A strong energy package approved last year by a key Senate panel is seen as a sweetener for passing a much more controversial cap-and-trade system to regulate the emissions of greenhouse gases. That second approach is part of a bill passed by the House of Represntatives last June that is languishing in the Senate. But yesterday President Barack Obama signaled  that he might be willing to separate the two issues, which would certainly delay the United States from passing a comprehensive climate bill at least until 2011. The Washington Post covers his remarks during a visit to Nashua, New Hampshire:
"The most controversial aspects of the energy debate that we've been having: the House passed an energy bill and people complained that, 'Well, there's this cap-and-trade thing,'" Obama told the crowd.
"We may be able to separate these things out. And it's conceivable that that's where the Senate ends up," he continued.
Other, more popular parts of the energy bill seek to boost renewable energy such as wind and solar power. Those parts may be easier to pass.