The Chamber's Position on Global Climate Change

Mar 1, 2008

Most Americans have decided that climate change is happening and that human activity is a contributing factor. Today, the real debate is over what to do about it. Policymakers and the public have a range of views about how we should respond to climate change—and so does the business community.

Where does the Chamber stand, and how are we approaching this debate?

As the scientific inquiry continues—and it should—the Chamber supports public and private sector action to control the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. We believe there are three important things that the country could be doing right now to make meaningful progress.

Efficiency—We must encourage and require stronger action by all energy consumers to use fuel and power more efficiently in buildings, appliances, consumer products, and transportation.

Technology—Government and business should support investment in new technologies that expand alternative energy and allow us to use traditional sources more cleanly—while taking care not to mandate the use of technology that does not yet exist.

Global action—The United States should exert strong leadership to conclude a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. To work, this agreement must include all major carbon emitting economies.

There are also things we should not do. We should not implement policies that damage our economy or force American jobs overseas. And, we should not enact policies that ignore the importance of having continued access to traditional energy sources—including coal, oil, gas, and nuclear—as well as alternatives.

It is in this context that the Chamber is evaluating all proposals and approaches on Capitol Hill. We have no blanket position for or against the concepts of a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax. We are using our judgment, expertise, and the input of our members to analyze specific bills and specific language. For example, we have done this in the case of the Lieberman-Warner climate change legislation and have determined that in its current form this bill does not make the grade.

There is a strong likelihood that sooner or later, action will be taken on the regulatory front, and the business community must be positioned to strongly influence such action. The Chamber will continue to play a leading role in the climate change debate and embrace positive solutions that make sense.

The best outcome for America's workers, families, and businesses is one that balances our country's need for a secure, growing supply of affordable energy with the need to address the risk of climate change by controlling greenhouse gases. Striking this balance will not be easy, but it must be done for the sake of a competitive American economy and a cleaner global environment.

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