Senators to CEOs: Don’t Give Up on Congress in Climate Efforts

Washington, DC – With more than 80 major corporations now signed onto the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge, a group of U.S. Senators is writing to the CEOs of those companies to applaud their commitment, but to also deliver an important message: don’t forget about Congress.
 
“All of the President’s work is critical, but Congress can play a key role in achieving our climate goals,” the Senators write.  “From our perspective your commitments have yet to resonate with many in Congress.  Too often the voices of strong corporate leaders are contradicted by the trade associations of which they are a part.  Corporate lobbying groups need to change their policy positions on climate if they are to reflect the opinions of members who are committed to climate action.”
 
The letter was led by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who has long pushed for greater corporate engagement on climate change, and has lamented the disparity between corporate sustainability commitments and corporate lobbying activities.  In a recent piece published in the New York Times, Whitehouse pointed out that, “PepsiCo, for example, is working to reduce emissions, but it gave upward of $250,000 last year to the United States Chamber of Commerce, an implacable foe of climate action… We need strong corporate climate policies.  We also need strong corporate climate politics.  Make climate change a priority when you lobby Congress.”
 
Joining Whitehouse on today’s letter are Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), and Gary C. Peters (D-MI). 
 
The full text of the letter is below.  A PDF of one of the signed letters is available here.
 
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November 3, 2015
 
Dear CEO:
 
We are immensely grateful for your leadership on climate issues and for your participation in the White House corporate event on climate.
 
It is so important that corporate leaders take responsibility for sustainable operations and a sustainable supply chain.  It is vital that corporate leaders support the Clean Power Plan and a strong COP21 agreement in Paris.  But please do not give up on Congress.
 
All of the President’s work is critical, but Congress can play a key role in achieving our climate goals.
 
We are overjoyed to read about corporate climate commitments, and support companies that demonstrate these commitments clearly and consistently.  From our perspective your commitments have yet to resonate with many in Congress.  Too often the voices of strong corporate leaders are contradicted by the trade associations of which they are a part.  Corporate lobbying groups need to change their policy positions on climate if they are to reflect the opinions of members who are committed to climate action. 
 
Please, don’t “abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”  There is a critical mass of support in the country and even in Congress to tackle this climate crisis.
 
Sincerely,
 
Sheldon Whitehouse
Barbara Boxer
Tom Udall
Jeanne Shaheen
Al Franken
Richard Blumenthal
Brian Schatz
Edward J. Markey
Cory A. Booker
Gary C. Peters
 
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