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. Polluters pay under Obama's 'green' budget

Americans would receive some 63 billion dollars in tax breaks and other assistance from the sale of these polluting rights in the form of tax breaks for individuals and businesses converting to clean energy technology.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Feb 26, 2009
Barack Obama hopes to raise some 80 billion dollars each year beginning in 2012 by imposing market-based limits on climate-warming gases, according to the president's draft budget released Thursday.

The potentially groundbreaking program -- similar to one already in place in Europe -- would rev up US efforts to global warming by reducing the output of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming, at the same time raising direly-needed revenue for the depleted US Treasury.

The administration's proposed program was part of a 3.55-trillion-dollar budget unveiled by the president Thursday.

The budget blueprint would institute what frequently is referred to as a "cap and trade" system which would limit allowable emissions of greenhouse gases by manufacturers, and permit companies to trade the rights to pollute to other manufacturers.

The program forces heavy polluters to buy credits from companies that pollute less, creating financial incentives to fight global warming.

The approach -- fiercely opposed by the George W. Bush administration as too costly for companies -- penalizes the companies that emit the most greenhouse gases, while rewarding the country's "greenest" business enterprises.

The United States is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and Bush walked away from the 1997 Kyoto treaty which aimed to combat climate change.

Obama would set aside as much a 15 billion dollars per year for the development of "clean energy" technologies like wind power and solar energy, doubling America's supply of renewable energy in the next three years.

Meanwhile, Americans would receive some 63 billion dollars in tax breaks and other assistance from the sale of these polluting rights in the form of tax breaks for individuals and businesses converting to clean energy technology.

In a major speech to the US Congress on Tuesday, Obama said legislation setting market-based caps on the emissions of carbon gases.

"To truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy," Obama told lawmakers in his first-ever address to Congress.

"I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America."

Senator Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Environment Committee, heeded the president's plea.

"We will work in partnership with the president, and we will answer his call," she said in a statement after the speech.

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Russian navy accepts blame for oil spill off Ireland
Dublin (AFP) Feb 26, 2009
The Russian navy has admitted responsibility for a 500-tonne oil spill off the south coast of Ireland this month, an Irish transport ministry spokeswoman said on Thursday.

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