PG&E Quits U.S. Chamber of Commerce Over Climate Change, Nike Applies Pressure

by | Sep 24, 2009

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climate2Citing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “extreme position on climate change,” Pacific Gas & Electric has quit the chamber, reports the New York Times. Nike also is taking umbrage with the chamber’s position, according to various news outlets.

The move by PG&E, a major California utility, follows similar moves by Duke Energy and Alstom to quit the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy in recent weeks, reports SocialFunds.

The Chamber of Commerce has threatened a lawsuit to challenge the science behind global warming.

PG&E sent a letter to the chamber, parts of which are excerpted on the PG&E blog post “Irreconciable Differences.”

In the letter, PG&E Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee wrote: “We find it dismaying that the Chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored. In our opinion, an intellectually honest argument over the best policy response to the challenges of climate change is one thing; disingenuous attempts to diminish or distort the reality of these challenges are quite another.”

Darbee wrote that he feels the Chamber of Commerce has “forfeited an incredible chance to play a constructive leadership role on one of the most important issues our country may ever face.”

Nike, meanwhile, is becoming more critical of the chamber’s stance.  Erin Dobson, Director of Corporate Responsibility Communications at Nike, copied the Natural Resource Defense Council on a statement it has made about the chamber’s stance.

“Nike fundamentally disagrees with the US Chamber of Commerce’s position on climate change and is concerned and deeply disappointed with the US Chamber’s recently filed petition challenging the EPA’s administrative authority and action on this critically important issue.

“Nike believes that climate change is an urgent issue affecting the world today and that businesses and their representative associations need to take an active role to invest in sustainable business practices and innovative solutions to address the issue. It is not a time for debate but instead a time for action and we believe the Chamber’s recent petition sets back important work currently being undertaken by EPA on this issue.”

The chamber continues to defend its position. From a recent blog post on the chamber’s site: “Preserving and protecting our economy and our environment for future generations is one of the top priorities of the U.S. Chamber. American business is the single largest investor and innovator in clean energy solutions and remains committed to propelling this nation to a prosperous and lower carbon future. We support sound policies that incentivize innovation and new business opportunities rather than the approach coming out of the House and the EPA which will strangle business with thousands of new regulation and stifle America’s competitiveness.”

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