Obama introduces ambitious energy plan
Barack Obama unveiled the details of his energy policy proposal in a speech in New Hampshire today, and he’s swinging for the fences. At the center is a cap-and-trade system that would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. Notably, Obama is the first major presidential candidate to propose that 100 percent of the initial emission permits be auctioned rather than freely allocated, a policy favored by analysts but not so much by the polluters that were looking forward to free credits. Auctioning the permits would raise a considerable amount of money, which Obama would spend on energy R&D, “green jobs” programs for low-income workers, and a clean energy venture capital fund to move existing clean tech to market. Also in the proposal, a renewable portfolio standard that would require 25 percent of U.S. electricity to come from renewables by 2025, boosts in vehicle and building efficiency, and — sigh — a bunch of money for ethanol and “clean coal.” Guess you can’t win ’em all.