In latest green move, Apple quits U.S. Chamber

October 5, 2009

Apple, which made news in environmental circles recently with its new approach to environmental accounting, took another high-profile action on climate change Monday when it resigned its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the group’s environmental policies.

Apple became just the latest defection from the business lobbying group. And given that Apple’s every move generates buckets of publicity, the action may serve to thrust the climate change issue into greater focus for the buying public.

Last month three big power utilities — Exelon Corp, PG&E Corp and PNM Resources Inc — said they were leaving the Chamber over its stance on global warming legislation. Nike last week resigned from the board of the Chamber, which has pushed for public hearings to challenge the scientific evidence of manmade climate change.

Apple made its resignation in a letter to Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue:

“As a company, we are working hard to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions … We have undertaken this unilaterally and without government mandate, because we believe it is the right thing to do. For those companies who cannot or will not do the same, Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is frustrating to find the Chamber at odds with us in this effort.”

“We would prefer that the Chamber take a more progressive stance on this critical issue and play a constructive role in addressing the climate crisis. However, because the Chamber’s position differs so sharply with Apple’s, we have decided to resign our membership effective immediately.”

The iPhone and Mac maker last month unveiled a new method for assessing its environmental impact. It now calculates what it calls its entire carbon footprint-–from design to production to the emissions generated by those who use it products.

42 comments

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It is truly unfortunate, but understandably politically correct, for Apple to be on board for reducing its carbon footprint. CO2 being plant food and in capable of warming the climate as a trace gas, always following temperature and not leading it, Apple should seek to minimize real toxic substances from the manufacturing process and not worry about minimizing the food that plants make into oxygen for us. For all of their technological savvy, it is too bad that they have not tumbled to the junk scientific of man made global warming.The planet is cooling right on schedule despite continuing Co2 rise. In a couple of years, the cooling oceans should predictably begin to soak up CO2. Very simply, if you take the IPCC’s temperature data and CO2 data and plot the changes versus each other, they are entirely random and unconnected. NO correlation at all. Fini.

Posted by Charles Higley | Report as abusive

Given the diversity of opinion on global warming, it is surprising that the Chamber would take such a strong stand against legislation. If, as many believe, the planet is cooling naturally, this fact will be known soon enough. If not, and the planet is warming, the country can get a jump on reversing a destructive trend.Ron Dhttp:///www.start-a-business-faq.com

I like the way http://www.apple.com/uk/environment/recy cling/programme/ makes it sound like my local council’s legal obligation to recycle domestic electronic waste is actually part of an Apple initiative…..

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

Dear CharlesIf you were even remotely capable of seeing a larger picture and understanding the systems behind climate changes I could take your opinion seriously.Unfortunately you show a rather limited understanding and it is worrying that you have access to such a public forum on which to air this understanding.CO2 is one of many gases that have a “greenhouse” effect and this is a scientific fact. And whilst it is true that current temperatures are not quite mapping CO2 emissions a number of scientists think that this may be due to the Sun entering a low point in its many cycles.Whatever the science finally shows it is beyond doubt that mankind is currently overexploiting this Earth and that any exercise that reduces that impact (be it through efficency drives or renewal energy usage) will mean that you get to live in your little bubble of a world taking up more than your fair share of the world’s resources for a little longer.You should embrace such actions. Unfortunately, it would seem that you are not quite bright enough to do so.best regardsDarren

Posted by Darren Catterall | Report as abusive

the average temp in the west is down an amazing 5degrees average the growing season is shorter. if you want to believe in global warming look at shifts in climate around the world.most continents are getting cooler and there weather is changing. not because of global man made polution but because of a shift in the earths axis. it is slowly shifting weather patterns..

Posted by walt jarvis | Report as abusive

I wouldn’t knock Apple’s, or any other company’s efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, but let’s not see them as the prince on a white horse either. They manufacture what eventually becomes environmentally unfriendly junk by the ton. They should take (more) meaningful steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their products by, say, committing to quantified and measurable goals in terms of what does, or rather does not, go into their manufacture. Then, and only then, they may have a lesson to give.As far as the Chamber, maybe it’s not them but their membership that needs educating. The news might have been a bit more interesting if it had said Apple was petitioning their fellow members to join the ranks of those with stated environmental goals.

