CHICAGO - In a keynote address at the Pew Center for Global Climate Change conference today, Exelon Chairman and CEO John Rowe stressed that federal legislation that puts a price on carbon emissions is the best and most economical option to transition to a low-carbon future.
"The critical first step is legislation that places a price on carbon, because it will result in cleaner energy, greater security and more jobs - all at the lowest cost," said Rowe. "Nothing else we can do will ensure we do the cheapest things first, including regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency."
Rowe credited U.S. Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman for their efforts to craft a bipartisan compromise on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and issues such as oil and gas drilling and expansion of nuclear power.
Legislation that puts a price on carbon emissions will effectively encourage low-carbon investments such as energy efficiency and nuclear uprates, said Rowe.
"Our analysis shows the most inexpensive items are generally improvements in energy efficiency, some of which are economic even without a price on carbon," said Rowe. "As an example, Exelon cut energy usage at our corporate headquarters by 50 percent by retrofitting it to meet LEED Platinum standards."
Chicago-based Exelon is conducting its own efforts to actively address climate change through Exelon 2020, an environmental and business strategy to reduce, offset or displace more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year by 2020. Last year, Exelon announced that it had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 35 percent from 2001 to 2008.
Rowe is the electricity industry's longest-serving chief executive, with 26 years as a utility CEO. Rowe was among the first CEOs in the industry to focus on climate change, first testifying before Congress on the potential effects of carbon emissions in 1992. He currently serves as co-chair of the bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy, and previously chaired the Edison Electric Institute and the Nuclear Energy Institute.
Rowe's prepared remarks are available on the Exelon Web site at: www.exeloncorp.com/aboutus/speakersbureau.