05/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Business Of American Business Is Green.

What do big names Avista, Calpine, Deutsche Bank Asset Management, PG&E, Recycled Energy Development and Warner Music Group all have in common? They are the latest to join the rapidly growing American Businesses for Clean Energy (ABCE), a diverse group of businesses pushing for a comprehensive climate and clean energy bill.

Adding to the more than 2,500 businesses who have already joined, ABCE is collectively standing up and proclaiming loudly what many Americans have already come to realize: clean energy will not only help the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but will also stimulate the economy by creating jobs and encouraging innovation.

So why has the message fallen deaf on ears in the Senate? Probably because Senators have only been listening to the US Chamber of Commerce, which has portrayed action on climate change as death to the economy.

But the US Chamber of Commerce is increasingly representing the narrow, entrenched, and regressive interests of selective Wall Street business, not the views of thousands of businesses from across the United States. ABCE is the group that Congress should pay attention to - by becoming a responsible alternative for businesses large, small and everything in-between, ABCE is echoing the real voice of America.

In just the past year, the US Chamber of Commerce has done everything in its power to stop clean energy by:

  • Spending more than65 million in 2009 actively campaigning against meaningful climate change legislation
  • Taking a lead role in challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) attempts to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act
  • Continuing to doubt climate change science, and plant fear through exaggerated claims about the economic consequences of green house gas regulation
But these actions are not an accurate portrayal of American business. The chamber claims to represent "3 million members, businesses both large and small", but when only 19 supporters are providing "a third of the trade group's total revenue", its obvious that the bigger the check the louder your voice.

Thankfully, many businesses are refusing to stand behind these actions. Apple, Exelon, PNM Resources, PG&E, PSEG, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and Mohawk Paper have all quit the chamber because of their actions over climate, and many more are continuing to distance themselves by refusing to join and reducing payments.

But smart businesses aren't just saying goodbye to the chamber and then sitting on the sidelines. They are actively calling for clean energy legislation:

  • American Business for Clean Energy (ABCE) - a group of over 2,400 large and small businesses "ABCE is the gathering place for businesses united behind the goal of advancing comprehensive clean energy legislation that will create jobs and unleash innovation, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions"
  • We Can Lead - A group of 200 business leaders from 20 states stormed Capitol Hill in February, sending Congress the message that "America's business leaders are prepared to unleash a new industrial revolution in clean energy that will create permanent jobs right here at home...We need the US Senate to act"
  • A letter organized by Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) was sent by more than 80 major CEO's calling on the President and Congress to enact "strong policies and clear market signals that support the transition to a low-carbon economy and reward companies that innovate.
  • Realizing what is at stake, environmental groups and industry giants have come together as the United States Climate Action Partnership (US-CAP) demanding Congress understand "Our country's economic future depends on American leadership on energy and climate policy".

So if you are a business owner, or you know one, it is time for us to stand strong and push a clean energy agenda across the finish line in the Senate, and onto the president's desk.

We all have a role to play, so whether you own a business, or know someone who does, take a look at the ABC's of ABCE, and lets do what we know is right for us on the near term, and right for our children in the long term.