As J. Wayne Leonard retires from the ranks of U.S. electric utility executives, the former chairman of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp (ETR.N) said he will continue to push the industry and the nation to combat climate change.

Leonard, 62, retired as chairman and CEO of the electric power producer and distributor on Thursday. He has been speaking out about the dangers of global warming for years, making him something of a rarity in his industry.

The issue of how to deal with a warming planet has created a disconnect among U.S. power companies, a division between utilities that rely on coal-fired power plants that emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) and those that operate more nuclear, natural gas and renewable generation with lower or no CO2 emissions.

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