Just as Verizon takes some heat for sponsoring an anti-Waxman-Markey rally (and concert) in West Virginia, Sightline asks where Northwest businesses stand when it comes to public policy to curb climate change—on the sidelines or in the game.
Our op-ed appeared in the Puget Sound Business Journal last week. Here it is in a nutshell.
The nation’s largest business lobby, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has asked the Environmental Protection Agency to hold public hearings on climate science. Chamber officials say it would be “the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century,” complete with witnesses, cross-examinations and a judge who, ostensibly, would rule on whether humans are contributing to dangerous climate changes.
The fact is, the scientific “trial” is long over.
But there is another trial worth conducting, over whether the chamber actually speaks for American business.
Will the chamber’s 3 million business members go along with this stale and politically motivated attack on science? In this national courtroom, will Northwest members of the chamber—Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, and others—stand up to the public’s cross-examination?
The national chamber has long campaigned against President Barack Obama’s climate and clean-energy policies. For this reason, a few leading members, including Oregon’s Nike, have publicly broken with the association. Others remain silent. Despite strong corporate positions on the need to address climate change and efforts to green their business practices and products, most of our homegrown industry giants are keeping mum in the political arena—where it matters most.
Standing on the sidelines of the debate in state legislatures and in Congress—and in the court of public opinion—can be as damaging as standing in the way.