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Oil Report

FACTBOX-Democratic presidential contenders on energy

Jan 5 (Reuters) - Two of the top Democratic presidential contenders weighed in on the issue of how to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas associated with climate change, during a debate on Saturday.

Both Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.S. Energy Secretary, said they agreed on that a cap-and-trade system, in which polluters have to pay for the right to emit gases and can sell emission rights they do not use, would be a logical approach.

BILL RICHARDSON

* Said a carbon tax would be “a bad idea.”

* “The better way to do it is through a cap-and-trade system, which is a mandate.”

* “It’s also going to take presidential leadership, it’s going to take all of us here, every American, to think more efficiently about how we transport ourselves, what vehicles we purchase, appliances in our homes. It’s going to take a transportation policy that doesn’t just build more highways. We have to have commuter rail, light rail, open spaces.”

BARACK OBAMA

* “I think a cap-and-trade system makes more sense ... what you have to do is combine it with a 100 percent auction, in other words every little bit of pollution that is sent up into the atmosphere, that polluter is getting charged for it. Not only does that ensure that they don’t game the system, but you are also generating billions of dollars that can be invested in solar and wind and biodiesel.”

* “We’re also going to ask the American people to change how they use energy. Everybody’s going to have to change their lightbulbs, everybody’s going to have to insulate their homes and that will be a sacrifice but it’s a sacrifice that we can meet. Over the long term it will generate jobs and businesses and can drive our economy for many decades.” (Reporting by Scott Malone, editing by Philip Barbara)

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