Saturday, October 25, 2008

Risks of Coal Power Investment

NEW YORK - Coal-fired power plants are among the top emitters of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. A major owner of coal-fired power plants has agreed to let investors in on the financial costs of global warming. NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that the energy company Dynegy Inc. has agreed to put detailed information in its financial filings on any material business risks posed by the outcry over climate change. That could include warning investors about looming government regulations that might make it more expensive to emit carbon, or the possibility that the company could be sued over pollution.

"You must disclose the risks that you are taking, and when you're building a coal-fired plant, you are truly creating many issues for years to come," Cuomo said. About the disclosure, he said, "It's not just good public policy, it's the law".

The agreement is the second of its type. Xcel Energy made a similar promise to Cuomo's office in August and the attorney general has pressured three other power firms to follow suit: AES Corporation, Dominion Resources and Peabody Energy.

Environmentalists applauded the deal. Former Vice President Al Gore, who appeared alongside Cuomo as he announced the arrangement in Manhattan, called the disclosure requirement "a new model to combat global warming."
The full reports are here and here.

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