama would pursue stricter carbon-pollution regulations through the Environmental Protection Agency, expanding rules on carbon-emitting plants so they cover existing power plants, as well as newly built ones.
But Mr. Carney repeatedly refused to say whether Mr. Obama would expend any political capital to back climate-change legislation on Capitol Hill, even as environmentalists call on him to get behind new measures.
“I can’t comment on any specific future actions that he might take,” Mr. Carney said, “except that he has demonstrated his record during his first term that we can, together, take action that is not only helpful to our environment in that it addresses the issue of climate change, but it is also helpful in our long-term economic vitality by ensuring that we make investments in new energy technology.”
Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent and self-described socialist who caucuses with the Democrats, said he plans to introduce legislation in February that will charge companies a fee for carbon pollution, in addition to ending tax subsidies for oil and coal companies and making “historic investments” in renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. The bill, he said, would also give consumers a rebate “to offset any efforts by the fossil-fuel companies to jack up their prices,” he said in a statement.
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