It turns out that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce only has 300,000 members, not the “more than 3 million” it claimed to represent just a day ago, before Mother Jones magazine questioned the business lobby’s inflated numbers.
The Chamber has now “quietly backed off” the 3 million figure, according to Mother Jones, which reports today that:
Getting called out for such “semantic tricks” is the least of the Chamber’s problems these days.
The Huffington Post reports that MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, the holding company owned by multi-billionaire Ronald Perelman, is debating whether to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its extreme climate position and recent “Scopes Monkey Trial” challenge to the EPA over the Clean Air Act.
The Chamber has been losing members – real members out of its actual 300,000 or less total – at a rate of several each week lately. Apple was the most recent in a string of high-profile defections including Exelon, Pacific Gas & Electric, PNM Resources, Nike, Levi Strauss & Co. and PSEG.
The exodus has weakened the Chamber’s credibility on the Hill at a critical time when business leaders are descending on Washington to lobby Congress to pass strong climate and energy legislation. Pete Altman at NRDC’s Switchboard blog has compiled a running tally of editorials from around the country criticizing the Chamber’s intransigence on climate change in a post titled “The U.S. Chamber’s Continuing Climate Credibility Crisis.”
Apple became the fourth company in recent days to completely sever ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the business lobby’s backwards stance on climate change.
In a letter to the Chamber obtained by the New York Times, Apple states [PDF]:
Exelon CEO John Rowe announced today that his company will let its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lapse, citing the Chamber’s efforts to fight against efforts to curb global warming.
Exelon - the largest electric utility company in the United States - is the third energy company to sever ties with the Chamber of Commerce in the past week, joining Pacific Gas & Electric and PNM Resources.
Rowe announced Exelon’s departure from the Chamber during his keynote address to the annual conference of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Rowe explained to the nation’s largest association of energy efficiency experts that the Chamber’s multi-million-dollar campaign against clean energy legislation is incompatible with Exelon’s commitment to climate change leadership.
“Inaction on climate is not an option,” said Rowe.
UPDATE: PNM Resources announced today that they are leaving the Chamber of Commerce entirely, not just the board position. See Pete Altman’s report on this explosive news at NRDC’s Switchboard blog.
Here is the new statement from PNM Resources announcing the departure:
At PNM Resources, we see climate change as the most pressing environmental and economic issue of our time. Given that view, and a natural limit on both company time and resources, we have decided that we can be most productive by working with organizations that share our view on the need for thoughtful, reasonable climate change legislation and want to push that agenda forward in Congress. These organizations include the Edison Electric Institute, the association of shareholder-owned electric companies, and the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a group of businesses and environmental organizations of which we are a founding member.
As a result, we have decided to let our membership in the U.S. Chamber lapse when it expires at the end of this year.
New Mexico-based utility holding company PNM Resources announced this week that the company’s chief executive, Jeff Sterba, has given up his seat on the US Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The Chamber has attracted severe criticism lately from some of its member companies due to its backwards stance on global warming.
PNM issued a statement lambasting the Chamber for its recent antics: