October 15, 2007 in Nation/World

Obama warns of increased power costs

Rick Pearson Chicago Tribune

DES MOINES, Iowa – Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama acknowledged Sunday that Americans would pay higher costs for electricity if his environmental program to vastly reduce greenhouse emissions is successful.

Speaking to about 200 people at Des Moines’ downtown library to discuss the relationship of faith and environmental stewardship, the senator from Illinois said his proposals to temper the effects of global warming include a cap on carbon emissions to effect greenhouse gas reductions of 80 percent by 2050.

“On the front end at least, when you set up a cap, that is going to increase the costs, the production costs of electricity, for these companies. What will they do? They are going to pass them on to you,” Obama said. “And so, I hope everybody understands, if we are serious about dealing with global warming, there is going to be a spike in the unit costs of electricity.”

Obama said his acknowledgment was representative of one theme of his campaign, that “I can’t just tell people what they want to hear.”

The other major Democratic candidates also have proposed so-called cap-and-trade plans for carbon emissions, but the Obama campaign contends it is the only one being honest about the upfront costs to electric consumers.

Although Obama said his plan would take $150 billion in auction proceeds for investment in renewable energy over a 10-year period, he did not rule out a continuation of efforts to produce so-called clean-coal technology.

Obama also said better living standards in developing nations would be the best way to control the world’s population growth.

“We should make sure that all our plans and aid include sex education and contraception – all that should be available,” he said.

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