Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, urged on by President Barack Obama, announced progress on Tuesday toward quick passage of legislation to fight global warming by reducing industrial emissions of carbon dioxide.
At a midday White House press conference, Obama said the “historic”climate change bill moving through the House would “transform the way we produce and use energy in America.”
With incentives to encourage utilities, manufacturers and other companies to switch from higher-polluting oil and coal to cleanerenergy alternatives, Obama said the legislation would spark a “transformation that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and confront the carbon pollution that threatens our planet.”
Hours after Obama’s remarks, House Democrats announced they had reached a deal on difficult agriculture issues in the legislation, clearing the way for a vote and probable passage in the chamber this week.
Representative Henry Waxman, a main proponent of the climate change bill in the House, told reporters that farmers won several of the demands they had been holding out for in exchange for supporting the climate bill.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was cautiously optimistic, telling reporters, it is “quite possible and maybe even probable” the bill will be debated on Friday and pass.
With House passage, the climate change debate would shift to the Senate, which has not yet crafted its own bill and where passage is more complicated than in the House because Republicans could use delaying tactics.
As Obama was leading the charge for climate change legislation cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050 (from 2005 levels), his administration acted on another clean energy front.