Corporations Leave U.S. Chamber in Protest of Stance on Climate Change
Apple announced this week they would join the ranks of PG&E, PNM Resources and Exelon in stepping down as members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in order to protest the chamber’s policies on climate change. Other chamber business members like Nike have decided to relinquish their position on the board of directors stating, “on the issue of climate change the Chamber has not represented the diversity of perspective held by the board of directors.”
The chamber opposes current climate change legislation on the grounds that it would cause the loss of American jobs and make energy too expensive for business. The number of defectors continued to grow when the chamber recently questioned the scientific legitimacy of the EPA’s research on climate change. They have petitioned the EPA to hold a public debate justifying their findings on health and welfare endangerment caused by global warming. If the EPA does not agree to the trial, the chamber is threatening litigation.
Their senior vice president for Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs, William Kovacs, said the chamber is “unconvinced that EPA has demonstrated, as a matter of law, that greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles in the U.S. endanger public health or welfare.” Essentially, the chamber fears that if the endangerment argument is proven, the regulation of the Clean Air Act will adversely affect their business members.
This is the classic “either/or” argument, pitting the economy against the environment. The Green Chamber of Commerce’s extensive membership and success demonstrates that this dichotomy is false and misleading; you can indeed have thriving businesses and be working toward environmental sustainability at the same time. As shown by the multiplying list of companies dropping from the U.S. Chamber, the American business community is increasingly calling for a new approach to business leadership — one that is consistent with their values of environmental stewardship.