Nations largest utility pulls the plug on the Chamber over climate denial. Exelon CEO Rowe says, “Putting a price on carbon is essential, because it will force us to do the cheapest things, like energy efficiency, first.”

“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,” said Rowe. “Putting a price on carbon is essential, because it will force us to do the cheapest things, like energy efficiency, first.”

Inaction on climate is not an option,” said Rowe. “If Congress does not act, the EPA will, and the result will be more arbitrary, more expensive, and more uncertain for investors and the industry than a reasonable, market-based legislative solution.”

John RoweExelon issued a press release today announcing CEO John Rowe’s decision to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  It includes the above excerpts from his speech calling for immediate action by Congress.

More and more utilities have cut the power to the Chamber (see “Will last company to leave the Chamber’s Boardroom please turn off the lights!“) — though they have been in the dark a long time (see “Chamber admits calling for ‘Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century’ was dumb “” but it still apes the deniers“).

Okay, enough puns.  Here’s the background, from Wonk Room:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the largest lobbying force in the nation, promoting a right-wing agenda as the “voice of business.” The Chamber claims that a cap-and-trade program to limit global warming pollution would “strangle the economy” and has even called for a “Scopes monkey trial” on the science of global warming.Today, Exelon CEO John Rowe announced that his company “” the largest electric utility company in the United States “” would not renew its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of its opposition to global warming action. In his keynote address to the annual conference of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the nation’s largest association of energy efficiency experts, Rowe said that the Chamber’s multi-million-dollar campaign against clean energy legislation is incompatible with Exelon’s commitment to climate change leadership. As Rowe said when he accepted a leadership award from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce in 2008:

Exelon has staked out an industry-leading position on the issue of climate change and, in the spirit of Daniel Burnham, we have launched our own “not so little plan” to eliminate the equivalent of our entire carbon footprint by the year 2020. I do not know if it will stir men’s souls, but I hope it will stir policymakers and others in our industry to action.

Confirming Exelon’s decision to ThinkProgress, a spokesperson explained that “Exelon is a big supporter of climate legislation.” Exelon is the third energy company to sever ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the past week, joining Pacific Gas & Electric and PNM Resources.

14 Responses to Nations largest utility pulls the plug on the Chamber over climate denial. Exelon CEO Rowe says, “Putting a price on carbon is essential, because it will force us to do the cheapest things, like energy efficiency, first.”

  1. Roger says:

    Kudos to Rowe, and to Exelon for having the courage to withdraw their support. Every responsible CEO who cares about the future should follow the leaders who have made this move. It’s l-o-n-g overdue!

  2. ZS says:

    Glad to see that some forward thinking companies are finally realizing that even without the moral imperative to address climate change, it’s in their financial interest to be on the forefront of clean energy.

  3. Jeff Huggins says:


    Joe (or anyone), who should be the next companies to pull out, make a statement, and join the growing group of more responsible corporations?

    Bravo to Exelon for this.



  4. paulm says:

    Wow. Things are turning.

  5. paulm says:

    anyone with a list that we should approach?

  6. Ruth Brandt says:

    This makes me happy…

  7. John Redford says:

    It’s unheard-of for companies of this size to quit the Chamber of Commerce. It’s especially embarrassing because these utilities are exactly the ones most affected by greenhouse legislation. It’s a wake-up call to the CoC – if your organization has been taken over by wingnuts, you’re going to be on the wrong side of major issues. This is more evidence for the pro-business wing of the Right that their fundie allies are taking them over a cliff.

  8. Ric Merritt says:

    Interestingly in the present context, the membership of the US Chamber of Commerce is more or less secret. From their website FAQ: “We will not confirm the membership status of organizations. To find out if a specific company is a member, you will have to contact the company directly.”

  9. We can all vote with our dollars by patronizing companies which have seen the light and refusing to buy from companies that continue to lead us into destruction. Spread the word about which companies have taken these and other necessary steps

  10. Greener says:

    Google your local CoC and find the list of members. Contact them and let them know what the CoC is doing in their name and ask them to pressure the local CoC to fight what the US CoC is doing. The US CoC get a lot of their clout from having so many members. It is time the members push back. And to get them to push back we need to push them. There are a lot of mom and pop restaurants and shoe stores that have no idea what is being done in their name. Time to tell them!

  11. Greener says:

    Are there any alternatives to the CoC for business to join that are progressive?

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