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Obama administration dedicated to 'clean energy economy'
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The Obama administration is pushing forward with plans to aggressively limit greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming, it was reported on Sunday.

The plans would include a cap-and-trade initiative to limit greenhouse gases and raise the cost of pumping more carbon into the atmosphere, the Los Angeles Times said.

Under the initiative, the government would set limits on carbon emissions by power plants, factories and other installations, but allow those who emit more to buy or trade permits with companies and facilities that emitted less than the prescribed limit, according to the paper.

But the move would amount to a tax, raising energy costs. And several independent studies have suggested that emissions limits would only increase energy price and be a drag on economic growth, at least in the short term.

Despite such fears, the Obama government believed that a "clean energy economy" move would spur competition and promote investment in renewable alternatives to imported oil.

The administration is expected to move forward with a two- pronged effort to stimulate renewable energy supplies and ensure demand for the megawatts they'd produce, said the paper.

The first is to invest heavily in wind power, solar power and biofuels through the massive stimulus bill, while the second is to help those forms of energy compete with cheaper fossil fuels by pumping up fossil fuel costs to reflect the potential economic damage from a warmed Earth, according to the paper.

"If we don't put a price on carbon," said Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. "we'll never get these clean energy sources on line."

Instead of dragging the economy, the plan to limit greenhouse emissions would stimulate the economy and "allow polluters to transition from a high-polluting environment to a low-polluting environment," said Andy Stevenson, a former hedge fund manager who is now a finance advisor for the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York.

(Xinhua News Agency January 26, 2009)

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