Apple Leaves U.S. Chamber Over Its Climate Position

By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Apple is pulling out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of the organization's strident criticism of plans to reduce U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, the computer giant said Monday.

In a letter to the Chamber's president, Apple Vice President Catherine Novelli wrote, "Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is frustrating to find the Chamber at odds with us in this effort." As a result, Novelli said, "we have decided to resign our membership effective immediately."

The Chamber of Commerce, which says it represents more than 3 million businesses, has been one of the strongest critics of legislation aimed at reducing U.S. emissions.

Last week, the group's president, Thomas J. Donohue, said in a statement that his group supports "strong federal legislation" to protect the climate. But he said legislation passed by the House of Representatives -- which would use a "cap and trade" system to lower the cost of reducing emissions -- was flawed because it does not require other polluting countries to act and does too little to spur U.S. investment in green technologies.

A spokesman for the Chamber, Eric Wohlschlegel, wrote in an e-mail statement Monday: "While we'll continue to represent the broad majority of our membership on this goal, we recognize that there are some companies who stand to gain more than others with the current options on the table."

Apple's decision makes it the fourth major company in several weeks to pull out because of the Chamber's climate policy, said Pete Altman, a Natural Resources Defense Council activist. The others have been the power companies Pacific Gas and Electric, PNM Resources, and Exelon.

In addition, Nike resigned from its position on the Chamber's board but not its membership.

"What we're seeing is the Chamber is clearly out of step with more and more companies," said Altman, whose group supports the climate legislation passed earlier this summer by the House. A similar bill was introduced last week in the Senate.

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