PG&E, disagreeing over clean energy legislation, quits U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Authors: ada

PG&E is quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The California utility company cited "fundamental differences" as the reason for leaving the organization, appalled by the Chamber's "extreme views" on climate change and their request for a Scopes-like trial to settle once and for all the issue of global warming.

In a letter to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce posted on PG&E's blog, PG&E Chairman and Chief Executive Peter Darbee said:

"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."

PG&E's move follows recent decisive action by other business leaders taking a stand on climate change.

Only a few weeks earlier, Duke Energy and Alstom gave up their membership in the American Coalition for Clean Energy Coal to protest the Coalition's opposition to federal climate and clean energy legislation.

Nike also has been standing up to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Yesterday, Nike circulated a statement expressing their disagreement with the U.S. Chamber's approach to climate policy.

"Nike fundamentally disagrees with the US Chamber of Commerce's position on climate change and is concerned and deeply disappointed with the US Chamber's recently filed petition challenging the EPA's administrative authority and action on this critically important issue.

"Nike believes that climate change is an urgent issue affecting the world today and that businesses and their representative associations need to take an active role to invest in sustainable business practices and innovative solutions to address the issue."

Opponents of clean energy legislation have long spread rumors that clean energy is bad for business. Yet this fracturing of the business community undermines that argument, as major corporations openly support a transition to clean energy. As these companies know, climate change is devastating for businesses, along with everyone else who must adapt and respond.

Furthermore, clean energy is good for the economy, and good for business too! A clean energy economy can results in creating 3 times the number of jobs than can be created by the fossil fuel industry. And as President Obama said in a speech yesterday, "I firmly believe that the nation that leads the clean-energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy." That just scratches at the surface of how transitioning to clean energy can revitalize our economy and lay the foundation for years of strong economic growth.

Nike and PG&E are speaking up just in time. Next week, the Senate is expected to release the first draft of their climate and clean energy bill. Making sure the bill is good for businesses, workers, communities, and the earth, AND has enough support to pass through the Senate, will be a tough battle. It will be encouraging to have these big businesses on our side.

As the Senate considers passing a strong climate and clean energy bill, they should remember three simple words from Nike:

Just Do It.

Learn more at CNNmoney, Reuters, and Switchboard, the NRDC blog.

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