Surprising Climate Change Fanatic


jim rogers.jpg
The Brussels Forum, which I just left this morning to return to Washington, DC, convened a terrific array of policy and political talent from both sides of the Atlantic — and had a distinguished group of attendees from Russia and Japan as well.
But one of the people most talked about behind his back was Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers.
People were stunned by his candor and apparent strong commitment to climate change action. His first line when he spoke at the Forum yesterday was to tell the audience to focus on the numbers 3, 12, and 41.
He said that Duke Energy was the third largest emitter of carbon in the United States and the twelfth in the world — and if considered an independent nation, Duke Energy would be 41st in the world — so carbon emissions is a huge issue for him and his firm and wants to turn that around.
The video is available on the Forum’s website. Unfortunately, the German Marshall Fund does not provide direct URL permalinks to any of its content on the Brussels Forum site and you have to wade through other material to watch — but it’s well worth the time.
— Steve Clemons


6 comments on “Surprising Climate Change Fanatic

  1. Mr.Murder says:

    Business flip-flops on climate change are a tort dance to try and skirt liability.
    Don’t look at the shiny object, focus on the goal.


  2. Ted Wolf says:

    Strange to see Rogers labeled a “climate change fanatic” on The
    Washington Note, when his views about carbon are unusual only in
    the context of his role as a utility CEO.
    He’s prominent in a sector where we are not likely to see the
    boldest leadership in addressing the climate crisis, but hardly a
    “fanatic” by any measure, and the word choice was poor.


  3. Mr.Murder says:

    “Duke Energy is still paying a price for the years spent aspiring to be like Enron. Lawsuits, fines, and market manipulation charges have abounded. A judge ruled Tuesday that Duke Energy and over a dozen other energy companies must provide the court with hundreds of hours of gas trading tapes, according to the Los Angles Times.
    Attorney Nanci Nishimura said “This is quite significant, because the defendants have been so resistant to producing these tapes…a window into understanding what these traders did and it goes to intent and motive in their conduct.”
    There are charges of “round trip” gas trading. Duke Energy has previously admitted to round trip trading in the power market.”
    “The fallout continues from the days of chasing energy deregulation and trying to become another Enron. Duke Energy is facing a class-action lawsuit charging market manipulation, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.
    The suit alleges that Duke Energy conspired with other corporations to fix the price of natural gas by repeatedly supplying bogus data.
    Michael Whitney was a trader for Duke Energy Trading and Marketing during 2001 and 2002. He is charged in a Texas civil lawsuit of supplying false trading data to publishers.
    The class-action lawsuit maintains that Duke Energy officers and directors “agreed to arrangements, contracts agreements and a combination and conspiracy which tended to prevent full and free competition or … control the market prices of natural gas.”
    The Commodities Futures Trading Commission fined Duke Energy $28 million over price manipulation allegations in September 2003. Cinergy paid $3 million in fines.
    Duke Energy executives declined to comment on the lawsuit.”
    “Duke Energy employees have said that the company is slow to settle asbestosis claims. And when the initial settlement offer finally comes, it always seems to be on the chintzy side.
    Asbestosis victims feel the prevailing attitude is: “There is just no money to pay asbestosis claims, now run along and play in traffic.”
    But last year the Wall Street Journal reported that Duke Energy has $1.6 Billion available to pay asbestosis claims. This amount includes the proceeds from a finite-risk insurance policy purchased by Duke Energy and reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
    The policy was purchased from XL Capital Ltd., of Bermuda. Duke Energy and XL Capital both refused to provide any details to the Journal.
    It turns out that finite-risk insurance policies are being probed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Finite-risk insurance policies were promoted during the decade of greed – the 1990’s. Some of these hybrid policies are said to hide liabilities by classifying loans as insurance.
    Duke’s $1.6 Billion for Asbestos Claims”
    First Duke Energy Pension Hearing
    Employee Advocate – – November 8, 2006
    The first Duke Energy cash balance plan hearing was held Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2006 at the United States District Court in Greenville SC. The purpose was to consider Duke Energy’s motion for a change of venue to the Western District of North Carolina.
    The court heard arguments from both sides, but no decision was reached on Tuesday. Clients of Wallace and Graham will receive an update by mail when a decision is made.
    Duke Energy Cash Balance Pension Lawsuit
    Duke Energy Workers Smell a Rat
    Employee Advocate – – June 27, 2006
    This article was written by Paul Hill and published in the People’s Weekly World Newspaper:
    HOUSTON — A giant inflatable rat was the featured participant in a protest at Duke Energy headquarters here by members of Pipeline Workers Local 798. The workers came from Tulsa, Okla., to protest the unfair practices of Duke Energy contractor Sunland Construction. One pipeliner told the World that nonunion “rat” Sunland provides lower quality work than a union workforce, with worse worker safety.
    Sunland, based in Eunice, La., has an abysmal record on working conditions and standards, the Pipeline Workers union says, including: “worker deaths on the job, alcohol and drug abuse, severe worker injuries, non-enforcement of safety policies, OSHA non-compliance, environmental infractions, community disregard, automotive accidents, unfair labor practice violations, high weld reject rates and shoddy workmanship.” The union asks, “Does Duke Energy care more about the //$Bottom Dollar$// than they do about safety?” and “Should Duke Energy hire contractors who have a poor record like this to build or repair high pressure natural gas pipelines?”
    Protesters carried posters with pictures of injured workers. One showed a man in a coma after a pipe fell on him. Another was of a worker whose back was broken by a pipe. Other signs displayed copies of a May 17 newspaper article about the most recent worker death on the job.
    The article, from the Smyth County, Va., News and Messenger, told the story of the May 15 death of Sunland worker David Lee Burrow, 45, of Pharr, Texas, who died after becoming trapped between a side crane dozer and his pickup truck.
    The pipeline workers were joined by area union members and others who traveled from Texarkana, Texas, and as far as Washington, D.C., to express their solidarity. Workers passing by in a pickup truck waved their support. Some company officials passed by but were not nearly so friendly.
    The peaceful event was monitored by a unit of the Houston Police Department mounted patrol. HPD brought a huge trailer with horses to the scene but they were kept a distance from the protest. The commercial media ignored this event, as usual.”
    Shorting union workers, raiding pensions, denying benefits and liability. These guys are like a gold standard of wrongdoing.
    IMO, the one way to get away with permanent layoffs is to claim you’re doing it for the good of the company, investors, and environment.


  4. Mr.Murder says:

    Certainly he champions deregulation and voluntary compliance.
    You know, like the energy company that was helping shape foreign policy based on pipeline concessions in Afghanistan and Pakistan?
    Was he familiar with any Enron holdovers?


  5. Pete MacDowell says:

    This is Jim Rogers’ usual mea culpa. Did he also tell folks he is starting to build another 800 MW pulverized coal plant in North Carolina and a 600+ MW coal plant in Indiana (IGCC but with no sequestration)? “Im a sinner and don’t plan to stop anytime soon” should not be getting Amens from people concerned about climate change.


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