Posted by Laz | Report as abusive

Another one or two companies leaving the Chamber and the Chamber will lose all hope of it being a factor in the global warming debate. http://bit.ly/145wr0 Maybe its time for them to “go neutral.”

Posted by FrankH | Report as abusive

*Apple prances off to go pout alone in the corner of the coffee shop with it’s extra-foam, soy, chai latte…large Styrofoam cup with plastic lid and cardboard sleeve included…*

Posted by r | Report as abusive

The sky is falling. This is due to the methane emissions of higher functioning mammals following the consumption of legume derived foodstuffs.

Posted by Chicken Little | Report as abusive

Anthropomorphic Global Warming is a myth. Good for the Chamber of Commerce. Apple is just your typical PC company. (pun intended)

Posted by Ben Linus | Report as abusive

The facts:The average temperature of the earth’s surface has risen approx: 0.74°C on a global basis, for Europe alone it reached nearly 1°C during the last century.That is extremely fast.The 20th century was the warmest century and the 1990ies was the warmest decennium of the last 1000 years.The tendency in warming up will continue this century. During the past 12 years, we have had the warmest 11 years ever registered.It is the trend, not the year, that makes a difference.

Posted by Jean Hofsté | Report as abusive

As you read articles of this nature. Please notice that in almost every case the 1st comment entry is a comment about how:1. The pro-global warming argument is politically correct (this is an attempt discredit the source)2. Includes an incomplete science reference, “…C02 levels always following temperature and not leading it” (muddy the waters)3. An attack in a peripheral issue “Apple should seek to minimize real toxic substances from the manufacturing process” (redirect the argument)4. A statement minimizing the danger of one piece of the problem “not worry about minimizing the food that plants make into oxygen” (minimize the problem)5. An attack on science in general “For all of their technological savvy, it is too bad that they have not tumbled to the junk scientific” (discredit the source)6. An out right misstatement of a key observation. “The planet is cooling right on schedule despite continuing CO2 rise” (muddy the waters)7. And finally a willful failure to evaluate the reports or even read them carefully “they are entirely random and unconnected. NO correlation at all…” (Dismiss the issue – don’t you feel better now)We must ask ourselves why spread disinformation? Who is trying to control the argument? What are their goals?

Posted by ATF | Report as abusive

There is no use anyone responding to my comments, as likely I will not be back: most of the comments made so far relfect pieces of truth the rest beliefs based on what you have been influenced to believing is truth. Fact is, so what if the globe rises even one degree (and global warming gurus only predict much less that that), it will not adversely affect any of us but likely will have apositive impact (warmer weather less energy use for heating); likely it is cooling as many scientific studies show and that could have adverse impact. As for me, I will cut an additional chord of firewood to keep warm in the winter since wood, you know warms you twice.

Posted by A | Report as abusive

Jean Hofsté, you are simply lying. How about showing proof?

Posted by K3n | Report as abusive

Putting global warming aside, focusing the nation on efficiency drives and renewable energies will give us an edge on the global market. We will be less dependent on oil and the nations that export oil as their main source of income will have to find alternatives ways to sustain their economies.

Posted by Pedro | Report as abusive

Congratulations Apple !!!Thank you for been natural.

Posted by Danny Gonzalez | Report as abusive

Regarding Charles Higley’s comment on 6 October, I am guessing he is the Charles Higley with the MBA that works for the Citizens Utility Board in Wisconsin. I have an MBA as well but it doesn’t make me an expert on environmental science. Nor would I be if I analyzed the energy industry for a living. However, a person with an MBA should be able to recognize the hedged position of supporting efforts to reduce carbon emissions even if it turns out to be wrong. The risks from global warming are quite high for a lot of people, but perhaps not those in Wisconsin. C’est tout. Fini.

