GE chief hopes Copenhagen leads
to US clean energy
Dec 8, 2009 - The Associated Press
General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt
said Tuesday he hopes the Copenhagen conference on
climate change leads the United States to develop
a green energy policy to grow the economy.
"What's most important for the U.S. is that we go
from Copenhagen, go into 2010, and have the courage
to act on clean energy for the good of the country
from the standpoint of creating jobs," Immelt told
a conference on renewable energy.
More than 100 national leaders from around the world
are meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, to try to craft
an agreement to reduce greenhouse gases and stem climate
Immelt told a meeting on renewable energy at Clemson
University that within five years, 10 million new
green jobs will be created worldwide.
"We would rather see the U.S. be a big player than
to see them overseas," he said.
But he said the world will not wait for the United
States to take the lead. "The Chinese will build more
nuclear plants than we will this year.
The Chinese will install more wind energy than we
will this year. Europe is moving ahead on renewable
energy," he said. "If we don't get off our butts and
move aggressively forward, the world is not going
to wait for us."
He said it's crucial that the United States develop
a clean energy policy.
"This is about certainty," he said. "It's quite important
that we need some kind of certainty, some kind of
standards and this is the time we should be acting
to create what I would call a clean energy future
that creates jobs, creates prosperity and reduces
pollution at the same time."
The conference, at Clemson's International Center
for Automotive Research, was sponsored by GE, GE Energy,
Clemson University and the university's Restoration
GE employs 3,100 nearby at a gas turbine plant in
Last month, Clemson announced it was getting nearly
$100 million to study wind energy in North Charleston,
work officials say could create thousands of jobs.
"I think it's got great potential, it's a good investment
for the long term," Immelt said, noting that Europe
plans to install turbines to create 30 new gigawatts
of wind energy in the next decade.
"There is a bunch of offshore wind that's going to
happen in Europe," he said. "I don't know what's going
to happen in the U.S. We really don't know as a country.
But I do know there's going to be a lot in Europe."
Immelt said for the U.S. to become a global leader
in green technology requires three things: a renewed
commitment to technology, public policy that encourages
investment in such technology and creating jobs.
Copenhagen Climate Conference: http://en.cop15.dk/