The divisions among the business community over climate change have burst into view this year, particularly with respect to the US Chamber of Commerce, which several high-profile companies have left because of their lobbying against a climate bill and their general denial of climate science. Now, several progressive groups are exploiting this rift by targeting consumer brands over their continued membership in the Chamber.
CREDO Action has teamed up with Drinking Liberally, the group which hosts bar events across the country, to call on Anheuser-Busch to step down from the CoC board.
The makers of Budweiser sit on the board of the Chamber of Commerce — an organization that has taken a radical stand on global warming and has threatened to sue the EPA if it tries to regulate greenhouse gases.
Bud and Bud Lite are supposed to lift our spirits; why would they want to hurt our planet?
In a message to supporters, Justin Krebs of Drinking Liberally cited the impact of climate change on hops production and the ability to produce high-quality beer as a reason for specifically targeting Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Budweiser.
MoveOn.org is casting its net even wider. They have sent action items to members asking them to call multiple companies, including Toyota, Coke, Pepsi, UPS, FedEx, Anheuser-Busch, CVS, Microsoft, and AT&T, and demand that they quit the CoC. Steven Biel, their Clean Energy Campaign Director, told me via email that they selected many of the targets because they have “a strong consumer brand, and therefore can’t afford to ignore the strong feelings of the customers on an issue like global warming.”
This is part of a larger campaign for MoveOn, who has for months advocated for a strong energy and climate bill, including one that does not roll back sections of the Clean Air Act or provide assistance to “the dirty energy sources of the past” like coal or domestic oil and gas production. So hitting companies over their Chamber membership is just one part of the strategy.
But with the Chamber already reeling after defections from Apple, Nike, PG&E, Exelon, Duke Energy and others, clearly progressive groups are smelling blood in the water. And undermining the CoC’s membership will likely have broader effects in the future, as they have lobbied sharply against health care reform and financial re-regulation this year, in addition to the climate bill.