Energy Secretary Chu Opens Door to Carbon Tax

Energy Secretary Steven Chu signaled that the Obama administration may consider a tax on carbon emissions, a measure to combat climate change that top Democrats have spurned up to this point.

Chu, in an interview with The New York Times published Thursday, said that alternatives to the cap-and-trade system of reducing carbon emissions could emerge. One of those alternatives could be a carbon tax.

President Obama himself has expressed support for the cap-and-trade approach, which would set limits on emissions. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to have the House vote on legislation instituting the system this year. And earlier this month, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, set as a goal the creation of a cap-and-trade system.

Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, also said that any solution to climate change requires breakthroughs in energy research.

"I think science and technology can generate much better choices" for energy, Dr. Chu said. "It has, consistently, over hundreds and hundreds of years."

Chu said he supported putting a price on carbon emissions, but he added that cap-and-trade measures could result in an increase in energy prices and the loss of U.S. jobs to places where energy is cheaper.

"The concern about cap-and-trade in today

More in Energy & Environment

How critics plan to torpedo Obama’s prized climate rule

Read more »