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Investors Pressure GM, Boeing, Deere, Xerox to Quit U.S. Chamber

chamber of commerce logoTrying to ramp up pressure on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its position on climate change, an investors group has fired off letters to 14 major U.S. corporations, asking them to publicly distance themselves from the chamber’s positions.

Representing $16 billion in assets, the investors group is led by Walden Asset Management and Green Century Capital Management. The group also is asking the companies to clarify their positions to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which has opposed government action on climate change.

The investors group chose the 14 companies based on previous statements from the firms that they support action on climate change, according to a press release.

The investors group, in the letters, asked the companies to address their disagreement with the chamber and NAM by any of three methods:

  • withdraw membership
  • publicly disclose their disagreement with the chamber and NAM’s positions
  • ask the chamber and NAM to refund the portion of dues used to lobby against climate change action.

The letters state that the company’s face serious business and reputational risks due to the “misalignment of positions.”

“While some companies, including (yours), have articulated a business rationale for a national policy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, … membership in NAM/Chamber sends a starkly contradictory message,” the letters state.

The 14 companies targeted by the investors group are:

  • Air Products & Chemicals
  • Alcoa
  • American Electric Power
  • Boeing Co.
  • Caterpillar
  • Cummins
  • Deere & Co.
  • DTE Energy
  • Entergy
  • Ford Motor Co.
  • General Motors Corp.
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Whirlpool
  • Xerox Corp.

A total of 43 investment groups and investment-focused organizations signed the letters. Those groups include: As You Sow, Catholic Healthcare West, Mercy Investment Program, Portfolio 21 and Trillium Asset Management Corp., among others.

To date, Apple has been the highest profile defection from the chamber. Also in recent weeks, PG&E, PMN and Exelon, three utilities, announced their intention not to renew their chamber memberships.

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5 thoughts on “Investors Pressure GM, Boeing, Deere, Xerox to Quit U.S. Chamber

  1. Climate change issues include reducing plastic and energy use. Manufacturers use….Plastic….and energy…. For example, the plastic bag industry, like the plastic water bottle industry, will do anything possible to save themselves…like continue a membership with the Chamber!
    Change is hard for everyone…

  2. I can’t wait to see the effect of the letters. If these companies leave the Chamber, it will almost guarantee passage of climate change legislation. http://bit.ly/1aXmJD How funny is it that the Chamber’s own actions will cause the new legislation that it is fighting so hard to stop?

  3. There may be a good argument for “Climate Change”. An equally good argument can be made that this so-called climate change is caused by Gteenhouse Gas Emissions”. However, This climate change is most assuredly not caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The air we breathe (excluding water vapor)is is composed of 78.08% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.03% carbon dioxide, and 0.01% other gases. Current levels of CO2 are around 300-400 ppm, which is on the low end of what plants need to grow. Plants have been shown to double their growth in environments of 2,000 ppm. Humans breathe out about 45,000 ppm, so humans can easily tolorate the 300-400 ppm of CO found in our present atmosphere. That covers the gases in our atmosphere. Now for the gases that have a greenhouse effect. That would be “Water Vapor” which make up a whopping 80% of greenhouse gases, while CO2 is approx. 18%, of which approx. 13.5% is natural (people and animals breathing, natural fires, the burning of fossil fuels, volcanoes, etc, and 4.5% is man made. Finally, while CO2 levels slightly increased (20ppm), temperatures have increased in the past five years. Which begs the question. Has anyone heard from Al Gore lately?

  4. Jay,

    1) Man’s direct GHG emissions are dominated by the man-made release of CO2; primarily from the production of energy, land-use changes, etc. Excess CO2 dumped into the atmosphere does indeed drive the anthropogenic contribution to climate change. CO2 is a GHG. It acts to raise the temperature of the atmosphere all by itself (this is basic physics). It also acts to increase the amount of water vapor that resides in the atmosphere, which in turn increases the atmospheric temperatures even more.

    2) Current levels of CO2 are not bordering on levels that would be toxic, or even detrimental to, plant life. During the last ice age, CO2 levels averaged about 180 ppm – far lower than current levels (about 53% of current levels). During those thousands of years, plant life survived very well.

    3) The question is not whether human physiology can tolerate various amounts of CO2. The question revolves around how the climate, and the environments that are important to humans (most if not all of them), will respond as humans continue to dump ever more fossil CO2 pollution into the system.

    4) Also of note is the fact that trace gases can have large effects. For example, stratospheric ozone is a trace gas. But a reduction in that trace gas causes large changes in the UV flux reaching the Earth’s surface. That in turn can cause unhealthy effects for environments the world over – which is why an international treaty introducing cap and trade controls on ozone-depleting emissions was put into effect so successfully. We currently need similar international efforts to reduce our CO2 emissions, in order to avoid the worst of the anthropogenic components of climate change.

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