Ralph Izzo is on a mission. The CEO of one of the largest utility companies in the country is an outspoken advocate that now is the time to take decisive action on climate change.
“We want our customers to use less energy. We want the energy they use to be cleaner,” says Izzo who heads PSEG (Public Service Enterprise Group). “It’s about climate change and making sure that our increased dependence upon electricity doesn’t create harm for the planet.”
That’s not the sort of message you usually hear from the utility industry. But ever since 2007 when Izzo became CEO of the New Jersey utility, he’s been urging other industry leaders to focus on saving energy, not just selling it. He says if New Jersey could reduce its energy consumption by just 2 percent, it would eliminate tons of carbon emissions—the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road.
With revenues of more than $9 billion, PSEG is ranked on the Fortune 500 list of the biggest companies in America. Under Izzo’s leadership, the utility has closed its coal-burning plants and has been a leading developer of solar energy and wind power.
Izzo is passionate when he talks about the climate change crisis.
“I’d like to see us reduce the number of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that are in the atmosphere,” he says. “The science is compelling. It’s very clear. It’s now decades old. Each week there seems to be another report that confirms that the time to act is now.”
What is the most important action he would like to see?
“Put a tax on carbon,” Izzo says. “And then let the market work.” He believes the “creative entrepreneurship of America” will find innovative solutions to fix the climate change crisis.
Watch the video above for more from my interview with Izzo.