Record Number of Businesses Support Climate Change Legislation

A tally by American Businesses for Clean Energy (ABCE) shows more than 6,000 American businesses support clean energy and climate legislation, including nearly a quarter of the Fortune 100.

The analysis, released last week in collaboration with the We Can Lead campaign, found that those businesses employed 3.5 million Americans and had $3.5 trillion in revenue in 2009.

Twenty-one of the Fortune 100 and 49 of the Fortune 500 companies support clean energy legislation like the American Power Act currently circling the Senate, according to the analysis.

“A clear market based price signal that rewards clean energy innovation is key for companies across the country to accelerate our transition to a sustainable clean energy economy,” said Tim Greeff, political director, Clean Economy Network and co-manager of the We Can Lead Campaign.

One of those companies is Duke Energy, one of the largest power companies in the US. Duke generates 70 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants, but its CEO Jim Rogers was on stage with John Kerry when the American Power Act was officially unveiled last month.

A spokesperson for the company, Tom Williams, echoed the concern of many companies when it comes to climate policy. “Utilities want stability. The sooner we know what the rules are, the sooner we can place bigger bets,” said Williams, adding that “right now we’re in a dark room bumping into stuff.”

Williams said Duke is not in favor of everything in the American Power Act, but noted that if Congress fails to pass climate legislation, the EPA has said it will act to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. “No one looks forward to that,” he said.

“We stand ready to invest,” Williams said. “Let’s go ahead and get on with it.”

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.