GE CEO: "We Must Put a Price on Carbon" to Succeed


Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, spoke out in favor of putting a price on carbon to instigate the "entrepreneurial spirit" in the US. He was one of the panelists at a key session at the Clinton Global Initiative today, where he shared the stage with the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and the CEOs of Cisco and Nissan. The topic was developing infrastructure, and Immelt talked at length about his faith in a clean energy economy: he said a mass shift to electric cars is imminent, that businesses no longer have the 'luxury' to not be efficient, and more.Electric Cars: "It's Not a Question of If, but When"
That's Immelt on whether electric cars will rise to prominence. Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan/Renault, had been even more vigorous, saying that incremental increases in efficiency and fuel economy wouldn't be sufficient (echoing the theme of yesterday's fascinating talk with Al Gore on 'disruptive' innovation). I have to admit that I got to the session a tad late and wasn't quite sure who Ghosn was--I thought he must be the CEO of an electric car company, since he was so enthusiastic, so vehement that a shift to electric cars must occur now. Good to see a more mainstream car company getting on the EV bandwagon.

Immelt responded by saying that the shift was certain, that "it's not a question of if, but when," but that if Ghons turns out to be right that more nuclear power would likely be needed to support an influx of electric cars.

Putting a Price on Carbon and the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Immelt also said, fervently, I might add, that "we must put a price on carbon" in order for the US to grow its economy. He was in agreement with Bill Clinton that innovation would spur growth, and said that America's "entrepreneurial spirit" would lead us to success.

The CEO said that he's already looking into how best to maximize efficiency, and to cut costs of production as much as possible. He says he doesn't believe we'll have the "luxury" of cheap commodities in the US for long--maybe ever again, and that resources must be conserved.

More on Jeff Immelt and GE
GE Can't Build Wind Turbines Fast Enough
GE Executive Jeff Immelt on the Ecomagination Progress

Tags: Carbon Emissions | Clean Energy | Global Climate Change

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