US Chamber of Commerce

InfluenceMap Score
for Climate Policy Engagement
Performance Band
Organization Score
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Washington DC, United States

Climate Lobbying Overview: The US Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) appears actively opposed to climate policy in the US. While the Chamber updated its climate position statement to a nominally more positive stance in 2021, its positive top-line communications follow years of strategic opposition to most strands of climate policy and, from 2016-2020, active support for the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda. Moreover, the Chamber has continued to oppose critical climate measures from 2022-23, including running strategic campaigns against both the US Build Back Better and Inflation Reduction Act.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: The Chamber’s 2021 position statement endorses a market-based approach to emissions reductions but stops short of supporting global emissions reductions in line with IPCC advice. Rather, a statement on its website expresses concern with certain proposed timelines that are “not viewed as feasible.” The group campaigned heavily against the Build Back Better Act, stating in September 2021, for example, as reported by NBC News, that the climate provisions in the bill don’t represent “a serious attempt to establish durable climate policy.”

In April 2021, the Chamber signed a joint letter supporting the Paris Agreement and advocating for a US target of cutting GHG emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. The Chamber's reversal on the Paris Agreement followed years of detailed opposition. In 2017, it sponsored and publicized research criticizing the US’s GHG emission reduction pledge under the Agreement, which was subsequently used by the Trump Administration in 2017 to justify pulling the US out of the deal. In March 2019, the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute submitted detailed criticism of the US’s obligation under the Paris Agreement to the US House of Representatives, arguing that the GHG emissions target was “completely unrealistic.” A month later, just before the Trump administration’s efforts to finalize this move, the Chamber altered its position, stating instead that it supported US participation in the deal.

Engagement with Climate-Related Policy: The Chamber has consistently opposed legislative and regulatory intervention on climate, including the Inflation Reduction Act. According to a February 2022 article from the Hill, the Chamber ran ads in two of Arizona’s largest newspapers, pressuring the state Senators Krysten Sinema and Mark Kelly to vote against the Inflation Reduction Act, with the Chamber’s Chief policy officer stating that the taxes in the bill are harmful. The Chamber also signed an August 2022 coalition letter to congress which expressed firm opposition to the Inflation Reduction Act due to the tax increases included within the legislation.

In comments to the EPA on the Clean Trucks Plan in May 2022, the Chamber heavily criticized the proposal and reiterated its support for “one national standard,” which could usurp state authority in enacting more ambitious standards from transport. This falls in line with the Chamber’s previous opposition to the EPA waiver allowing California to enact its own, stricter fuel economy standards, as evident in August 2019 comments to the EPA and California Air Resources Board.

An area of GHG policy that the Chamber has demonstrated support for is the phase down of HFCs, as evident in a May 2022 letter expressing strong support for the approval of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal protocol. In addition, in a November 2022 press release, Martin Durbin expressed support for the EPA’s proposed Methane rule, and followed this up with support for the Global Methane Pledge. Despite top-line support for the direct regulation of methane, however, the Chamber continues to firmly oppose actual regulation. In January 2022, it submitted comments to the EPA appearing to contest the EPA’s legal authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate emissions from existing sources.

Positioning on Energy Transition: The Chamber has consistently maintained a negative position on the energy transition. In a May 2022 blog post titled “An Effective Climate and Energy Security ‘Grand Bargain’ Is Within Reach,” Durbin outlined seven "core elements" which would bridge climate and energy security. While the blog offered some support for the electrification of transport, it also stated clear support for hydrogen produced from fossil gas as well as continued investment into infrastructure that would lock in unabated fossil fuels into the energy mix. Similarly, the Chamber’s Senior VP of PolicyMartin Durbin asserted in a November 2022 press release that U.S. LNG to Europe is beneficial on the basis that it is cleaner than Russian oil.

In November 2022, the Chamber filed an amicus brief to the California district court supporting a legal case against emissions regulations (introduced by the California South Coast Air Quality Management District) that would encourage the purchase of zero-emission vehicles. In October 2022, the Chamber submitted joint comments to the Department of Energy opposing its proposal to raise energy conservation standards for gas furnaces, a move toward electrification.

In April 2022, Marty Durbin, Senior VP for Policy at the Chamber said in a statement to the Washington Post that the Biden Administration’s decision to restore climate provisions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – including consideration of “cumulative” impacts from projects’ GHG emissions – would result in “unnecessarily extensive and duplicative bureaucratic red tape.”

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