Recently, there has been a “business backlash” against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its extreme global-warming denier views. Businesses, fed up with the Chamber’s resistance to taking any sort of action to curb carbon emissions, have been leaving the business federation one after another. In the past month alone, Pacific Gas & Electric, Exelon, Public Service Company of New Mexico, and Apple have left the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its extreme views on climate change.
Yesterday, during a solar energy event at the National Mall, Energy Secretary Steven Chu was asked by a Reuters reporter what he thought about the exodus of businesses from the Chamber. He replied by telling the reporter that he thinks it’s “wonderful” that companies are leaving:
CHU: I think it’s wonderful. I think that companies like that, Exelon, for example, others are saying that we have to recognize reality. In order to position the odd states in an economically competitive place and also to make the world minimize the dangers of significant climate change for our children and grandchildren we’ve got to go in this direction. So they’re saying, we can’t be a party to foot-dragging, to denials to things of that nature.
The Chamber has responded to the business exodus with scorn. After the flight of the most recent company, Apple, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue bitterly responded, “It is unfortunate that your company didn’t take the time to understand the Chamber’s position on climate and forfeited the opportunity to advance a 21st century approach to climate change.”
Yesterday, in a speech on financial reform, President Obama criticized the Chamber for running misleading ads:
And yet, predictably, a lot of the banks and big financial firms don’t like the idea of a consumer agency very much. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending millions on an ad campaign to kill it. You might have seen some of these ads — the ones that claim that local butchers and other small businesses somehow will be harmed by this agency. This is, of course, completely false — and we’ve made clear that only businesses that offer financial services would be affected by this agency. I don’t know how many of your butchers are offering financial services.