Barack Obama

13 February 2013 — US President Barack Obama has called on the US legislature to introduce a market-based mechanism to place a price on carbon.

President Obama was delivering his 2013 State of the Union address, delivered to Congress today, 13 February, Australian time.

The President called on Congress to pass a bill similar to that proposed by Senator John McCain and former Senator Joe Lieberman a few years ago, which would have introduced a US “cap and trade” emissions trading scheme.

“I urge this Congress to get together to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago,” he said.

“But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”

President Obama also said “after years of talking about it, America was “finally poised to control our own energy future”.

“We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years,” he said.

“We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it.

“We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it.”

“Indeed, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together.

“I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good.

“If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we.

“Let’s take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we’ve put up with for far too long.”

Federal Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister Greg Combet said for years, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had been claiming that Australia was going it alone when it comes to pricing carbon.

“The truth is Australia is not going it alone. As the President made clear: ‘As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we’.

“By the end of this year, more than 1 billion people will be living in a country, city or state with an emissions trading scheme or carbon tax. This includes countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden and New Zealand,” Mr Combet said.

“In total, 94 per cent of OECD members have or are implementing emissions trading at the national or provincial level.”