National Press Club

Utility Executive Supports Climate Change Bill

May 20, 2009 | By Lynn Garner

captions in here

Exelon Corp. Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe, head of the one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, said he supports the carbon cap-and-trade bill written by California Democrat Henry Waxman and Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey that would require a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

At an NPC luncheon May 15, Rowe called on Congress to pass climate change legislation this year.

“The road to a low carbon future is a long one,” Rowe said. “We must begin the march now.”

Rowe credited Virginia Democratic Rep. Rick Boucher with brokering a compromise that will allow most emissions allowances, or permits, to be given to carbon-intensive industries in the early years.

In contrast, President Obama has called for auctioning all allowances in a carbon market and giving away none to industry, in order to raise $15 billion a year for clean energy projects and to help families that may face higher energy bills.

Rowe acknowledged that Exelon, based in Chicago, is in a unique situation because most of its electric generation comes from nuclear power rather than coal. “We serve almost 12 million people in and around Chicago and Philadelphia, including President Obama and his family,” Rowe said.

Rowe also credited the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, an influential alliance of businesses and environmental groups, with setting the stage for an emerging consensus on climate legislation.