US Green Chamber of Commerce to Advocate Climate Solutions

The US Chamber of Commerce was founded almost one hundred years ago, with the seemingly benign goal of advocating for the interests of business owners in US politics. Today many people still associate the name Chamber of Commerce with small businesses standing up for their rights and protecting the jobs of working families. While this description still fits many local and state Chambers of Commerce, it’s a far cry from what the US Chamber is really about.

In fact as the US Chamber becomes an increasingly far-right leaning organization intent on stifling investments in clean energy and action on climate change, more and more business leaders growing concerned the organization no longer represents their best interests. It’s largely in response to these worries that the US Green Chamber of Commerce was launched this month, with the goal of helping businesses become greener while advocating for a sustainable future.

According to its web site, the US Green Chamber of Commerce is based on the philosophy of the triple bottom line—the idea that successful businesses must be economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable. The Green Chamber’s goal is to help businesses network and learn from each other while reducing waste and pollution and establishing themselves in the green economy. The newly-launched national organization is derived from the San Diego Green Chamber, founded in 2009. The San Diego Green Chamber has already made an impact in California’s San Diego County, helping businesses adjust to a world where the triple bottom line is an important part of commerce.

Over the past few years the US Chamber of Commerce has tried to disguise what a vehemently anti-green energy organization it has become. Officially the US Chamber says it supports smart climate policy. Yet it strongly opposes the US Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. The Chamber says new climate legislation is preferable to the existing Clean Air Act, but every time such legislation is introduced it turns out the Chamber opposes that too—officially because of some technicality buried deep in a media release.

In other words the US Chamber is playing a tiring game: avoid bad PR by saying you support action on climate change, but invent some reason to oppose every specific climate policy that has a chance of moving forward.

While the US Chamber solidifies itself as a roadblock to the green economy, more and more of its members are embracing a clean energy future. Many have even left the Chamber in protest over its anti-climate positions. In contrast the new US Green Chamber of Commerce seems ready to embrace the inevitable and beneficial transition to a clean economy, and to advocate for policies that protect the triple bottom line. This comes as a welcome breath of fresh air at a time when the US Chamber of Commerce is growing increasingly obsolete.

Photo credit: Oregon Department of Transportation