Duke Energy gets ‘F’ for impact on climate change policy in new report

Charlotte Business Journal, Sept. 21, 2015

Duke Energy ranks among the most obstructive major corporations on climate change policy, according to a report released last week by a British nonprofit organization.

The Charlotte-based utility giant (NYSE:DUK) calls the report methodology flawed and rejects its conclusions.

The report, Measuring Corporate Influence on Climate Policy, was prepared by a group called Influence Map. It ranks 100 major corporations worldwide by whether they are constructively engaged in addressing the issue using a methodology developed by researchers with the Union for Concerned Scientists.

Global list

Influence Map looked at the largest companies on the Forbes Global 2000 list (excluding financial services companies and state-owned enterprises) and the worlds two largest privately held corporations, grading them on a series of climate policy issues.

Duke is one of just four corporations to get an “F” overall from the group. It ranks only three places above last-place Koch Industries. That is the oil company owned by Charles and David Koch, famous for their implacable opposition to government efforts to address global warming.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Erin Culbert says her company questions the credibility of the report, contending it “appears to compile an Internet search to mischaracterize the company’s position and our real work to lower our carbon footprint.”

No credit

The report ranks companies strictly by their impact on climate policy — positive or negative. So Duke and the other energy-related companies were not penalized for the amount of carbon produced by their operations. Duke and the others do not get credit for efforts to reduce their own carbon footprint. The issue in the report is whether the corporate giants support constructive policies to address greenhouse gases and climate change, according to the UCS methodology.

“Duke Energy appear(s) .. opposed to most strands of climate change policy and regulations,” Influence Map concludes. “They appear to support policy that would maintain a high (greenhouse gas) energy mix in the US, promoting the continued role for coal to investors and the public, whilst emphasizing to policymakers in North Carolina the risk of decarbonizing industry.”

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