Entergy CEO steps up demand that the industry deal with global warming

J. Wayne Leonard is encouraging the government and his industry peers to deal with global warming issues.

11-07-2011 // Mark Schleifstein - The Times-Picayune

This excerpt is from a Times-Picayune article

J. Wayne Leonard, the chief executive of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., has upped the ante on his demand that the federal government and his fellow major industry executives deal with global warming, abandoning support for a national carbon emissions "cap and trade" program in favor of a per-ton fee on carbon emissions. The carbon fee would be levied on all carbon emissions to provide a financial incentive to reduce emissions, with money from the fee used to reduce the national deficit and help low-income families, Leonard said. Some of the money from the fee would be funneled into support for research and development of carbon reduction technology and alternative energy.

Leonard had long supported unsuccessful efforts to get Congress to adopt some form of carbon cap and trade initiative, where the federal government would enforce a slowly lowering cap on emissions, with some companies selling reductions beyond their cap levels to others that were likely to violate the cap.

In an emotional speech to executives of the National Wildlife Federation on Friday night, Leonard said his controversial support for what would amount to a carbon tax stems from his attempt to face his own mortality.

"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, in accepting an award from the federation for his company's environmental programs.

"I can think of no time in history when the planet is in as much peril as it is today," he said. "We were not supposed to be facing the possibility of mass extinctions in anybody's lifetime ... but here we are."

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