Chamber of Commerce Changes Climate Change Policy in Face of Corporate Defections Chamber of Commerce Changes Climate Change Policy in Face of Corporate Defections
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Chamber of Commerce Changes Climate Change Policy in Face of Corporate Defections

by Morgan Clendaniel

October 20, 2009
According to a press release just sent out by the Chamber of Commerce, they are giving up lobbying against climate change legislation, and will instead be "throwing its weight behind strong climate legislation." This is after both Nike and Apple rescinded their membership in the CoC over comments criticizing government regulation of greenhouse gases. Now, it seems the CoC will be taking the exact oppisite approach. This is a rather huge deal.The Chamber of Commerce ??President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue announced in a speech this morning that the previous policy was planning in the short term; planning for climate change would be in the long term interest of the business community his organization supports:"Climatologists tell us that if we don't enact dramatic reductions in carbon emissions today, within 5 years we could begin facing the propagating feedback loops of runaway climate change. That would mean a disruption of food and water supplies worldwide, with the result of mass migrations, famines, and death on a scale never witnessed before.Needless to say, that would be bad for business.We at the Chamber have tried to keep climate science from interfering with business. But without a stable climate, there will be no business. We need business more than we need relentlessly higher returns.A number of prominent and long-standing members have recently left the Chamber over our opposition to climate legislation. Numerous others have expressed their dissension, and a number of local Chambers have done so as well.Today, we're finally taking their cue. There is only one sound way to do business: that's to support a strong climate-change bill quickly, so that this December in Copenhagen, President Obama can lead the entire business world in ensuring our long-term prosperity."It's a pretty remarkable statement coming from what is usually a staunchly conservative (as in incremental change) organization. It's basically the exact language that pro-climate change legislation supporters have used to make it clear that climate-change legislation is in the long-term interests of business. While their will be some inherent suspicion of this decision (especially because of the energy companies that were some of the first to leave the Chamber over their policy. I think they've figured out they can make a lot of money under a cap and trade bill, huh?) it's exactly the understanding we need to have: Climate change legislation is going to help businesses over the long term. It doesn't need to be an environmental decision, it can be a financial one, as long as we all get to the same place.Here is the full text of Donohue's statement.UPDATE: I was totally punked by our friends the Yes Men. Read the update here.
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Chamber of Commerce Changes Climate Change Policy in Face of Corporate Defections