Abandoning Ship: Nike Quits Chamber Board Over Climate Change Stance

Last Updated Sep 30, 2009 2:27 PM EDT

Nike -- a longtime proponent of reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- has resigned from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce board to protest the business group's opposition of climate-change legislation.

Nike fundamentally disagrees with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the issue of climate change and their recent action challenging the Environmental Protection Agency is inconsistent with our view that climate change is an issue in need of urgent action, the company said in a statement obtained by BNET Energy.

James C. Carter, a vice president and general counsel at Nike, sat on the chamber's board.

The company will remain a member of the powerful business lobbying organization to "advocate for climate change legislation inside the committee structure and believe that we can better influence policy by being part of the conversation," the statement continued.

Nike is the first board member to resign. But it comes on the heels of three other companies -- all utilities -- that have quit the organization in the past week over its position on climate change.

Exelon Chairman and CEO John Rowe announced Monday during a speech to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy's national conference, the utility would leave the chamber. Rowe also stressed the need for sensible climate change legislation that puts a price on carbon.

Last week Pacific Gas & Electric left over what it called the organization's extreme position on climate change, and New Mexico's PNM said it would allow its membership to expire.

The U.S. chamber fought against the House-passed cap-and-trade bill earlier this year. But it was the lobbying group's call for a 21st century Scopes Monkey trial on the science of climate change that has caused so much dissent among its members.

Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber, issued Tuesday a clarification statement on its position on climate change.

The chamber said it opposes the Waxman-Market bill because "it is neither comprehensive not international, and it falls short on moving renewable and alternative technologies into the marketplace and enabling our transition to a lower carbon future." The statement added, the bill would impose carbon tariffs on goods imported into the U.S.

But the chamber statement stressed it supports strong federal legislation and a binding international agreement to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change.

The Senate version of climate change legislation was introduced today. The bill considered tougher than the House version is unlikely to meet the chamber approval.
  • Kirsten Korosec

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