Groups send open letter to Duke CEO, publish full-page ad in Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, May 1, 2013 —On the day before Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers’ final shareholder meeting, environmental groups published a full-page advertisement in the Charlotte Observer asking whether Rogers wants to be remembered as a hero or villain in the increasingly urgent fight to combat global warming.
Rogers, who has agreed to retire at the end of 2013, has become known for making bold statements about the need to take action to stop global warming, but the company he leads has refused to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency in its service territory, pursuing dirty and antiquated fossil fuels instead. In the Carolinas, Duke’s energy mix will include only 2.5 % wind and solar energy 20 years from now if the company sticks to its current plan.
“Jim Rogers has seven months to determine how history will remember his eight years as the CEO of one of the world’s largest electric utilities: a leader who helped start a clean energy revolution, or a laggard who talked about global warming but never acted to stop it,” the ad says below a picture of Rogers choosing between clean and dirty energy images.
With the clock ticking down on his final 7 months as CEO, the ad is part of a new effort by Greenpeace and NC WARN to highlight the disparity between Rogers’ words and actions, and to appeal to him to take dramatic steps that will set the company on a clean energy pathway and could help guide the selection of the next CEO.
The groups also sent an open letter to Rogers and Duke’s Board of Directors explaining the risks to the company if it does not move toward clean energy. The letter can be found on a new web site that the watchdog groups also launched today: www.jimrogerslegacy.com.
“We write you now with a plea to use your remaining time as head of the nation’s largest utility to drive forward a renewable energy revolution that could help avert the worst threats of climate change,” wrote the groups in the letter. “Doing so will make Duke Energy a leader in a powerful new global market, and will secure your legacy as one of very few energy CEOs with the courage to do what was necessary when history called.”
While Duke’s recent sustainability report announced increased investment in renewable energy, almost all of that investment is planned for outside of the Carolinas, and even counting renewable energy outside of the Carolinas, Duke admits that its greenhouse emissions will continue to rise. Duke is shipping clean energy jobs west, and sticking the ratepayers in its home state with the pollution and soaring power bills.
The growing wave of activism against Duke’s rate hikes for dirty energy will be on display at the shareholder meeting tomorrow, where hundreds of activists will present a 9’ x 16’ wall displaying photos taken by ratepayers to express their anger with Duke Energy’s decisions to raise rates for continued investments in dirty and dangerous energy sources.
Jim Warren, NC WARN Executive Director: 919-416-5077, firstname.lastname@example.org
For interviews with Phil Radford, contact Travis Nichols, Greenpeace media officer: 206-802-8498. email@example.com