5 Facts That Prove the U.S. Chamber is Anything But Environmentally Sustainable

This week in Las Vegas, the U.S. Chamber’s corporate citizenship affiliate, the Business Civic Leadership Center, is hosting a conference on “environmental sustainability.” In a blog on GreenBiz.com, a public affairs executive lists 5 reasons why he thinks the U.S. Chamber can be a “force for green”, with the upcoming conference setting the stage. It’s a blatant attempt to paint the U.S. Chamber as a business lobby that has the potential to catapult environmental sustainability and innovation to the forefront of industry, but we know better. The U.S. Chamber has chosen polluters over people every time it’s taken a political stance in Washington DC, and there has been no indication that it’s leadership will have a change of heart anytime soon.

Here are 5 facts (out of hundreds) that prove the U.S. Chamber is anything but environmentally sustainable:

1. Many high profile members of the U.S. Chamber are quitting or distancing themselves from the national organization. Apple, PG&E, Nike and many other corporations are publicly distancing themselves or quitting the U.S. Chamber altogether because of it’s stance on climate change and environmental protection.

2. Many local chamber affiliates are quitting the U.S. Chamber, because it’s partisan politicking around political and environmental issues in Washington DC is contradictory to what small business owners in this country want. Stan Kosciuszko, president of the Butler County, Pennsylvania, Chamber of Commerce, which is no longer a member of the Chamber, said, ‘They’ve abandoned the interests of smaller chambers like status unclear mine for their larger corporate members.’

3. Climate change presents the most critical environmental challenge of our time, threatening the global economy and the survival of hundreds of millions of people, and the U.S. Chamber has done everything in it’s power to stop any legislation around the problem. In 2009, for instance, one of their Vice Presidents demanded a “Scopes monkey trial” on global warming: “it would be the science of climate change on trial,” the chamber’s senior vice-president for  environment, technology, and regulatory affairs explained. More recently, they petitioned the EPA to take no action on climate change, on the grounds that “populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations.” We don’t know who those 16 companies are, but you can pretty much guess how they make their money, and why they use the Chamber to launder it.

4. The U.S. Chamber says that regulation to control carbon pollution kills jobs—this is a lie, and it’s preventing our country from creating good paying green jobs for Americans. Already, more Americans have green jobs than oil or gas jobs. The truth is that regulation is good for the environment and for the economy, but the Chamber is hoping that in these hard economic times, Americans’ concern about jobs will scare them into believing that regulation of greenhouse gases will stifle job growth.

5. The U.S. Chamber spends more money than any other group to influence our democracy and rollback environmental regulations that would help our economy and clean up our environment. In 2010, it spent over $33m on attack ads and elections throughout the country, 93% of that cash going to far-right conservative candidates intent on stopping the EPA from cleaning up our air and atmosphere.

While it’s true that the business community has a pivotal role to play in lowering global carbon emissions and promoting economic recovery through environmental and clean energy innovation, the U.S. Chamber has proven—through it’s history of lobbying to dismantle the EPA and stop any progress on climate change—that environmental sustainability is the last thing on it’s mind. Far from being a “force for green”, the U.S. Chamber is the most notorious anti-environmental, non-sustainable organization in the country.