Four high-profile departures from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have many asking if the business group's strict opposition to climate change legislation is causing a broader rift amongst its members, reports The Hill.
Companies including Apple and Exelon, the nation's largest nuclear power generator, have resigned from the chamber as a result of its stance against such legislation. Nike recently stepped down from the chamber's board of directors, saying in a statement: "We will continue our membership to advocate for climate change legislation inside the committee structure and believe that we can better influence policy by being a part of the conversation."
The Hill reports that Daniel Weiss, the director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, called Apple's departure from the chamber particularly "earth shattering," and climate backers say the brand represents innovation and forward thinking.
But opponents of the climate change bill counter that the chamber still represents the broader interests of the business community.
"Why have 3 million members stayed?" said Michael McKenna, an energy lobbyist and Republican pollster. "If this were a referendum, who would be winning?"
The Associated Press reports that Thomas Donohue, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said in a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs that the current climate change bill "will cause Americans to lose their jobs and shift greenhouse emissions overseas."
I am sorry to learn of Apple's resignation. ... The US Chamber of Commerce continues to support strong federal legislation and a binding international agreement to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change ... It is a shame that Apple will not be part of our efforts."