Sensenbrenner letter to Secretary Chu regarding businesses leaving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

October 21, 2009

Sensenbrenner letter to Secretary Chu regarding businesses leaving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

October 21, 2009

The Honorable Steven Chu
Secretary
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20585
 
Dear Mr. Secretary:
 
Earlier this month, you described as “wonderful” the departure of businesses from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.[1] In reacting to these departures, media reports quote you as saying, “In order to position the United States in an economically competitive place, and also to minimize the dangers of significant climate change for our children and grandchildren, we have got to go in this direction.”[2]
 
In comments about Apple’s departure from the U.S. Chamber, Apple Vice President Catherine Novelli said the Chamber needs “a more progressive stance on this [climate change] issue.”[3] Nike officials, in response to the company’s resignation from the Chamber’s board, said, “US businesses must advocate for aggressive climate change.”[4]
 
Both Apple and Nike, however, conduct the majority of their manufacturing and production outside the United States -- in China and other Asian countries “where there are no carbon limits and aren’t likely to be anytime soon, if ever.”[5] 
 
Carbon emissions know no boundaries. Whether greenhouse gas emissions take place in the U.S. or China, they all end up in the same atmosphere. It is disingenuous of Apple and Nike to criticize the Chamber while manufacturing their products in countries that consistently refuse mandatory emission impacts. Any financial impact from a U.S. climate change bill will be much smaller on these companies because their carbon footprint is abroad. Their concern for the environment and criticism of the U.S. Chamber would carry more weight if they would in fact be significantly affected by the legislation they are advocating.
  
While I do not fault Apple and Nike for their business practices, I don’t believe they should be given credit for acting in their own self-interest. As Energy Secretary, I hope you will express similar support for domestic manufacturers, especially when, as here, the credit comes at the expense of companies based and operating in the United States trying to survive in these tough economic times. 
 
Sincerely,


F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR.
Ranking Member
House Select Committee on Energy Independence
and Global Warming

Click here for the pdf.


[1] E&E News, Climate: Chu Calls U.S. Chamber departures ‘wonderful,’ October 8, 2009
[2] Id.
[3] The Wall Street Journal, Apple, Nike and the U.S. Chamber, October 14, 2009
[4] Id.
[5] Id.


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