US Chamber Repackages Old Position in New Wrapping

Just goes to show that the US Chamber isn't completely immune to the prospect of members putting on their walkin' shoes. Today, the Chamber "clarified" its position on climate change policy by issuing a statement, repackaged a page on its website and pointing to "its public documents, Hill letters and testimony, as well as dozens of concrete policy recommendations" that support "efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere while keeping our economy healthy."

Which, for an organization that just last week was pretty dismissive of the companies that were bailing out, is a significant...concession that it has a problem.

Clearly the chamber has been shaken by the slew of businesses that are criticizing it's stance on climate.

But judging from what those members have had to say, it's going to take more than repackaged words to persuade them that the Chamber is ready to play a constructive role in moving legislation forward.

Just to help keep track of what ails the Chamber:

9/28/09 - Exelon: "Exelon will not be renewing its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce due to the organization's opposition to climate legislation." Press release 9/28/09.

9/24/09 - PNM Resources: "We have decided that we can be most productive by working with organizations that share our view on the need for thoughtful, reasonable climate change legislation and want to push that agenda forward in Congress... As a result, we have decided to let our membership in the U.S. Chamber lapse when it expires at the end of this year." Public statement 9/24/09.

9/21/09 - Nike: "Nike fundamentally disagrees with the US Chamber of Commerce's position on climate change...It is not a time for debate but instead a time for action." Public statement 9/21/09.

9/18/09 - PG&E: "Extreme rhetoric and obstructionist tactics seem to increasingly mark the Chamber's public stance on this issue. These reflect neither the true range of views among members, nor in many cases, an honest view of the economic and environmental realities at hand...I'm struck by the irony that, as we try to restore public trust in business on the one hand, on the other, the Chamber's behavior on the climate issue only reinforces stereotypes that erode the very same confidence." Letter to US Chamber President Tom Donohue, 9/18/09.

4/16/09 - Johnson & Johnson: "We would appreciate if statements made by the Chamber would reflect the full range of views, especially whose of Chamber members advocating for congressional action. We are hopeful that a consensus can be reached that reflects the views of Chamber members." Letter to US Chamber President Tom Donohue, 4/16/09.

Reading those statements, the Chamber has a bigger problem than it can solve with news releases. If the Chamber is trying to win back members that have left because of its "extreme rhetoric" and "obstructionist tactics," I'm not sure how pointing to its vast library of such materials is going to help.