Greg Abel Represents Berkshire at White House Climate Change Meeting

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It’s no surprise when Warren Buffett attends a meeting at the White House, but it was not Buffett who was there this past Monday, it was Greg Abel, who heads up Berkshire Hathaway Energy, and is also rumored to be the leading candidate as Buffett’s successor.

On July 27, Berkshire Hathaway Energy and some of the largest companies in the nation gathered at the White House to officially launch the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, a demonstration of the U.S. private sector’s commitment to taking on the global challenge of climate change.

Greg Abel, who serves as the chairman, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, and Cathy Woollums, senior vice president, environmental services and chief environmental counsel, attended the meeting, which was led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Other companies that sent representatives included Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Cargill, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, Pepsi, UPS and Walmart.

Through participation in the meeting, U.S. business leaders voiced their support for a strong outcome in the international climate negotiations taking place in Paris this December. Participating companies pledged to take specific, quantifiable steps to reduce emissions, increase low-carbon investments, use and build more clean energy, and deploy cleaner vehicles, among other actions.

“As a provider of essential energy services, our customers depend on us to power their lives and livelihoods,” said Abel. “And we know that they expect us to do that in a way that respects the environment we share. For more than a decade, we have been making significant investments to reduce the impact of our operations on the environment and fostering a more sustainable future by developing renewable energy generation and reducing emissions from our facilities. Joining these other U.S. businesses is one more way we can demonstrate our commitment to lead on climate action.”

Berkshire’s Renewable Energy Commitment

Berkshire Hathaway Energy has already invested more than $15 billion in renewable energy generation projects that are under construction and in operation through 2014, and has pledged to invest up to an additional $15 billion going forward.

In May, BHE announced a 400-megawatt wind farm that will be located about 12 miles northeast of O’Neill, Nebraska, and will begin construction this summer. The completion date will be in 2016. The new wind farm will be the largest in the state and will increase Nebraska’s wind energy capacity by nearly 50 percent.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy owns a portfolio of businesses that provide electric and natural gas services to more than 11.5 million customers and end-users worldwide. Its family of businesses includes U.S. utilities MidAmerican Energy Company, NV Energy, Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power, as well as interstate natural gas pipeline, electric transmission and renewable energy businesses, and distribution networks in the United Kingdom.

“U.S. utilities have been transitioning to a cleaner generating fleet for years, resulting in a 15 percent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions below 2005 levels,” Abel said. “Berkshire Hathaway Energy is leading by example. We have long supported and made investments to advance climate-friendly solutions that move us forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future.”

© 2015 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.