PG&E leaves US Chamber of Commerce
September 23, 2009 2:49 PM
Pacific Gas and Electric Company decided to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Friday and publicly announced it Tuesday due to "fundamental differences" over climate change.
In a letter written to the Chambers by PG&E Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee, it said, "As a company with a clear and strong position on the importance of addressing climate change, we have now reached a crossroads where the divergence between the Chamber's principles and ours on this issue has forced us to reconsider our future as a member."
The Chamber served as a representative of PG&E in D.C. Though PG&E is no longer a member, they will continue to lobby in D.C said PG&E spokesman Brian Herzog.
"We're moving forward, doing the same thing we've always been doing--being aggressive in D.C. for federal climate change," Herzog said. "This is the most important issue in the Nation's Capitol right now. We didn't feel like they were representing our views on this issue."
The Chamber has not made pending climate bills a first concern, angering critics that see the bills as a top priority. The Chamber responded by saying that "climate change is one of the many issues these organizations address," according to PG&E's blog, Next100.com.
The Chamber is the world's largest business federation, with more than three million members.
"We do not comment on the comings and goings of individual companies," said Jay P. Fielder, media spokesman for the Chamber.
Further in the letter, Darbee wrote that company employees "find it dismaying that the Chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored."
"This is another indication to me that the CEO of PG&E is consistent in his perspective in the role his utility company of addressing global warming," said Dave Dempsey, SF State professor of meteorology.
This is not the first time a high-profile company has pulled out of a large organization.
Duke Energy, which is one of the largest electric power companies in the country, and French-based Alstom Power, the world leader in integrated power plants for the production of electricity and air quality control systems, left the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity at the beginning of September.
Both companies cited "differences with "influential member companies who will not support passing climate change legislation in 2009 or 2010," according to a report in the National Journal.
"PG&E is not alone in its position on climate change and the need for action," Darbee said in the letter. "PG&E considers climate change to be among the most serious issues ever for our company, our country, and the world."
Dempsy said climate change is "the greatest environmental crisis that humans have ever faced."
"It's partly in our control and partly not," Dempsey said. "I have two daughters--ages 10 and 12, and their future is what's important to me."
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