By Kim Chipman
June 22 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama and Al Gore are ramping up calls for Congress to pass climate legislation as House Democrats say they may vote on a bill to cut greenhouse gases as early as this week.
Obama’s Cabinet members will begin traveling across the nation tomorrow as part of an effort to raise public awareness and rally support for his plan to tackle climate change and remake the U.S. energy economy, according to White House spokesman Ben LaBolt.
The push will be similar to Obama’s successful effort earlier this year to pass the $787 billion economic recovery act, LaBolt said.
Obama may discuss “energy independence” and legislation going through Congress at a news conference tomorrow in the White House Rose Garden, press secretary Robert Gibbs said today.
In addition, former Vice President Al Gore tomorrow will unveil the “next steps” of his campaign for legislation that he says is urgently needed to avoid the worst effects of rising temperatures and sea levels.
“We have to go to the grassroots,” Gore told supporters in an e-mail today. “We have to continue building support in communities throughout this great nation.”
Gore, a former Democratic presidential nominee, said he will hold a conference call tomorrow at 8 p.m., Washington time, to discuss plans to build on momentum among activists and take advantage of “an opportunity unlike anything we’ve seen yet.”
Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection undertook a $300 million advertising campaign last year to promote the idea of the U.S. completely converting to electricity production from solar, wind and other zero-carbon-emissions sources.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, both California Democrats, have said they want to pass climate legislation before lawmakers leave Washington at the end of this week for the July 4 recess.
Legislation by Waxman and Massachusetts Democratic Representative Edward Markey that the energy panel passed last month would create a market system for trading U.S. pollution permits as a way to control greenhouse-gas emissions. A United Nations panel of scientists has said such emissions likely contribute to climate change.
Lawmakers who oppose the measure, including House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, say it will amount to a tax increase that hits Americans in coal-reliant states such as Indiana the hardest.
The proposed law would cost $22 billion a year by 2020, or $175 for every household, according to figures released by the Congressional Budget Office last week.
Soften the Cost
The legislation seeks to soften the cost to consumers by giving some industries free pollution permits, also called allowances, and selling others at auction to raise money for tax relief, according to CBO.
Without those measures, the price tag would be $110 billion a year, or $890 per household, the budget office said in an analysis prepared for Representative Dave Camp, a Michigan lawmaker who leads the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee.