- The Washington Times - Monday, April 19, 2021

Thirteen of the nation’s leading electricity companies are pledging to work with President Biden to slash carbon emissions ahead of Thursday’s international White House summit on climate change.

On Friday, the companies sent a letter to Mr. Biden urging the administration to design a wide-reaching energy agenda to curb carbon emission more than 80% below 2005 levels by 2030.

“A federal policy framework can be designed to support the power sector’s deployment of strategies that are technically feasible, ensure reliability, and maintain affordability for customers,” the companies wrote.

Within their letter, the companies argued in favor of broad policies that could generate buy-in from consumers and the energy industry.

Topping the list of proposals favored by the companies, was a clean electricity standard. The companies, though, stopped short of endorsing Mr. Biden’s desire to reach 100% clean — carbon-free — electricity by 2035.

Among the 13 firms signing the letter was the Exelon Corporation, which is the largest regulated electric utility company in the U.S. 

The letter comes as Mr. Biden is set to host a global climate summit at the White House this week.

The event, which will be virtual due to the lingering coronavirus pandemic, will bring together 40 world leaders to discuss climate change policies in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. Mr. Biden rejoined the international framework on the first day in office this year, reversing a 2017 decision by former President Trump to shun the agreement.

Ahead of the event, Mr. Biden is expected to unveil his administration’s target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To date, environmentalists have called on Mr. Biden to aim for a 50% reduction in carbon emissions, below 2005 levels, by 2030. 

Myron Ebell, the director of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment, said the electric companies were likely proposing a higher emissions target in hopes of getting a more favorable timeline for a 100% clean electricity standard. 

“The utilities are generally happy to do whatever government tells them to do because they can pass on the costs to their consumers while maintaining or even increasing their guaranteed profits,” Mr. Ebell said. “In this case, I think the utilities realize that what the Biden-Harris administration is proposing is impossible… Hence the offer of 80% by 2030, which is also impossible, but perhaps not quite as ruinously costly to attempt and fail to achieve as 100%.”

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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