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U.S. Chamber's Climate Stance At Odds With Some Members

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- a critic of last year’s Warner-Lieberman climate change bill and host of multiple “discussions” around the country of the economic implications of a cap-and-trade system -- has been a predictably stalwart opponent of climate change legislation.

Yet the chamber’s enduring resistance to climate change laws has put it at odds with some of its members, many of which have in recent years formed coalitions and taken policy stances supporting rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report from Politico Tuesday. The article says some of the chamber's high-profile corporate members, including Johnson & Johnson and Nike, are taking the organization to task over its climate change positions.

“We would appreciate if statements made by the Chamber would reflect the full range of views, especially those of Chamber members advocating for congressional action,” Clifford Holland, Johnson & Johnson’s corporate vice president of government affairs and policy, wrote in an April 16 letter reminding Donohue that the company is also a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. “We are hopeful that a consensus can be reached that reflects the views of the range of Chamber members.”

Washington, D.C. headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Licensed by Flickr user NCinDC
Companies such as Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Caterpillar and Alcoa -- all of which are represented on the chamber's board of directors -- are also a part of USCAP, which earlier this year released its Blueprint for Legislative Action in support of mandatory emissions limits.

Nike, also represented on the chamber's board of directors, is a founding member of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), a group of consumer brands advocating for climate laws that are more aggressive than the goals offered by President Barack Obama.

BICEP members also include Levi Strauss, Starbucks, Sun Microsystems, Timberland, Aspen Skiing Co., eBay, Clif Bar, Gap Inc., Seventh Generation and Symantec. Other pro-climate policy coalitions include Edison Electric Institute and Pew Center on Global Climate Change’s Business Environmental Leadership Council.

The Politico story suggests Johnson & Johnson’s climate communiqué to the chamber won’t be the last.
“Lobbyists at business coalitions that support federal climate change legislation say other companies are discussing the possibility of sending their own letters to the Chamber -- or of threatening to withhold dues from the Chamber in protest.” -- Politico
Interestingly, the Natural Resources Defense Council examined the climate change views of the chamber’s board of directors and found the vast majority had no publicly stated position on the issue, as the group's Climate Campaign Director Pete Altman noted in his blog Tuesday. Of the 23 corporate board members with public climate change stances, only four oppose regulations or refute the science altogether.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters image licensed by Flickr user NCinDC.

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