Obama wants to double spending on clean energy R&D

DARLENE SUPERVILLE, AP writer

President Barack Obama said over the weekend that he’ll ask Congress to double spending on research and development into clean energy by 2020.

But the request is unlikely to be fulfilled.

Republican lawmakers who rule Congress scoff at the science behind climate change and dismiss Obama’s pleas for the issue to be dealt with urgently.

In an unusual twist in Obama’s final year in office, the GOP chairmen of the House and Senate budget committees have said they will not hold a customary hearing on the president’s budget proposal the day after they receive it.

Obama plans to unveil the spending blueprint public on Feb. 9, just as New Hampshire voters head to the polls in the first presidential primary of the race to succeed him.

“Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address, outlining his wish for the increased spending.

Federal spending on clean energy R&D would jump from $6.4 billion this year to $12.8 billion by 2020 under Obama’s proposal, administration officials said. Spending would increase by about 15 percent in each of the five years of the pledge. If approved, the budget that takes effect Oct. 1 would provide $7.7 billion for clean energy R&D across 12 federal departments and agencies for the 2017 fiscal year.

Obama’s proposal is part of the “Mission Innovation” initiative he announced at last year’s U.N. climate conference in Paris.

Some 20 countries, including the U.S., China, India and Brazil, have committed to double their respective budgets for this type of research over five years.

The White House said Obama wants oil companies to pay a $10 fee on every barrel of oil to help raise money for spending on clean transportation to combat climate change.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., immediately declared the president’s proposed oil tax “dead on arrival.”