He recently spoke to Amanda Griscom Little of Grist:
Q. You've recently tried to define one approach via the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. Tell us how that alliance formed, and the process of give-and-take that got you to the final agreement.Lots of interesting stuff. Check it out.
A. Most of the executives knew each other and had had ongoing conversations with environmental groups on a range of issues, so there was a set of existing relationships that brought us all into the room. I think the pivotal moment was in December when we began to agree on how we would structure the cap-and-trade program. The really big issue was: Can coal be part of the energy equation in the future? We agreed that it will be, given the fact that 50 percent of our electricity in this country comes from coal.
The other issue was the recognition that nuclear had to play an important part in the equation. This is a tightrope that the environmental community is walking. On the one hand, they want to solve climate. On the other hand, nuclear is the best zero-carbon energy source that can reliably supply our economy, and historically they have not been supportive of it.
Q. So your environmental partners came to agree that nuclear needs to be part of the solution?
A. I wouldn't characterize them as 100 percent supportive of nuclear, but I've seen some movement in that direction. I think they are reluctant to embrace nuclear at this point, but in the face of climate change they view it as the lesser of two evils.