A President Barack Obama would spend $150 billion over 10 years on a push to develop new renewable fuel and clean coal technology, reduce greenhouse gases that fuel global warming and requires those who pollute to pay for that right on a per-ton of carbon basis.
That carbon tax is favored by many economists as the cleanest, most efficient way to spur innovation in new non-polluting energy technologies, and Obama's plan pushes toward the tax-side of the spectrum. Obama's plan would build on a cap-and-trade system wherein a national cap on emissions is set, and polluters are allowed to trade credits for units of pollution they avoid emitting.
His approach would require companies to bid on all available carbon credits in an auction, whereas other cap-and-trade proposals for carbon include some mix of giveaways and auction.
Obama's targets mirror California's goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 -- a goal that exceeds the European Union's. Among candidates, only New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has announced a more aggressive goal: 90% by 2050.
Note: The Daily Green inappropriately referred to the price of the auction credits as a "carbon tax" yesterday.
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