Entergy
Download the 2009 Annual Report
Download the 2009 Annual Report
Our Point of View on Climate Change
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Our Point of View on Climate Change

Taking Leadership

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ntergy has been on the forefront of the climate change debate since 2000 when our Board of Directors first began discussing initiatives to stabilize Entergy’s CO2 emissions. They approved our first voluntary five-year commitment the following year, which set the stabilization goal for 2001 to 2005 at year 2000 levels. We completed that commitment in 2005 with emissions that were 23 percent better than our target. Our second voluntary five-year commitment sets the stabilization goal from 2006 to 2010 at 20 percent below year 2000 levels. From 2006 to 2009, we performed nearly 6 percent better than our cumulative stabilization goal.

In setting voluntary stabilization commitments, our goal is to lead by example. Our success demonstrates the effectiveness of using a comprehensive approach to emissions stabilization, which includes equipment upgrades, sustainable forestry initiatives and innovative emission reduction offset purchases. For example, in January 2010, Entergy announced the purchase of 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions offsets generated by capturing and combusting methane at a wastewater treatment facility in Texas. The offsets were publicly registered and verified by a third party.

Any commitment is only as strong as the accounting system used to track it – that is why Entergy is also taking a leadership role in the areas of carbon accounting and disclosure. Working with voluntary programs such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders and transparency efforts such as the Carbon Disclosure Project, Entergy has gained valuable experience with carbon accounting and disclosure. As a result of these and other efforts, for the first time we are able to disclose third-party-verified CO2 emissions in this report.

Entergy’s utility operating companies are also working at the state and local level to support efforts to improve energy efficiency and explore alternative energy resources. The Arkansas Public Service Commission approved in early February Entergy Arkansas’ 2010 energy efficiency and irrigation load control programs that reach all customer classes. Entergy Texas met its energy efficiency program goals for reducing residential and commercial customer growth in demand by 20 percent through market-based standard offer programs and limited, targeted market-transformation programs. The New Orleans City Council collaborated with Entergy New Orleans on an Energy Smart program, which offers customer rebates for improvements such as adding insulation, sealing ducts and weatherizing homes or offices using a qualified contractor. In New Orleans, Entergy is working with Nike Corporation, Winrock International, the Louisiana Chapter of { continued | 1 of 5 }

 

Our Point of View on Climate Change

the U.S. Green Building Council and the city of New Orleans on the New Orleans Solar Schools Initiative to explore how energy conservation can be integrated with solar power.

We believe efforts like these and our efforts to stabilize our own emissions make Entergy a credible advocate for action on the climate change debate. We continue to advocate aggressively for development of sustainable carbon policies in the United States.

Advocating for a U.S. Carbon Policy

In previous reports, we discussed our perspective for a carbon policy that is effective, efficient and equitable, which included:

Take meaningful economy-wide action now to slow, stop and reduce greenhouse
gas emissions.

Use market forces intelligently to find the most efficient solutions.

Be realistic about carbon prices. We believe $50 per ton by the 2020 to 2025
time frame is in the right range to encourage the development of clean
generating technology.

Understand the social effects. We need to build in permanent low-income protection.

Support research and development to develop a technology fix for existing coal plants.

This year, we add to this list of guidelines the need for a “pledge and review” structure so that the United States takes the lead but does not continue – if the rest of the world does not follow – down a path that would lead to economic disadvantage. We believe Congress should implement legislation to enact a federal, economy-wide carbon policy. And if not a comprehensive bill, then incremental steps on an electric-only basis could make significant progress to address the issues.

We do not believe a regulatory effort driven by the EPA will be as effective or efficient as a legislative effort. However, we support the EPA’s ability to regulate CO2 emissions if Congress does not act. We were the only utility to file an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Massachusetts vs. EPA. In this brief, Entergy supported the plaintiff’s position that the EPA has authority and responsibility to regulate CO2 as an air pollutant under the existing Clean Air Act. { continued | 2 of 5 }

Cumulative CO<sub>2</sub> Emissions

We once again met our cumulative emissions goal under our voluntary commitment to stabilize our CO2 emissions from 2006 to 2010 at 20 percent below year 2000 levels.

