I wrote recently about the US Chamber of Commerce and its troubling stance on global climate change–not to mention its lobbying efforts to thwart national energy policy. (You may recall they were asking for a national-level courtroom hearing in the style of the Scopes trial of 1925 to weigh the merits of climate science.) I also asked which Northwest companies would rise to the occasion and break off ties with the Chamber. After all, membership (and silence) in this context can be read—by the Chamber and by policymakers alike—as a sign of agreement with the organization’s politics.
Oregon’s Nike already publicly broke with the Chamber for this very reason. Nothing from Microsoft or Amazon yet. But a few others are peeling away. Just this week, New Mexico’s largest utility made the break:
The Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) is dropping its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the business group’s stance on climate change. Earlier this week, PNM criticized the Chamber of Commerce, saying, “We believe the science is compelling enough to act sooner rather than later, and we support comprehensive federal legislation to meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect customers against unreasonable cost increases.”
See, that wasn’t so hard!
And, closer to our neck of the woods, San Francisco-based PG&E recently broke away as well. From the Washington Post:
Pacific Gas and Electric, a large California utility, said Tuesday that it is pulling out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because it disagrees with the chamber’s aggressive opposition to climate-change legislation…Chief executive Peter Darbee had written a letter criticizing the chamber’s recent demands that the Environmental Protection Agency hold a “Scopes Monkey Trial” to prove the science behind climate change.
“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,” Darbee wrote.
And they say breaking up is hard to do. Not if the relationship is an abusive one—or if boorish politics can no longer be tolerated. Don’t you already feel that sense of relief?
That’s two big western utilities in a matter of days. Now, the question is, who’s next?