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Exelon CEO Praises Economics of Cap-and-Trade

In the wake of his company's recent decision to withdraw from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the chamber's opposition to federal climate change legislation, Exelon Corp. CEO John W. Rowe called cap-and-trade the least expensive approach to carbon emissions reduction and urged the 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," Rowe said last Monday in an address at the PennFuture Southeast Global Warming Conference in Penn Valley, PA. "We have faith in the ability of American business to come together to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions to the climate challenge."

Reducing carbon emissions will cost money, but cap-and-trade will cost less than any alternative, Rowe said.

"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. 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.

Legislation that includes incentives for energy efficiency and other commonplace solutions could be more economically viable than building new nuclear, wind and solar facilities, he 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."

Last month Exelon said it was dropping its Chamber of Commerce membership over the chamber's opposition to federal climate change legislation (see NGI, Sept. 28). PNM Resources and San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), have also pulled out of the chamber citing fundamental differences on climate change (see NGI, Oct. 5).

In an effort to prevent more defections by its membership, the Washington, DC-based chamber recently defended and clarified its position on House climate change legislation (HR 2454), saying the bill "is neither comprehensive nor international, and it falls short on moving renewable and alternative technologies into the marketplace and enabling our transition to a lower-carbon future." The Waxman-Markey bill would also impose carbon tariffs on imported goods imported in the United States, according to Chamber President Thomas J. Donohue.

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