In a letter to the Chamber, PG&E Chairman and Chief Executive Peter Darbee wrote:
We find it dismaying that the Chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored. In our opinion, an intellectually honest argument over the best policy response to the challenges of climate change is one thing; disingenuous attempts to diminish or distort the reality of these challenges are quite another.
In short, we’re leaving because the Chamber has been overrun by climate science deniers and disinformers (see “Are Chamber President Tom Donohue’s Ties to Union Pacific Railroading the Companies that Support Climate Policy?” and “Chamber admits calling for ‘Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century’ was dumb “” but it still apes the deniers”).
PG&E’s letter is excerpted in a blunt post on the company’s blog, Next100.com, titled, “Irreconcilable Differences,” written by Jonathan Marshall, PG&E’s Chief of External Communications:
In a letter to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, PG&E Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee cited “fundamental differences” over climate change to explain why the company is pulling out of the organization, despite the Chamber’s “long history as a positive force for America’s businesses and its economy.”
The letter criticized the Chamber for taking an extreme position on climate change, which Darbee said does not represent the range of views among Chamber members. In particular, he took the Chamber to task for its recent demand that there be a “Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” to challenge the science on climate change….
Darbee also drew a sharp contrast between the Chamber’s approach and the constructive, consensus-driven positions forged by Edison Electric Institute and the U.S. Climate Action Partnership.
Instead, he said, “I fear it has forfeited an incredible chance to play a constructive leadership role on one of the most important issues our country may ever face.”
This is another in a long line of major companies quitting industry groups that are pushing denial, delay, and disinformation:
- ACCCE takes on water: Alstom quits scandal-ridden coal industry front group, joining Duke and Alcoa “” time for GE and Caterpillar to jump ship, too
- Duke Energy quits coal front group over climate bill
Interestingly, PG&E’s Marshall puts his company’s action in the context of those decisions:
In the past several weeks, two high-profile companies — Duke Energy and Alstom — publicly gave up their membership in the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy in protest over its opposition to federal climate change legislation.
Other companies that similarly favor climate change legislation faced uncomfortable questions this summer over their memberships in similar groups that have mounted aggressive campaigns to defeat pending climate bills.
Most responded to critics by pointing out that climate change is only one of many issues these organizations address.
Fair enough. But not every issue is created equal, and sometimes companies decide they have to take a more decisive stand on the really big ones.
Duke and Alstom made that decision. Now PG&E has as well.
Kudos to PG&E.
Here are other conflicts (via Wonk Room):
- Members of USCAP and API: Siemens, General Electric [a division] and BP America
- Members of USCAP and the Chamber of Commerce: Caterpillar, ConocoPhillips, Deere & Company, Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, and Siemens
- Member of BICEP [Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy] and the Chamber of Commerce: Nike
- Other ostensibly green companies on the boards of NAM and the Chamber include AT&T, Procter & Gamble, Verizon, Corning, Ford, Honda, Toyota, 3M, Intel, and IBM
How about it, supposedly green companies? If a big electric utility like PG&E can do the right thing, why not you?