Strike Three: Exelon Leaves Chamber of Commerce Over Climate Stance

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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.

ThinkProgress notes a key statement Rowe made in 2008 when he accepted a leadership award from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce:

Exelon has staked out an industry-leading position on the issue of climate change and, in the spirit of Daniel Burnham, we have launched our own “not so little plan” to eliminate the equivalent of our entire carbon footprint by the year 2020. I do not know if it will stir men’s souls, but I hope it will stir policymakers and others in our industry to action,” Rowe said.

The U.S. Chamber has moved in the opposite direction, claiming that a cap-and-trade program to limit global warming pollution would “strangle the economy,” and calling for a “Scopes monkey trial” on the science of global warming (an invitation rightly ignored by the EPA).

Bravo to Exelon for leaving the Chamber in the dust and calling for swift action to address climate change.

Which companies will be next to stand up publicly to the Chamber’s intransigence on climate action? 

How about some more of the member companies who sit on the board of directors at the Chamber of Commerce, yet publicly state support for federal action on climate change?  According to an NRDC analysis, there are at least 18 companies that publicly support economy-wide reductions in CO2 emissions and/or federal cap-and-trade legislation, yet retain their seats on the Chamber board:

Caterpillar Inc.
Deere & Company
Dow Chemical Company
Duke Energy
Eastman Kodak
Fox Entertainment Group
Nike Inc.
Rolls Royce North America Inc.
Siemens Corporation
Southern Company
The Robertson Foundation
Toyota Motor North America Inc.

Each of these companies owes the public an explanation – or a resignation – to answer for the incongruity of their current position as a board member of the Chamber and a supporter of action on climate.  They cannot continue to support both sides and retain any credibility on this urgent issue. 

Who will be next to stand up and quit?

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