It's been apparent for quite some time that the Senate is unlikely to follow the House's lead in calling for the creation of an economy-wide market in greenhouse gas emissions. But today, at a town hall meeting in Nashua, NH, President Obama seemed, however reluctantly, to acknowledge the political reality.
"The most controversial aspects of the energy debate that we've been having: The House passed an energy bill, and people complained about, well, there's this cap and trade thing, and you just mentioned, you know, let's do the fun stuff before we do the hard stuff," Obama told former New Hampshire Rep. Dick Swett.
The only thing I would say about it is this. We may be able to separate these things out, and it-it's conceivable that that's where the Senate ends up, but the concept of incentivizing clean energy so that it's the cheaper more effective kind of energy is one that is proven to work and is actually a market-based approach.
The remarks represent the first time the President has acknowledged that the Senate may not be willing to adopt a cap and trade system: the central feature of the climate change initiative that Obama ran on during the 2008 campaign.
Obama's tacit acceptance of the move to drop emissions pricing from a comprehensive climate and energy bill appears to make that result only more likely--and will likely raise the ire of environmentalists, who see an emissions market as key to addressing the dangers of climate change.
[ed. note: This post has been edited from the original.]