Are the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers listening?
It’s pretty plain at this late date that many, many leading companies in manufacturing, mining, finance, insurance and other industries recognize the threat of climate change to their businesses and the opportunities for growth with sustainability. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a good example of major corporations putting their shoulders to the wheel. The United States Climate Action Partnership and Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy show that many Fortune 500 companies want a cap-and-trade scheme here and they want it sooner, rather than later.
There’s a pretty big story in the fact that a growing number of companies are pulling out of the US Chamber of Commerce because of their denial of climate change and their opposition to cap-and-trade. The latest declaration of independence from the tunnel vision of the Chamber is Exelon, a major US utility. Reuters had this story yesterday in which they quoted an Environmental Defense Fund climate spokesman, speaking of the Chamber: “They’re lagging behind where their members actually are and I think what we’re seeing now is companies that have already made up their minds (on climate change) are losing patience. Lots of companies want a bill to get the uncertainty out of the process.”
Duke Energy, the nation’s third-largest utility, made a pretty big splash when they pulled out of the National Association of Manufacturers and they’ve also bailed out of the “American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.” So have Alstom Power and Alcoa, among others.
For more on this, see the story in today’s “FT” – Industry gets heated over stance taken by lobby groups. Dan Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress (and an old comrade-in-arms of mine from the acid rain wars) is quoted: “The chamber has signalled it is far outside the mainstream.”
Exelon’s head, John Rowe, said in a company statement “The carbon-based free lunch is over. But while we can’t fix our climate problems for free, the price signal sent through a cap-and-trade system will drive low-carbon investments in the most inexpensive and efficient way possible. Putting a price on carbon is essential, because it will force us to do the cheapest things, like energy efficiency, first.”
Earth to America. The US Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, not to mention the US Senators who are dead fearful of the transition to a low-carbon economy, need to hear these corporations.