The Chamber of Commerce and the Climate Crisis October 8, 2009 : 11:48 AM

During the past few weeks, Pacific Gas and Electric, Exelon, and now Apple have left the Chamber of Commerce, and Nike resigned from the organization’s board because of its stand on the climate crisis.

This exodus has made the Chamber sensitive to criticism. Last week a chamber spokesperson had the gall to claim, “We’ve never questioned the science behind global warming.” However as Think Progress points out,

“This is a blatant falsehood, by any definition. Just last month, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President William Kovacs called for the “Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” to put “the science of climate change on trial.”

I know a lot about the Scopes Trial, because it was held in my home state of Tennessee, and I have visited the courtroom where it took place. It divided our country in the early part of the 20th century and became a national embarrassment. The fact the Chamber of Commerce would openly call for a repeat of the Scopes Trial should be an embarrassment to every business leader still belonging to the organization and every American who believes that we should guide America’s destiny on the basis of truth and scientific fact, rather than ideologically driven propaganda.

Think Progress continues,

“The Chamber, dominated by pollution-industry skeptics such as Don Blankenship, Harry Alford, and Fred Palmer, has questioned climate science since at least 1992:”

“2008: Chamber President Tom Donohue Says ‘Scientific Inquiry’ Into Climate Change ‘Should Continue’ Because Of ‘Cooling Trend.’ [U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 3/4/08]”

“2001: Chamber Claims Global Warming ‘About One Percent From Human Activity,’ Says ‘Things Just Change.’ [CNNFN, 7/16/01]”

“1992: Chamber Sponsors Global Warming Denier Pat Michaels To ‘Refute The Global Warming Warnings.’ [Chicago Sun-Times, 5/13/92]”

Not only has the Chamber spent decades denying the existence of the climate crisis, now it is dedicating a significant quantity of resources and money attempting prevent Congress from taking action. It’s time they stop letting conservative ideology get in the way of policy that will ultimately be good for American businesses and consumers.