Posted by Patrick Hill | Report as abusive

Actually wood warms you 3 times. once when you cut it, once when you move it indoors, and once when you burn it.You also don’t have your facts together. The real problem here is not the energy used to warm you in the winter, but larger picture problems (you wouldn’t understand).

Posted by DB | Report as abusive

That’s a nice quote: “We do this voluntarily, but for those companies that don’t want to do it voluntarily, we think you should force them to.”

Posted by bdp | Report as abusive

What seems to be lost in all of this is that the Chamber of Commerce is not an environmental advocacy group. It is a business advocacy group. As long as serious people have serious disagreements about man-made global warming (or global warming at all), and all talks of countering this alleged menace involve turning businesses on their ears, it makes perfect sense for a business advocacy group to take the stand that the Chamber has taken. For Apple, or anyone else, to expect that group to advocate for a more hostile business environment is ludacris. Join the Chamber for business interests, and join an environmental advocacy group for those interests, and don’t expect either to champion the other’s cause.

Posted by mrshooshoo | Report as abusive

I am still waiting for updates on the hole in the ozone layer. Is that cause out of style?

Posted by Mudd | Report as abusive

There are a number of scientist around the world who specialize in the study of global warming. There are to many who do not but are more than willing to share their opinions. These latter pioneers seem too often to be motivated by fear, anxiety, being a republican, anger or they are simply incompetent in the subject but their ego can’t accept its condition. This is the same mentality that promoted the recreational preoccupation of inhaling smoke into ones lungs because it was healthy pastime.I suggest we let the collective scientific community that specializes in this discipline, who are not paid by corporate interests, guide our judgement rather than stumble like a drunk onto the rail tracks thinking that the light we are walking toward is our porch light.

Posted by csodak | Report as abusive

ATF, it is sad you cannot refute facts but just proclaim such facts are bad because they confuse the message of the manufactured and falsified global warming propaganda. Darn them pesky facts (from non-falsified science).

Posted by K3n | Report as abusive

Wow! I had no idea that such ignorance was still so prevalent! All of these opinions are being made by people who clearly have no scientific education…as though they are some sort of authority. Bizarre! Once you earn – oh, I don’t know – maybe just an two year degree in earth science, you will learn that “global warming” very often results in planetary COOLING. Don’t worry, you’re not stupid, just ignorant.

Posted by Daniel Keith | Report as abusive

Of course, global warming has become a catch-phrase and though its popularization has shed some of its scientific validity. However, clear evidence exists that the industrial revolution has had a severe negative impact on the environment–whether manifested through global warming, ozone depletion, destruction of ecosystems, threats to other species, or all the other wonderful ways we abuse the world–which should motivate us to use whatever technology we can, in addition to changing our lifestyles, to combat these negative effects. This is a moderate response, unaffected by politics. Global warming experts should be acknowledged, but most scientists, while they should not routinely work outside of their specialties–are able to critically analyze data from other fields, and modern science is more and more a mishmash of experts from different fields anyway. Anyone who has worked in a scientific field knows that research groups routinely depend on the work of groups in other fields to complete their own projects. In the end, just because global warming has been blown out of proportion by celebrities who do not have scientific education, does that mean that no steps should be taken to reverse the damage we have done?

Posted by Em | Report as abusive

I will grant, however, that carbon credits are just a ridiculous way for companies to continue their damaging industrial practices while patting themselves on the back for being proactive in the fight against industrial pollution.

Posted by Em | Report as abusive

There are geo-political implications to reducing our contribution or at least making an overall effort to do so that dwarf melting ice caps and holes in the sky, get informed.

