CHICAGO (Oct. 13, 2009) - Exelon Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe said yesterday that cap-and-trade is the best approach for addressing global warming while sustaining an economic recovery. In a keynote address at the PennFuture Southeast Global Warming Conference in Penn Valley, Pa., Rowe said reducing carbon emissions will cost money, but the alternatives to cap-and-trade will cost more.
"The best way to address the climate problem and protect our nation's fragile economic recovery is through cap-and-trade, which is the least expensive solution," Rowe said. "Prices will go up, just not as much as with cruder tools. Plus, the legislation has provisions that will help reduce the impact to consumers."
Rowe said that options like new nuclear plants, wind and solar, while appealing to many, actually cost much more than commonplace solutions like energy efficiency.
"Choosing more expensive options over cheaper ones adds costs that are passed through to businesses and consumers," Rowe said. "That's why we need a climate bill that takes advantage of the power of appropriately regulated and monitored markets, which will drive competition, innovation and low-cost solutions."
In the wake of Exelon's decision to withdraw from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce due to a disagreement on the urgency of addressing global warming, Rowe urged the nation's business community to come together in support of climate legislation.
"Companies and business groups must recognize the need for strong action-or they will be left behind," said Rowe. "We have faith in the ability of American business to come together to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions to the climate challenge."
Exelon is not waiting for climate legislation to undertake its own effort to 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. In April 2009, 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 nearly 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 speech was part of an event sponsored by PennFuture, a leading environmental advocacy organization in Pennsylvania. Presenters included Jerry Melillo, co-chair of the United States Global Climate Change Impacts Assessment, and co-director and senior scientist of The Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole; Richard Foltin, legislative director, American Jewish Committee; Brent Alderfer, president of Community Energy Inc.; Denis O'Brien, PECO president and CEO; Joy Bergey, federal programs manager, PennFuture; and Jan Jarrett, PennFuture president and CEO.