Once a critic, Chamber of Commerce now backs Paris Climate Agreement
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Why it matters: This is the starkest reversal from the Chamber, America’s most powerful business lobby group, since it began pursuing a broader shift months ago to more readily acknowledge and engage on climate change.
The intrigue: The Chamber helped commission a controversial study in March 2017 concluding the Obama administration’s commitment to the Paris deal would cost the U.S. economy $3 trillion and 6.5 million jobs. Trump cited that study, inaccurately in some ways, a few months later when he announced his intent to withdraw from the deal.
Where it stands: The Chamber’s climate-change statement now includes the following clause, emphasis added, finishing this sentence: “Greater collaboration between governments and businesses is essential to build the best models to tackle climate challenges, which is why the Chamber supports U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement.”
Flashback: Chamber officials have hinted at this Paris reversal before, including in a congressional hearing in April and a Politico article from August. But this is the first time the powerful lobby group is making it an official part of its mission statement.
For the record: Chamber spokesman Matt Letourneau said the change was made to be clearer ahead of Nov. 4, which began the one-year clock for the U.S. government to officially get out of the 2015 accord.
- He also said the Chamber has expressed concerns about the Obama administration’s commitment to the Paris deal, but not the deal itself.
The bottom line: That distinction, however, is one the group has only emphasized since the Chamber’s broader shift on climate change started this year.