If you go to the website for the US Chamber of Commerce (USCOC), America’s “voice of business” that claims to represent the interests of over 3 million businesses, it feels like you’ve found the site for a right wing advocacy group. There are clips from FOX News (that aren’t making fun of them), attacks on healthcare and financial regulatory reform, and links to Wall Street Journal op-eds claiming that America has more to fear from the political influence of labor unions than from corporations with annual profits in the billions. The implication is clear — American businesses have right wing values.
However, this assertion was challenged in 2009 when USCOC announced its opposition to attempts by the federal government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. USCOC said that doing so would “strangle the economy”, called for a “Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” as if human-caused climate change was yet to be proven, and threatened to sue the EPA if it decided to act without holding the trial. In response, Nike resigned from USCOC’s board of directors, and major companies like Apple, Pacific Gas and Electric, PNM Resources and Exelon left USCOC completely.
It turns out that when it comes to climate change, US businesses aren’t so conservative after all. That’s why a group like American Businesses for Clean Energy (ABCE) is so important. And if you own a business and believe the US should be doing more to fight climate change and help support the clean energy economy (which is creating jobs at 2.5 times the rate as the rest of the economy), you should seriously consider joining ABCE.
ABCE represents over 2,500 businesses of all shapes and sizes, including big companies like Gap Inc. and Warner Music Group as well as small local businesses from Al’s Painting in Ann Arbor, MI to Zoey’s Pizza in Manchester, NH. You don’t need to be a business that focuses on green products or services to join — all are welcome. There are no fees or dues to pay, no meetings to attend, no further obligations, and ABCE will not engage in any lobbying on your behalf. You don’t need to resign from any other business coalitions. All you have to do to join is visit ABCE’s website and enter some basic information about your business.
That’s it. You’re done. But you will have done something incredibly important.
Congress needs to know that USCOC does not speak for you, and that there are businesses of every kind in every state that support strong climate and clean energy legislation. They need to know that you don’t buy the right wing’s scaremongering that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will ruin the economy, especially when there is so much evidence that moving to a clean energy economy will create much-needed jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil while improving the health of both people and the environment. You will have told Congress that your business is ready for a cleaner, sustainable, more prosperous future, and you want them to pass the legislation needed to make it happen. And while California is clearly a leader in green businesses as well as environmental awareness, CA businesses are currently underrepresented in ABCE. That’s got to change.
If you own a business, you are in a unique position of influence, and joining ABCE is a great, easy way to help the economy and the environment. If you don’t own a business, you can help by telling friends who are business owners about ABCE or recommend it to businesses that you frequent.
If history has shown us anything, it’s that when businesses speak, Congress listens. ABCE will make sure your voice is heard.