DTE Energy Chairman and CEO Gerry Anderson recently took the stage at the 8th annual Climate Leadership Conference with Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), to talk about the reasoning behind DTE’s plan to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80 percent by 2050, as well as how other businesses are addressing climate change. In this video, Anderson, who received the Individual Climate Leadership Award from C2ES and the Climate Registry, looks back on his role forming the now-in-limbo Clean Power Plan as Chair of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) CEO Environmental Subcommittee, the reaction from elected officials and investors following the launch of DTE’s sustainability initiatives and how the energy industry will move faster than expected without a federal framework in place to reduce emissions.

“I am really optimistic about the pace of carbon reduction we’re going to see in our (energy) sector, because we’re not unique in what we (DTE) face as company,” Anderson said. “Their (other energy companies’) situation is exactly what ours is and they’re going to come to the same conclusions. And this doesn’t play out over 50 years, it’s playing out over the next decade and half, we’re going to see this transition (to lower carbon emissions).”

The discussion wraps up by touching on Detroit’s most well-known industry – automotive – with Anderson sharing his thoughts on the rising popularity of electric vehicles, lowering the cost of battery technology and electricity eventually displacing oil as the primary fuel for vehicles.  “In the automotive world, they’re going to go through the same transition we are with coal,” Anderson said. “Oil is going to be displaced; it’s going to happen.”

Presented at the eighth annual Climate Leadership Conference in Denver, Anderson is among the first energy company CEOs to win the prestigious Individual Climate Leadership Award award, which honors exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in reducing carbon emissions and addressing climate change.