Last week, we were treated to a chorus of business voices disavowing President Trump’s decision to withdraw from 2015’s landmark Paris climate accord. While it’s nice to see business leaders voice support for action on climate change, it’s difficult to take their lamentations seriously when many of them are funding the very group that paid for a now-debunked study used by President Donald Trump as justification for quitting the Paris Agreement.
That group? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the country’s largest business lobby and a leading opponent of action on climate change. The Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy was one of two sponsors of the bogus studythat Trump cited in his reasoning for exiting the accord. The study, which uses a severely flawed methodology, features wildly inflated numbers and ignores the vast potential of energy efficiency, is completely devoid of credibility. Not only did the Chamber fund this report as a way to give opponents of the Paris Agreement a rationale for withdrawing, but it is also one of the lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Clean Power Plan and has consistently opposed action on climate change.
So which “pro-climate” companies are funding the Chamber? Let’s start with Disney, whose CEO Robert Igerannounced that he was quitting Trump’s advisory council as a result of the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
Then there’s Facebook, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children's future at risk. […] Stopping climate change is something we can only do as a global community, and we have to act together before it's too late.”
And Google, whose CEO tweeted, “Disappointed with today’s decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all.”
Twelve of the 30 companies that paid for the ads in the Journal publicly disclose that they fund the Chamber. They are 3M, Bank of America, Campbell Soup, Citigroup, Coca Cola, Cummins, Dow Chemical, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Procter & Gamble and Salesforce. The aforementioned Disney has also confirmed its Chamber membership to Public Citizen.
Eight of the 25 companies that paid for ads in the Times publicly disclose that they fund the Chamber. In addition toFacebook and Alphabet (Google), they are Gap, The Hartford, Intel, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley and Salesforce.
The time has come for these purportedly pro-climate companies to put up or shut up. If they care about the climate, then they must stop funding the anti-climate Chamber and its bogus studies. This is not a radical step to take. Many blue-chip companies have already left the Chamber – some publicly, like Apple, CVS and Pacific Gas & Electric, and others privately, such as Costco, eBay, Hewlett-Packard, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, Mars, Mattel, MondelÄ“z, NestlÃ©, Starbucks, Unilever and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Many of these companies quit the Chamber because of the Chamber’s anti-climate work.
With the planet at stake, the public will no longer be fooled by these companies’ pro-climate public relations campaigns. If they are serious about climate change, then they will stop funding a group that has done so much to block progress towards preserving a livable planet.