Peter Altman

Pete is the Climate Campaign Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Every Day We Delay…

As the Gulf Coast oil disaster shows, America has a failed national energy policy. We need a new clean energy policy to break our addiction to oil, enhance our national security, limit carbon pollution and lead us to clean American energy. Last June, the House passed a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill. But so far the Senate has dragged its feet in enacting legislation. Please join us in calling on President Obama to work with the US Senate to form a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill that can be passed and signed this year. Because every day we …

NYT: U.S. Chamber has not expressed support for any proposals to cap emissions

John Broder has an illuminating story in today’s New York Times, “Storm Over the Chamber” discussing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s climate crisis and how Thomas Donohue’s style exacerbates it. Tellingly, the story begins with an anecdote that suggests where the U.S. Chamber gets its tin ear. BACK in the 1990s when Thomas J. Donohue was president of the American Trucking Associations, a subordinate raised a question at a staff meeting. Some of the association’s members, the aide said, wondered whether it was really necessary for the group’s president to fly on a private jet. Mr. Donohue, a scrappy Irish-American …

How to Melt Glaciers and Influence People

API and ACCCE spend the big bucks

Coal companies and the nation’s biggest railroad association accounted for 50 percent of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity’s (ACCCE) $47 million budget in 2008, according to ACCCE’s tax return, E&E News reported on Wednesday. Yowza! Arch Coal, Peabody, and Consol each put in $5 million; Foundation Coal put in just $3 million. Meanwhile, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) put in $6 million. AAR represents major railroads including Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, and Norfolk Southern, which get substantial portions of their revenues from hauling coal.  ACCCE opposed the Waxman-Markey climate bill, and recently Duke Energy left the group …

The U.S. Chamber needs to get its story straight

The U.S. Chamber seems to be going to great lengths these days persuade Congress that it really wants to help pass climate legislation. But a very different message is coming through its blogs, tweets, and unscripted comments. We think everyone should know what else the U.S. Chamber is saying, so we have updated our “WhoDoestheUSChamberRepresent.org” website with our latest Politico ad, which is running today. The ad focuses on the Chamber’s recent contradictory and confusing statements about climate legislation: 8/25/09: U.S. Chamber senior staff tells the LA Times it seeks a “Scopes Monkey Trial” to question whether global warming poses a …

Is the U.S. Chamber changing its tune on climate, or just its tone?

On Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber sent a letter to Sens. Boxer (D-Calif.) and Inhofe (R-Okla.) about the climate bill. It seemed to be singing a new tune on climate policy, leading Sen. Kerry to wonder whether the letter reflects a real change in the Chamber’s position.  While we welcome the U.S. Chamber’s desire to sound more constructive, reading in between the lines — and reading the lines themselves — raises big questions about how much the Chamber’s objectives have really changed — setting aside their obvious need to strike a more conciliatory tone. Which prompts us to contemplate how we’ll know …

Climate Controversy Damages Chamber's Reputation

The high-profile departures from the US Chamber because of its extremist stance on climate, the strong criticism from its own former members and the Chamber’s tone-deaf response to the situation are contributing to reputational damage that is hurting the organization’s credibility. But don’t take my word for it. Others are making the same observation.  Fortune Magazine Contributing Editor Marc Gunther noted in a piece called “The U.S. Chamber’s climate blunders” that: “What matters is that the chamber can’t any longer pretend to be the voice of  business on the climate change issue-the biggest business controversy of the decade. Now that’s embarassing.” …

US Chamber Calls for Global Powers for Congress

I couldn’t help wonder what kind of stories the Chamber hoped to generate with the statement it issued earlier today. So I leaned back, closed my eyes, and used my imagination: US Chamber Emerges as Unlikely Hero for Climate Protection; Calls for Global Powers for Congress In a surprising departure from its century long-fight for free enterprise, the US Chamber of Commerce has laid out an ambitious set of legislative principles on climate change, including one controversial position that could require amending the Constitution to permit global expansion of Congress’ lawmaking powers. The principles were described in a statement issued …

PNM Resources quits US Chamber board

In yet another blow to the prestige and credibility of the US Chamber of Commerce, PNM Resources announced that it had given up its seat on the US Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and issued a statement criticizing the Chamber’s stance on global warming. Kate Galbraith at the New York Times reported on the new rift: “We strongly disagree with the chamber’s position on climate change legislation and particularly reject its recent theatrics” in calling for a review of the E.P.A.’s findings, Don Brown, a spokesman for PNM Resources, a New Mexico-based utility holding company, said in an e-mail …

Who's getting railroaded?

Is Chamber of Commerce prez biased on climate because of his ties to Union Pacific railroad?

Why is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on such a different page from its major members when it comes to climate change legislation?