Former Duke Energy CEO: Clinton will be “more pragmatic” on climate change

WASHINGTON — With the presidential election only a few weeks out – and Hillary Clinton’s lead in polls holding strong – the question of how a Clinton administration would handle the issue of climate change is at the front of many an energy executive’s thinking right now.

But while they’re staying quiet, a former colleague from the top ranks is not shy about saying what he thinks.

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers (AP file/The News & Observer, Shawn Rocco)
Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers (AP file/The News & Observer, Shawn Rocco)

In a talk at the New Energy Summit in Washington Tuesday, former Duke CEO Jim Rogers speculated that unlike President Barack Obama – who has addressed climate change policies  largely without the agreement of Congress – Clinton might have a better chance at cutting a deal with Republicans.

“She’s going to be more pragmatic. She has a history of being able to negotiate,” Rogers said. “She’s going to do more for clean energy than has been done in the last eight years – and she’s going to do that in the first four.”

Rogers, who left Duke in 2013 and has a new book out called Lighting the World, has become an unlikely advocate for decarbonization in the power sector, arguing the industry has not kept up with advancements in renewable energy or fully recognized the implications of climate change.

Asked whether  he thought Clinton would push for a carbon tax – something Exxon Mobil and some Republicans argue is necessary to avoid piece mail regulation across different industries – Rogers noted that  Clinton so far has avoided endorsement of a carbon tax. But he speculated that could change if she’s elected to the White House.

“I’m guessing Hillary’s saying I don’t need to say that now,” Rogers said.