Tom Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO
Energy companies are abandoning the sinking ship of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in droves over its opposition to climate change action. The Chamber is aggressively opposing efforts by President Obama and the Congress to fight global warming pollution, saying federal regulation would “strangle the economy” and cap-and-trade legislation would be “economically disruptive of business and industry activities.” However, responding to the criticism of the companies who have left the Chamber, spokesman Eric Wohlschlegel claimed his organization respects the science of climate change:
We’ve never questioned the science behind global warming.
This is a blatant falsehood, by any definition. The Chamber has a long history of questioning the science of climate change. The Chamber’s present campaign against regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency questions the existence of global warming as well as the scientific evidence of its impacts on the public health and welfare. The Chamber promotes global warming denier books “to advance our thinking about issues of significance,” and has promoted the work of global warming denier Pat Michaels since at least 1992:
2009: Chamber SVP Kovacs Calls For ‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ On The ‘Science Of Climate Change.’ “It would be evolution versus creationism. It would be the science of climate change on trial.” Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President William Kovacs explained that the Chamber was seeking a “Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” on global warming to prevent the EPA from declaring greenhouse gases a threat to the public welfare. [Los Angeles Times, 8/25/09]
2009: Chamber Claims No ‘Plausible Theory’ To Link ‘Climate Change With Extreme Weather Events And Disease In The United States,’ Disputes ‘Claims Of Ocean Acidification.’ In an official filing prepared by the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis for the comments on the EPA’s proposed endangerment finding for greenhouse gases, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce cited blog posts by global warming deniers such as Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger to challenge a broad range of climate change science, including sea level rise and the “UN/IPCC forecasted temperature increases.” [U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 8/25/09]
2009: National Chamber Foundation Promotes Global Warming Denier Book As ‘#1’ Top Book Of The Year. Promoting “Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s National Chamber Foundation writes: “Climatologists Patrick J. Michaels and Robert Balling Jr. explain that climate science is hardly unbiased,” and that the “pop-culture icons of climate change turns out to be short on facts and long on exaggeration.” On Twitter, the National Chamber Foundation ranked the book “#1” in its “Top Books of ’09.” [National Chamber Foundation, 8/20/09]
2008: National Chamber Foundation Promotes Global Warming ‘Deniers’ Book Against ‘Global Warming Hysteria.’ The National Chamber Foundation selected “The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution and Fraud; And those who are too fearful to do so” by Lawrence Solomon to “help shape the debate on issues important to the business community.” [National Chamber Foundation, 2008]
2008: Chamber President Tom Donohue Says ‘Scientific Inquiry’ Into Climate Change ‘Should Continue’ Because Of ‘Cooling Trend.’ On March 4, 2008, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue revealed his true thoughts to the Chamber’s board, questioning the science of global warming: “As the scientific inquiry continues (and given the recent reports indicating a cooling trend over the last year, such inquiry should continue) the Chamber supports public and private sector action to control the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.” [U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 3/4/08]
2003: Chamber Says ‘We Need To Have Better Science’ To Justify Climate Action. Following the defeat of the McCain-Lieberman cap-and-trade climate legislation in 2003, William Kovacs, the Chamber’s vice president for environment, technology, and regulatory affairs, told the Heartland Institute, “We need to have better science to support any efforts to restrict energy use before Americans can justify sacrificing their jobs, quality of life, and paying almost double for their utility bills.” [Heartland Institute, 11/21/03]
2003: Chamber Claims ‘Every Aspect Of The Environment’ Is ‘Getting Cleaner.’ Praising George W. Bush’s environmental record, William Kovacs dismissed the concept of global warming pollution. “The air, along with every other aspect of the environment, is getting cleaner. I think that has been a true statement for the last 30 years, and it will continue to be. I think Bush has been continuing along that path.” [New York Times, 2/23/2003]
2001: Chamber Claims Global Warming ‘About One Percent From Human Activity,’ Says ‘Things Just Change.’ Appearing on CNNFN, William Kovacs challenged the “link” between human activity and global warming and called for more research. “Let me address two issues. One is, the link. You know, let’s be realistic, 95 percent of all greenhouse gases, you know, really come from water vapor; and another 3 or 4 percent from natural causes, and we’re down to about one percent from human activity. So the Bush plan is really twofold. One is, we’re going to spend another 120-$130 million to see if we can get some of the tough issues, and make the links. Even EPA agrees. You know, yes, there is global warming, but you know, 20 years ago, we were worried about global cooling. Things just change, and before we sink the economy, we need to make sure we’ve got the right research done.” [CNNFN, 7/16/2001]
1992: Chamber Sponsors Global Warming Denier Pat Michaels To ‘Refute The Global Warming Warnings.’ “Bankrolled partly by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Global Climate Coalition, a group of manufacturers fearful of new environmental regulations, Patrick Michaels and Washington, D.C., attorney Eugene M. Trisko have been traveling cross-country to refute the global warming warnings from environmentalists.” [Chicago Sun-Times, 5/13/1992]
U.S. Chamber of Commerce board member Don Blankenship, the president and CEO of coal giant Massey Energy who has argued “greeniacs are taking over the world,” told Forbes yesterday that global warming is a “hoax”:
I think it’s all a hoax and a Ponzi scheme. I can’t find any logic to the fact that the climate is actually changing any more because of man than it would without man.