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Business and Environmental Groups Unite in Support of Climate Legislation

Exelon CEO and NRDC president say cap-and-trade bill essential to the economy, environment



CHICAGO - Exelon Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe and Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances G. Beinecke today urged Midwest business leaders to support comprehensive climate legislation. In a panel discussion at the Economic Club of Chicago, Rowe and Beinecke said economy-wide cap-and-trade legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is essential to our nation's economy and the environment.

"It is rare to see business and environmental groups on the same side of an issue. Today's panel illustrates the unprecedented breadth of support for action on climate change," said Rowe. "But the opposition is committed and powerful, which means taking meaningful action on this very difficult challenge will require political courage and an ability to take the long view."
In his remarks, Rowe pointed to the cap-and-trade market mechanism as the least expensive way to address the challenge posed by climate change. Citing the Environmental Protection Agency's pending carbon regulations, Rowe said it's not a question of whether or not to regulate carbon emissions, rather how to do it in the most effective and cost-efficient manner. He also reinforced the critical need for a comprehensive climate bill that will put the nation on a path to a low-carbon future, a sentiment echoed by Beinecke.

Visit the Speakers Bureau for John Rowe's prepared remarks.

Beinecke also stressed the potential Midwest manufacturing boon that could result from climate legislation.

"The Midwest pumps out more carbon dioxide than all but four countries, making it a prime location for the new opportunities that will help solve our energy and climate problems," said Beinecke. "We can shake the rust off the Rust Belt with the manufacturing of new technologies and products like solar panels and wind turbines. New wind turbines require 250 tons of steel and that is the sort of market signal that will reinvigorate steel towns like Gary and Granite City."

Exelon and NRDC, both members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, are working together along with dozens of other companies, environmental organizations and labor groups to increase awareness and support of climate legislation.

Rowe is the 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. Under his leadership, the company launched 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.

Under Beinecke's leadership, NRDC has launched a new strategic campaign that sharply focuses the organization's efforts on curbing global warming, moving America beyond oil, reviving the world's oceans, saving endangered wild places, stemming the tide of toxic chemicals and accelerating the greening of China. Her first book, "Clean Energy Common Sense: An American Call to Action on Global Climate Change," comes out next week, offering straight talk and definitive facts on the sometimes confusing issues surrounding global warming in the same mold as Thomas Paine's classic that helped fire up the American revolution. 

Judy Rader, Exelon      

Josh Mogerman, NRDC