Chu: Don’t wait for ‘perfect’ climate bill

Energy Secretary Steven Chu says there’s no reason to wait around for a "perfect" global warming bill. He spoke to The Washington Post’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview published Tuesday.

Chu calls putting a price on carbon “essential.” And he notes the cap-and-trade program for sulfur dioxide emissions, which cause acid rain, launched in the early 1990s turned out to be far less expensive than predicted.

Here’s the exchange that ties it all together:

Zakaria: When you look at the cap-and-trade bill that is floating around Congress, is it strong enough to do what you think needs to be done?

Chu: This is my belief: Get it going. The Clean Air Act in the early '90s started slowly. But it got [things] going. The important thing was that the cost ended up being far lower than anybody projected, including the [Environmental Protection Agency], who you might think have a vested interest in trying to lowball the cost. It was four times lower than even the EPA estimate. Once you get it going and start making progress, very clever people start to dream up better solutions. So rather than wait around for a perfect bill that that might be delayed for four or five years, or forever, get it going.