realistic about the slim chances of advancing comprehensive climate legislation in Congress, where many Republicans are staunchly opposed.
Instead, Deese said the administration will look for ways to use other types of legislation to accomplish clean energy goals, including upcoming efforts to overhaul the tax code.
"The way that corporate tax reform gets done could have a dramatic effect, long-term, about the incentives for investment in the United States for different types of technologies, renewable technologies," said Deese, who works on tax policy and manufacturing issues.
Obama recently pushed for an extension of the wind production tax credit and other clean energy tax credits as part of the "fiscal cliff" deal with Congress, Deese noted.
Tax breaks for traditional fossil fuel production have long been enshrined in the US tax code, Deese said.
"One of the things the president has talked about is ... at a minimum, we should have a level playing field" for renewable energy, he said.
FISCAL, POLITICAL REALITIES
Obama also wants to explore "targeted and smart investments to help catalyze renewable energy technologies" that can lead to more US manufacturing jobs, said Deese, adding that projects to make buildings become more energy efficient is another area of promise.
He said Obama still would like to see Congress pass a "clean energy standard" with annual targets for electricity from clean sources that would allow utilities to decide what type of renewable power source would best fill the quota.
Obama also may take actions that don't require congressional approval or spending, such as the increase in fuel economy standards set during his first term that will cut carbon pollution and fossil fuel use dramatically over 25 years.
"You saw the president not hesitate to use administrative action when he ran up against barriers in Congress," Deese said.