In the past I’ve been critical of ICT companies that join various ‘concerned’ groups around climate change but rarely take any real stand on matters of principal or government policy. So it’s good to hear that Apple is making its views felt in the US Chamber of Commerce (particularly given my comments yesterday). The company has left the organisation over its stance on climate change.
The issue stems from the Chambers call, earlier this year, for a hearing to debate the evidence behind the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare. The Chamber is reported to be prepared to go to court to get its way.
The Chamber of Commerce believes that the EPA ignored evidence contradicting its conclusions on issues such as the effect higher temperatures will have on net mortality and levels of other pollutants. In a press release of August 25th, William Kovacs, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs is quoted as saying; “Let me be clear, we are not debating the science behind global warming. We are unconvinced that EPA has demonstrated, as a matter of law, that greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles in the US endanger public health or welfare.”
This just seems to be nit-picking. The IPCC, an international organisation representing almost 200 countries has called on scientists around the world and concluded that man-made global warming is happening. We have a summit in December aimed at an international agreement that may help save the world and much will depend on US agreement. But the US Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses, is not yet ready to act.
The Chamber has tried to smooth things over with a statement on its web site, but not before some prominent companies signalled their departure from the organisation. Three major US utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric, PNM Resources and Exelon, will not renew their membership and Nike has resigned it seat on the Chamber’s board of directors. All cited the environmental policy as the reason.
Apple has gone one stage further by leaving with immediate effect and it would be nice to see the company joined by other ICT companies that are members (there is no membership list available, but there must be an awful lot). The Board of Directors alone includes Accenture, AT&T, Comsys, Deloitte, IBM, Siemens and Xerox. Let’s hope they're fighting the case from the inside.