WASHINGTON - "As AEP's statement makes clear, the current uncertainty about U.S. policy on climate change is a handicap in making long-term investment decisions. Companies are left to guess whether they have invested too little or too much on technologies that will help them meet potential future regulatory burdens. It is time for Congress to pass national legislation that will reduce heat-trapping gas concentrations to a safe level. This will not only meet our legal obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, it will give companies the clarity they need to make wise investment decisions.
"World Wildlife Fund's PowerSwitch! initiative works with utilities that commit to take a responsible approach to producing power in the age of global warming. These companies have made significant commitments to utilize renewable energy or energy efficiency technologies, and every one of them supports policies to limit carbon dioxide emissions.
"While we commend AEP for recognizing that mandatory reductions in heat-trapping carbon emissions are imminent, it is discouraging to learn that the company will continue to rely on the most polluting fuel, coal. This is a backwards approach - attempting to update a 19th century fuel rather than rely on modern, clean energy technologies that increase energy efficiency and produce power from renewable sources like the wind and sun."
Note to Editors:
American Electric Power yesterday released "An Assessment of AEP's Actions to Mitigate the Economic Impacts of Emissions Policies" in response to pressure from shareholders. The report covers actions AEP is taking to mitigate the economic impact of increasing regulatory requirements, competitive pressures and public expectations to significantly reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions.
In the report, AEP states that while the immediate future of climate change policy is uncertain, "mandatory reductions of greenhouse gas emissions are likely in the next decade." The report recommends that the company take into account the possibility of such requirements when making long-term investment decisions. However, the report also endorses an approach that would see AEP continuing to rely heavily on coal for energy production, despite the fact that coal has higher emissions of carbon dioxide than other fuels.