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Energy company CEO says businesses must address climate change

Published: Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The head of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., J. Wayne Leonard, said that the government should implement a per-ton carbon tax and use the revenue to help low-income families.

Leonard has previously supported instituting a federal greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program and unsuccessfully lobbied Congress to pass cap-and-trade legislation. His company produces 30,000 megawatts of energy from coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydropower. Speaking to the National Wildlife Federation last week, Leonard said he was concerned about his environmental legacy.

"You start to find yourself posing the question of 'After I die, what?' and then it really starts to dawn on you that the real question is 'Before I die, what?'" he said. "I can think of no time in history when the planet is
in as much peril as it is today. We were not supposed to be facing the possibility of mass extinctions in anybody's lifetime ... but here we are."

He went on to discuss how climate change will affect ecosystems. "What we can't be certain about is how bad is it going to be: Are we going to end up with 25 percent of species extinct? Or 50 percent? Is man going to be one of those species?" said Leonard. "There are no good outcomes at all."

Leonard also described his proposed carbon fee as an insurance policy. "Buy some insurance for your conscience. Buy some insurance for your soul," he said. "We're all going to be laying on our deathbeds with some regrets, but you don't want to be laying on your deathbed with regrets about things you did to somebody who was innocent."

Larry Schweiger, CEO and president of the National Wildlife Federation, gave Leonard an award for Entergy's voluntary carbon emissions reduction target and its $30 million investment in pollution control measures (Mark Schleifstein,  New Orleans Times-Picayune, Nov. 7). -- UI

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500


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Reprinted from climatewire-10-31_11-11 with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500.

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