Sunday, December 5, 2010

GE’s Immelt Calls Current US Energy Policy "Stupid"

GE's CEO Jeffrey Immelt has indicated that the US needs a national energy policy that puts a long-term price on carbon pollution as China and other nations surge ahead in green technology.

GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, is the world’s biggest maker of power-generation equipment, GE power-generation equipment provides one-third of the world’s electricity. The GE Energy Infrastructure division includes transmission equipment and smart-meters.

As reported in Businesssweek, Immelt said, “China is green, green, green, green -- four greens.” He cited demand, innovation funding, supply chain and public policy as advantages for China over the US.

Immelt is a leading advocate in US Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of companies backing stalled legislation that would establish a cap-and-trade. The failure to set new rules promoting “clean” technologies puts the U.S. at risk, he said.

“You actually have to have an energy policy,” Immelt said. “It’s stupid what we have today.”

China and other industrialized counties are pulling ahead of the US in the race to lead in clean energy because policy makers in Washington have been caught up in debates on issues such as the effects of climate change, Immelt said.

“The rest of the world is moving 10 times faster than we are, and that’s going to mean someday fewer jobs, it’s going to mean less energy security, it’s going to mean lots of other things other than just climate change,” he said.

Immelt, who also called for a national standard requiring the use of renewable energy, said GE won’t give up on pushing to change US energy policy.

Immelt indicated that the US needs to establish a “long-term price signal” on carbon emissions, in order for companies to provide “appropriate funding for innovation.” Such moves would create jobs rather than shift them overseas, Immelt said.

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