Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pressure's on the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce

The San Jose Mercury News published this editorial:

U.S. Chamber is a dinosaur on climate change

Silicon Valley's future, and the nation's, is clean technology....But the U.S. National Chamber of Commerce, which purports to be the voice of the nation's businesses, has turned into a dinosaur when it comes to clean energy. The chamber's strong opposition to climate change legislation makes clear its allegiance to the destructive oil- and coal-based industries of yesteryear.

PG&E took the extraordinary step of quitting the chamber earlier this month because of its "extreme rhetoric and obstructionist tactics." Valley companies and venture capital firms that have been proclaiming green credentials should follow suit. And the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, along with other Bay Area branches, should make it clear that unlike their national umbrella, they look to the future.


The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce expects to take a position on this by the end of the year, according to Pat Dando, president and CEO. It has had discussions with the U.S. Chamber and the California Chamber as well as PG&E and several other members.

But on Friday, Dando clearly separated herself from the national chamber, saying that "there isn't anyone who doesn't realize that climate change is a man-made phenomenon and something we need to address and address quickly."

She says the position taken by business, legislators and community members on this issue may be the most important legacy this generation will leave for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She's right.

We hope her organization agrees, and that individual valley companies make their voices heard in Washington — whether through the national chamber or despite it.

I know Pat from my day job, mostly from being on opposite sides on various bad development projects that have been proposed here. Unlike some others, however, she is nobody's fool and is not unreasonable. It will be interesting to see where they go with this - I understand the US Chamber does not like dissent within the ranks.

Another complication is that here, unlike some other cities, there's competition to represent business interests. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Sustainable Silicon Valley both have strong business representation and take a pro-environment position. The regional Chamber risks losing influence to these organizations if it doesn't keep up, although the Chamber might also be less influenced by businesses that work primarily through these alternate groups.

Unrelated bonus blogging: Richard Dawkins was in the area last night, promoting his latest book on evolution to an absolutely packed crowd at Keplers in Menlo Park. A very good speaker, but unlike what I've read elsewhere, he seemed fairly combative regarding his assertion that evolution makes God an unnecessary hypothesis.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.