Our Point of View on Climate Change

We also encourage state governments to focus on protecting low- to moderate-income households, encouraging energy efficiency efforts in progressive regulatory frameworks and avoiding local mandates outside of federal market-based systems.

Evaluating Pending U.S. Legislation

On June 26, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. While we did not agree with every aspect, we did support the House bill as an important first step in curbing emissions. Now sights have turned to the U.S. Senate, where action is uncertain. Advocates of a comprehensive bill appear to be turning to a more modest package of climate and energy measures this year. Though we believe the bill passed by the House with emission reduction mandates and a market-based cap-and-trade system is the best approach, we support many of the ideas under consideration including: new nuclear incentives, additional research and development for clean coal − particularly a solution for conventional coal plants − and auctions where major emitters would pay for permits, with all the proceeds going to consumers.

In particular, we support funding for a large-scale, government-funded demonstration program on retrofitting carbon capture and sequestration for existing coal plants; along with a robust research, development and deployment effort. We continue to believe that finding a fix for conventional coal plants should be a top priority of climate change policy efforts.

Finding a Fix for Existing Coal Plants

Just a few facts illustrate clearly why it is impossible to reduce or stabilize CO2 emissions without addressing conventional coal plants. First, coal is the most affordable and available fuel source in the world. Both the United States and China – two countries that account for about 40 percent of global CO2 emissions – have immense reserves of relatively low-cost coal. As a result, analysts forecast the world will have more than 2 million MW of coal-fired capacity by 2020. Second, a properly maintained coal plant has a very long economic life – 50 to 60 years or longer. Third, more than 80 percent of the electric sector emissions in the United States come from coal plants. Taken together, these three facts illustrate why finding a fix for conventional coal plants must be part of any effective approach to greenhouse gas stabilization.

In 2009, Entergy co-sponsored a study with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to evaluate the issues, opportunities and possible{ continued | 3 of 5 }

Make an Impact

Entergy and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change launched the Make an Impact program, which is a website at findyourCO2.com that helps visitors take action to save money and reduce their carbon footprints.

Our Point of View on Climate Change

next steps related to retrofitting coal-fired plants for CO2 emissions mitigation. Summary observations from the discussions among the diverse group of participants in the study include:

“There is today no credible pathway towards stringent greenhouse gas stabilization targets without CO2 emissions reduction from existing coal power plants, and the United States and China are the largest emitters.

The U.S. government must move expeditiously to large-scale, properly instrumented, sustained demonstration of CO2 sequestration, with the goal of providing a stable regulatory framework for commercial operation.”

Following the publication of the MIT report, Entergy executives committed significant time and effort to communicate the summary observations to a variety of stakeholders. For example, Entergy Chairman and CEO J. Wayne Leonard met with a number of policymakers individually, participated in the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Post-Combustion Carbon Capture Forum in October and spoke at the Clinton School of Public Service in December as part of the Arkansas Public Service Commission’s docket to explore the expanded development of sustainable energy resources. The conclusions of the report have been widely accepted and work is under way toward the study’s recommended first step, which involves an inventory of the U.S. coal fleet to determine the plants that are eligible for retrofit.

Taking Action Now

We continue to believe there is a compelling urgency to the climate change debate. Climate change science is about probabilities, risks and expected outcomes – not absolute certainties. Scientific evidence that we are altering the climate goes far beyond any one dataset or model, some of which have been implicated in recent controversies. Science demonstrates we face a non-trivial probability of catastrophe – and that should be the basis for public policy. Too often that sense of urgency is missing. However, given our limited ability to bend the trend line of ever-growing greenhouse gas emissions, we must act now to achieve significant emissions reductions by mid-century.

Moreover, we have a moral responsibility to act. Whole species face the risk of extinction and the long-term health of our planet hangs in the balance. We owe it to future generations to face the facts in the climate change debate and shoulder the burden of doing something about those facts while we still can. { continued | 4 of 5 }

 

Our Point of View on Climate Change

America must lead on climate change through demonstrated self-discipline and support of just but compassionate plans for developing economies. While the specifics are still undefined, the direction we must move is clear. We look to our leaders in Washington, D.C., and around the world to have the courage and will to move forward on this vital issue.{ 5 of 5 }