Memo to media: The ever-shrinking Chamber of Commerce is not “the voice of business.” Indeed, we now know that besides being anti-scientific, it is anti-democratic, not even bothering to consult with its own Board of Directors on its own climate policy — in direct contradiction to its stated policy.
Greenwire (subs. req’d) reports the amazing news:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce staff decides the trade group’s climate and energy policy positions without approval from the board of directors, Nike Inc. charged as it formulated a plan to call for greater chamber openness.
Nike, which last week left the chamber’s board of directors but decided to remain a chamber member, described a lack of transparency at the group that conflicts with how the chamber describes its operations. Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike said it is determined to work for changes in the group.
“We just weren’t clear in how decisions on climate and energy were being made,” said Brad Figel, Nike’s director of government relations. “They’re not being made at the board-of-director level, because we’re a member of the board of directors. We were not consulted. We’re convinced that’s not really where the action on climate change is being made.”
As previously documented, the vast majority of the major businesses on the Chamber’s board who have a publicly stated their position on climate legislation support strong action (see here).
Kenneth Green, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, defended the Chamber’s anti-democratic denialism:
“Generally speaking,” Green said, “what you have is a charismatic leader who makes the policy decisions, probably based on the policy recommendations of staff … and a board that is mostly ceremonial.”
Well, “charismatic” isn’t the first word that comes to mind. Compromised, maybe (see “Are Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue’s Ties to Union Pacific Railroading the Companies that Support Climate Policy?“)
But what is truly stunning about Nike’s charge and Green’s defense is that it is in direct contradiction to the Chamber’s stated policy on its website about its Board (here):
The Board of Directors is the principal governing and policymaking body of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The board’s membership is as diverse as the nation’s business community itself, with more than 100 corporate and small business leaders serving from all sectors and sizes of business, and from all regions of the country.
Directors determine the U.S. Chamber’s policy positions on business issues and advise the U.S. Chamber on appropriate strategies to pursue. Through their participation in meetings and activities held across the nation, Directors help implement and promote U.S. Chamber policies and objectives.
But Green, a leading right-wing denier, has blurted out what is obviously common knowledge among the conservative establishment — the Board is purely a fig leaf to cover up its own denialism, which William Kovacs, the chamber’s senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs himself blurted out in August with his Luddite call for “the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” on global warming (see also Chamber falsely claims “We’ve never questioned the science behind global warming”).
The Chamber’s entire website is filled with claims that need rewriting:
The integrity of the U.S. Chamber’s policy process must be preserved. This responsibility is shared by staff, committee chairs, and each committee member.Everyone involved in the process must help develop positions that benefit the entire business community, rather than any given narrow interest. The Chamber makes every effort to accommodate all members who wish to be heard. The process must be open and above board.Maintaining the integrity of the process is essential for both moral and practical reasons. Very few members resign from the U.S. Chamber because of policy disagreements. This record can be maintained if members know that their views receive a fair hearing and that the Chamber takes positions through a democratic process.
Not. NRDC’s Pete Altman has this ist:
Quit US Chamber: Exelon, PNM Resources, PG&E, Apple.
Quit US Chamber Board: Nike.
Says Chamber doesn’t represent their views on climate: Johnson&Johnson, General Electric, San Jose Chamber of Commerce.