Jan 19, 2021 - 12:15pm

An Update to the Chamber's Approach on Climate


Senior Vice President, Policy

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a broad and diverse membership with a variety of viewpoints on major policy issues. Over time, priorities shift as challenges emerge and the business community responds to them. 

We have long emphasized that combating climate change will require citizens, government, and business to work together. The American business community is central to this effort, not only through its lead role in developing and investing in innovative solutions and deploying low-carbon technologies, but also as a partner in the development of sound policies to guide this transition. The Chamber has led this effort, outlining a set of principles that shapes our advocacy and policy development, and working to advance those principles with policymakers on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. This includes leveraging the power of business, maintaining U.S. leadership in climate science, embracing technology and innovation, aggressively pursuing energy efficiency, promoting resilient climate infrastructure, supporting trade in U.S. technologies and products and encouraging international cooperation. Overall, our message remains clear: inaction is not an option. 

These principles have led to unprecedented progress over the past few years. Perhaps most notably, the Chamber played a leading role in adoption of the most significant climate and energy legislation adopted in decades, which lays a foundation for the technology development needed to meet the climate challenge, and implements a phase down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which alone could avoid emissions to lower global temperatures by half a degree Celsius.  

In 2019, the Chamber established a Task Force on Climate Actions to facilitate greater dialogue with our members on approaches to address climate change. The Task Force meets regularly to discuss in greater detail various policy approaches and help us gain an understanding of how members are approaching the issue. 

To reflect the work of the Task Force and the ongoing dialogue with our members, the Chamber today added the following paragraph to our Position on Climate Change

The Chamber supports a market-based approach to accelerate GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions reductions across the U.S. economy. We believe that durable climate policy must be made by Congress, and that it should encourage innovation and investment to ensure significant emissions reductions, while avoiding economic harm for businesses, consumers and disadvantaged communities. This policy should include well designed market mechanisms that are transparent and not distorted by overlapping regulations. U.S. climate policy should recognize the urgent need for action, while maintaining the national and international competitiveness of U.S. industry and ensuring consistency with free enterprise and free trade principles. 

This statement reflects the overall consensus of the Chamber’s membership that Congress should pursue market-based solutions to accelerate emissions reductions, and that the Chamber will continue its engagement to pursue meaningful, achievable progress to address the challenge of climate change.    

Of course, some of our members have endorsed specific policy proposals within the realm of market-based approaches. While the Chamber is not endorsing any specific proposals at this time, this update to our climate position is not intended to exclude any of those options, but rather to strengthen overall support for market-based solutions. 

We believe there is much common ground on which all sides of this discussion could come together to address climate change with policies that are practical, flexible, predictable, and durable. As the debate evolves with Congress and the new administration, we will work constructively with our members to engage on and evaluate specific policy approaches. Our Task Force on Climate Actions will help to ensure that our contributions to the discussion are informed and that we have a clear understanding of how policies will impact both the climate and the business community which must implement them. There are also lessons to be learned from how other countries have approached this issue, which is one reason we so strongly support the Biden Administration’s decision to rejoin the Paris Agreement and restore international engagement on climate, particularly given the Chamber’s status as an official observer at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  

We appreciate the engagement of the Chamber membership in this important issue, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue in the months to come.   

Learn more about the Chamber’s position and work on climate change.

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About the Author

About the Author

Martin Durbin headshot
Senior Vice President, Policy

Martin (Marty) Durbin is president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute (GEI).