INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 21, 2010) - In an address to the Indiana Council on World Affairs and Indiana Businesses for a Clean Energy Economy, Exelon Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe said yesterday that cap-and-trade is the most economic way to address climate change, especially in carbon-intensive Indiana, which gets about 95 percent of its energy from coal.
"Our nation is dealing with the climate issue regardless of what happens in Congress, so we must do it in the cheapest way possible," Rowe said. "Under cap-and-trade, carbon-intensive regions of the country like the Midwest will remain competitive, and potentially create thousands of jobs."
An October 2009 study by University of California-Berkeley estimates that a comprehensive climate policy stressing energy efficiency, renewables and other low-carbon investments could create 22,000 to 45,000 jobs in Indiana by 2020.
"Harnessing the power of markets to find the most efficient solutions is how our economy has created jobs for decades," Rowe said. "The best way to create jobs is by searching for the lowest-cost solutions to the problem, which is what a market-based approach like cap-and-trade forces us to do."
Rowe also refuted the idea that cap-and-trade would transfer wealth from the Midwest to the coasts. According to analysis by consulting firm MJ Bradley, the average monthly residential electricity bill in Indiana would go up $6 if the Waxman-Markey bill became law-and would still be only half what a customer in Massachusetts or New York pays.
Indiana is among 12 states in the Midwest that account for nearly 30 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, meaning the Midwest has far more at stake in the creation of new national energy policy to address climate change.
"Indiana and other Midwest states have a strong incentive to be involved in this debate," Rowe said. "The problem will not just go away. The climate challenge is one we must deal with, in a way that is good for the planet and the economy."
Chicago-based Exelon, one of the nation's largest electric utilities with strong positions in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, is not waiting for legislation or regulation to act. The company is undertaking 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 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.