U.S. Chamber of Commerce Seeks Global Warming Trial


A recent Los Angeles Times headline could easily appear in the News of the Weird: “U.S. Chamber of Commerce Seeks Trial on Global Warming.” Absurd? Yes. A business-environment intersection we’d rather not see? Yes. True? Yes: in hopes of preventing potentially sweeping limits on emissions, the Chamber is pushing the EPA to try the scientific evidence for man-made climate change.

According to the LA Times report, the public trial, which Chamber officials reportedly described as “the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century,” would include cross-examinations, witnesses, and a judge. The Chamber’s goal would be simple: to disprove that humans are warming the planet to a dangerous level, thereby undercutting the current scientific consensus on the matter. The Chamber has threatened to file a lawsuit against the EPA if it declines the trial.

The EPA has called the threatened lawsuit “frivolous” and the hearing a “waste of time,” as the soundest peer-reviewed science available overwhelmingly indicates that climate change is indeed a threat to human welfare. Some analysts believe the Chamber’s trial attempt is merely an effort to sow political discord, since it stands on a shaky foot at best (in terms of scientific support for its claims).

Since the Chamber represents some 3 million businesses, one of the many questions the trial begs is, in what boat would the trial put (conservative) Chamber members who support clean energy legislation? (For example, John McCain, a conservative who realizes the overwhelming evidence for climate change, and businesses that belong to the chamber but still support the creation of a clean energy jobs bill.) If Politico’s July 13 analysis is correct, by failing to corral its own membership in opposition to energy legislation, the Chamber could be alienating itself from its own member businesses.

Sarah Harper is a professional writer based in San Francisco, California. Her interests include sustainability, government policy, and international politics. In her free time, Sarah enjoys toying with the idea of holistic health, overanalysis, and plotting world exploration.

6 responses

  1. Don’t like what peer-reviewed science tells you? But it on trial! This is ludicrous and certainly not science – it is little more than another desperate attempt to spin the story in favor of the business status quo – the scientific method be damned.

  2. It is about time that some organisation made the AGW people prove what they have been saying for the past 17 years. This is more like the Intelligent Design vs Evolution trial. AGW = Intelligent Design, now a discredited fiction based on the bible. I think that there is now enough doubt about CO2 produced by burning fossil fuels causing climate change that the Chamber of Commerce would win in court. I guess the EPA is running away from a fight it may not win.

    1. If AGW = Intelligent Design then why do scientists support one and not the other? Frankly, I think there’s a much stronger correlation between bible-nuts and the denial that humanity can have an impact on the planet than with science.

      It’s insane and patently false to suggest that humanity, our waste and byproducts, and our general activity do not have a major impact on global systems. It’s just plain insane. Whether or not that impact is entirely negative, and exactly what the severity of that impact is may be subject to some debate. In the cast of C02 emissions, sorry, but there’s much less doubt now, not more, that it’s causing climate change.

  3. Global warming is here. That much is evident. But here’s the key question.

    Does CO2 ‘drive’ global warming or does CO2 merely ‘contribute’ to global warming?

    If ‘drives’ is correct, America and the rest of the world must quickly restructure our energy infrastructure to reduce CO2 emissions. But if CO2 merely ‘contributes’ to global warming, we need to rethink our response to global warming/climate change. If Mother Nature actually drives climate, then we should not move precipitously to burden our economy with carbon taxes and alternative-energy subsidies. I, for one, do not want to pay a dollar or two more per gallon or see the blight of wind mills because of faulty science.

    Sadly, the United States has out-sourced our scientific opinion on global warming to the United Nations. …an organization more concerned about political influence and funding than conducting good science.

    It’s crystal clear. The United States needs our own objective, transparent climate commission to think-through global warming. We need the advice of a ‘Climate Truth Commission’ before we burden our economy with expensive energy. Both sides of the man-made global warming issue should welcome such an approach. …since each is so darn sure of its facts.

    — Robert Moen, http://www.energyplanUSA.com

  4. Official government measurements show that the world’s temperature has cooled a bit since reaching its most recent peak in 1998.

    That’s given global warming skeptics new ammunition to attack the prevailing theory of climate change. The skeptics argue that the current stretch of slightly cooler temperatures means that costly measures to limit carbon dioxide emissions are ill-founded and unnecessary.

    Proposals to combat global warming are “crazy” and will “destroy more than a million good American jobs and increase the average family’s annual energy bill by at least $1,500 a year,” the Heartland Institute, a conservative research organization based in Chicago, declared in full-page newspaper ads earlier this summer. “High levels of carbon dioxide actually benefit wildlife and human health,” the ads asserted.

    Source: http://lifeofearth.org/2009/08/2231.html

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