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PG&E quits US Chamber over ‘dismaying’ climate stance

Hear no evilLong an organisation that promotes corporate interests over social or environmental ones, the US Chamber of Commerce has gone too far in its opposition to climate change action, according to one member that’s publicly quit the group.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee this week sent a letter to the chamber that said his company is withdrawing because of “fundamental differences” over 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 in the letter. “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.”

Beyond opposing pending climate change legislation as “anti-business,” the chamber has loudly questioned the validity of climate change itself. Last month, chamber officials called for a Scopes-like “monkey trial of the 21st century” on climate science. Without any apparent irony, William Kovacs, the chamber’s senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs, said the public trial would be “evolution versus creationism.”

(Kovacs later noted in a blog post, “My ‘Scopes monkey’ analogy was inappropriate and detracted from my ability to effectively convey the Chamber’s position on this important issue.”)

The opposition by some business interests to climate change action has grown increasingly strident in recent months. Earlier this summer, US Congressional investigators found at least 14 instances of forged letters against climate change action that were sent to legislators. Purporting to come from a variety of women’s, minority and senior organisations, the letters were in fact sent by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

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