Obama energy pick says will fight global warming

WASHINGTON Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:32pm GMT

WASHINGTON Jan 13 (Reuters) - Global warming threatens the future and the incoming Obama administration will take steps to address the problem, Steven Chu, President-elect Barack Obama's pick to be U.S. energy secretary, told lawmakers on Tuesday.

"Climate change is a growing and pressing problem. It is now clear that if we continue on our current path, we run the risk of dramatic, disruptive changes to our climate in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren," Chu said at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Chu said the Obama administration will seek to impose a cap-and-trade system to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Under such a system, power plants, oil refineries and other industrial facilities would have to buy and sell pollution permits to spew global warming emissions.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who heads the Senate panel, said he hopes the committee will approve Chu's nomination later this week and then the full Senate will confirm him next Tuesday. (Editing by Jim Marshall)