"I feel pretty strongly that, going forward, all of the countries in the world - China and India included - have to be included in a carbon plan to reduce emissions of carbon," Chu said. "I think the United States can take the first step and, hopefully, China will immediately, very closely follow."
Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., responded that such a plan isn't likely to win approval from lawmakers, who have previously declined to mandate greenhouse emissions reductions absent agreement that developing nations will do the same.
"It's my honest conviction that that approach will not be enacted by the United States Congress," Bayh said. "That probably won't be good enough to get the job done."
During the campaign, Obama pledged to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050. In the near term, his campaign plan called for reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 - a cut that the coal industry and the United Mine Workers union strongly oppose.
In his prepared confirmation testimony, Chu described climate change as "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 system in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren," Chu told senators.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com