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

I am neither a “Global Warming” fanatic nor am I a “Climate Change” nut.I just simply believe that the earth is just going through one of its many stages.Good ole Al told us Global Warming was going to kill us all. When science told us that the earth was actually cooling, well, they needed a new name, hence, “Climate Change. Mighty convenient, if I do say so myself.People need to relax and quit all this silly carbon footprint and carbon credits and whatever else they can think of to get us to give them more money.So what if it’s a half degree cooler or warmer? In a hundred-thousand years, no one will even remember this silly argument.Yeah, I said “Silly!”Oh, by the by, I only have a tenth-grade education, which I got when there was still corporal punishment, you actually had to study and there was no such thing as “new math,” where 1+1=2.How about some of you, on either side of the fence (although I believe the non-believers come closer to common sense) start to think things through? How about learning 1+1=2…Give it a try. You may find a whole new world out there, as well as save a few bucks which you could use to buy gas and gallivant all over the country!Flame on, boys…Dale

Posted by Dale | Report as abusive

Global warming is a misnomer.Global weirding is more appropriate, the temperature band is increasing on positive and negative fronts. The climate will shift stronger back and forth with heat waves and huge droughts on one end and cold waves with violent flooding on the other. We have seen many examples of this in the last year, look at Georgia right now. Look at Texas, look at the crazy flooding and rain in the north east or the drought in Seattle.It is true the weather is subject to many factors we are just now starting to grasp such as high atmospheric influences and solar radiation. We are making huge advances and although the science is not or will ever likely be perfect it will get very close.Is CO2 a greenhouse gas? YES! Make no mistake about that…even if we are not the sole cause for the change in weather we know that we are not helping.

When people say the debate is over and refuse to have open, civil discussion about a serious issue and are prepared to commit to critical life and global economic changes like Cap & Trade laws, I think we can agree that is irresponsible at best. Reasonable people need to stop this mad train and force the discussion to happen, so a decision is made based on actual scientific facts and get away from these personal agendas. It is sad to see a some people buying into marketing hype not supported by current facts.

Posted by Charles | Report as abusive

Good for Apple! Those Chamber types are ignoring all the science done on this so they can protect their bottom lines.Global warming does not mean temperatures will soar up in a couple years. We may have a couple cooler years here and there, but over time the trend is going up and will have serious consequences before long.Intuitivly, global warming makes sense. We are taking all these deposits of oil, coal and gas built up over millions of years and dumping them into the atmosphere in a couple hundred years. Something is bound to happen.

Posted by Benny | Report as abusive

I applaud Apple and other former U.S. Chamber members for being so forward-thinking. It is long past the time when we as a civilization plan ahead for decades, rather than for quarterly returns.For those who still confuse weather with climate — realize that the Sahara desert was once a forest. Humans depleted it of all natural resources except sand, and today it is uninhabitable. Don’t think the same thing can’t happen to your neighborhood within you childrens’ lifetime. The difference between them and you is that they won’t be able to simply move to the next continent in search of cheap labor and fresh natural resources to burn.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Global warming is a critical issue and has been bringing up all the time. Thanks for going green Apple! However, this is not just big companies responsibilities. It is everybody’s.

ben linus doesn’t know what anthropomorphic means, or doesn’t know how to use it. also, the pun is the lowest form of humor.

Posted by michael | Report as abusive

Way to go Apple! It makes no sense to belong to an organization when you disagree sharply with their policies. Personally, I agree with Apple on the issue of global warming. But even if you disagree, it’s clear that Apple did the right thing to resign it membership with an organization that’s at odds with them.

Posted by John R | Report as abusive

It’s amazing how people with no scientific knowledge dispute people who have the education and knowledge to know what they are talking about. It’s the flat earth society all over again.

Posted by Jess B Simple | Report as abusive

Yes, it’s appalling that someone with little education can claim to have an educated opinion on this topic. Climate change is such a complex issue that it can’t be approached from a “common sense” point-of-view. This is why science education is so important, especially starting at an early age, so that we can understand the complexity of the world we live in, and how dependent human life is on maintaining a balanced ecosystem. As far as geopolitical concerns go, governments and their treaties certainly won’t matter much if the human race is wiped out, and whatever disputes occur between governments in the fight to preserve the planet are nothing compared to the conflicts that will arise as good land and fresh water become more scarce and our other natural resources are depleted. Surely, all other conflicts that prevent any progress on this issue are moot in the face of the simple fact that governments should exist for the long-term preservation of their people.

