Thursday, October 01, 2009

Progress on Climate Change in Washington

Yesterday, John Kerry and Barbara Boxer introduced the American Jobs and American Power Act, while the Environmental Protection Agency announced proposed rules for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from the country's largest factories and power plants.
The question of global warming is dividing the business community, a subject I write about in my latest piece in the Guardian:
The split in the business community has made headlines recently, as the US chamber of commerce has been rocked by defections from corporations taking exception with the organisation's hard line against climate change legislation. In the course of a week, three energy companies – Pacific Gas & Electric, PNM Resources and Exelon – announced they were leaving the venerable business lobby.
Business leaders are particularly embarrassed by the call from a chamber of commerce vice-president for a "Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century" to try the question of climate change. Utility executives, who need at least a passing acquaintance with science to do their jobs, don't like looking like yahoos by belonging to an organisation that takes an explicitly anti-scientific stance.
The importance of cultivating alliances in th
e business community cannot be exaggerated. The fight to protect our climate is not just about some polar bears above the Arctic Circle. It's also about replacing 19th century energy technology with 21st century technology, and U.S. business leaders are eager to seize the opportunity.

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