Barack Obama climate push to tie environment, jobs : White House adviser
While those words attracted a lot of attention, what came next in the speech was also important, Deese said - Obama's contention that the nation must use more "sustainable energy sources" to maintain its "economic vitality" as well as to protect the environment. "We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise," Obama said.
The White House is 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"
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