Posted by Em | Report as abusive

The scariest part of the global warming lie is those that were supporters of it, largely are now understanding that it is/was a hoax. They then seek to blend industrial pollution and other things into the global warming issue. Look. I agree industrial pollution is a problem, as is energy use/conservation and where and how we get energy. But, let’s not let bad science (really a fabricated lie) shape the approach to rectify the REAL problems. It would be like saying “we said you had tonsillitis and then later acknowledged you actually have a tumor in your throat, but we are just going to stick with the tonsillitis and remove your tonsils and hope that will fix things for you!”Come on. See where I am coming from?

Posted by k3n | Report as abusive

It’s too bad the writer didn’t tell the whole story here. The corporations who are leaving the US Chamber of Commerce know there will be legislation coming. They just don’t want the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases because the rules will change randomly. They would prefer legislation to come from Congress so, even if it’s bad legislation, they will know the parameters in which to work. The Chamber of Congress doesn’t want any legislation at all, and that’s not what is going to happen, so the corporations are bailing out (and the PR department says it’s good for their reputations). Most multinational corporations are already well ahead of the curve because they are working in countries that have passed legislation. The corporations don’t care about Global Warming/Climate Change. They just want to know the rules. This is not a political or science based decision – just business.

Posted by cb | Report as abusive

Don’t be fool by Apple shallow political stance.There is little prove that a global warming is triggered by human activities. I am not questioning global warming. We are slowly coming out of Ice Age that lasts already for 5,000,000 yrs. Yep. Today average annual temperature is well below 5,000,000 yrs average.For last 4,999,900 yrs it had nothing to do with humans…Today the whole human CO2 emission is well with-in emission of couple volcanoes.There are several global avalanche-like processes that speed up Global warming exponentially. (Melting permafrost is one of them).We have to cap human CO2 for several reasons:Keep technology moving forward.Break away from oil dependency.But Global Warming cannot be stopped by cutting human CO2 emission to 0.It is mouse fight compare to real scale of the problem.While Global Warming is very natural process it will eventually end the World as we know it. So lets keep it artificially cool :).

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive

There are some good points on this board but there are also a lot of misconceptions and broken arguments. The first thing I would like to point out is that the average temperature of the globe and its standard deviations is not a very useful metric in defining the problem of global warming. A previous post labeled the term \”Global Warming\” as misnomer and I agree. A more useful term is \”Climate Change\” or \”Climate Shift\”. Regions that were cold could be become very hot and at the same time hot regions could cool down and the average temperature would not change a bit. However, the impact on society would be tremendous. Civilizations developed in a certain climate with certain food and water supplies would be put in disastrous situations.Which brings me to my next point. Climate change is by definition a man-made problem. It is man-made in the sense that the problem does not intrinsically lie in that the climate is in fact changing but rather in mans ability to cope with it. Critics of climate change point to the extreme climate fluctuations in the earth\’s history, often and loudly, and they are not wrong. But the point is that these fluctuations occurred before there were 6 billion people on the planet. Even the fluctuations in human history have been relatively easier to bear. Humans coming out of the ice age just moved to new areas to find food once migration routes changed, but its much easier to move a tribe than it is to move New York City. As humans we have developed an incredibly complex civilization which currently does not have the capacity to cope with the most extreme consequences of climate change.My last point is to those who think that our emission of carbon dioxide has a tiny effect on the climate of the earth. What utter nonsense, but for arguments sake lets assume that its true. The problem with this argument lies in the fact that weather and climate are case studies for the concept of a chaotic system. Chaos is defined as extreme sensitivity to infinitesimally small changes in the initial conditions. I hate to break it to you but the carbon footprint on human civilization is far from infinitesimally small.

Posted by Enlightened | Report as abusive

K3n, calling me a liar is tentamount to stupidity!Just GOOGLE my first sentence:”The average temperature of the earth’s surface has risen approx: 0.74°C on a global basis”and see what comes up!

Posted by Jean Hofsté | Report as abusive