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U.S. Chamber Walks it Back: 'Scopes Monkey Analogy Was Inappropriate'

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After saying just last week that it wanted to initiate a 'Scopes Trial' on the science of climate change, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has quickly reversed course in a blog post on the National Journal Energy Experts blog:

My "Scopes monkey" analogy was inappropriate and detracted from my ability to effectively convey the Chamber's position on this important issue.

Bill Kovacs, Vice President for the Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs Division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, also took issue with media accounts of their actions last week. He claims the Chamber was unfairly accused of challenging the science behind climate change and characterized those who criticized the Chamber's outlandish stance as 'the anti-business lobby':

Before responding to the National Journal's question, let me clarify a few things. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not denying or otherwise challenging the science behind global climate change. Many of the news articles on our petition the past few days made that claim. They are not correct. The anti-business lobby quickly jumped on these news articles without actually reading the substance of the Chamber's petition, casting us as climate "deniers." That is certainly unfortunate, but not unexpected. For many of these special interest groups, dogma trumps facts, and they've been calling us deniers for years, even though the Chamber supports sensible and ambitious congressional and international action on global climate change.

Mr. Kovacs is not participating in the discussion around climate legislation in good faith. You can't actively oppose all meaningful action on climate change and claim a few months later to "support sensible and ambitions congressional and international action" if you want people to take you at your word. Even some of the Chamber's own corporate members are fed up with their attempts to derail climate legislation, asking the Chamber in May to refrain from making comments unless they "reflect the full range of views, especially those of Chamber members advocating for congressional action."


Adding insult to injury, Kovacs' extended rant also accuses the EPA of being ignorant of evidence that questions its conclusions, specifically citing a widely discredited hodgepodge of pseudoscience leaked earlier this year by the right wing Conservative Enterprise Institute.


Note to Mr. Kovacs: If you want people to take your arguments seriously, make serious arguments. Accusing your political opponents of being anti-business, blatantly mischaracterizing the role your organization has played in recent months and citing widely discredited denier studies -- will not give you the credibility in the discussion around climate legislation you so desperately seek.

Update 1 - Carl Pope responds:

One monkey trial was enough. It is now the Chamber that is making a fool of itself, much as Williams Jennings Bryan did eighty years ago. It's members should rescue their organization's reputation by publicly burying this idea before it does them more harm.

Update 2 - Larry Schweiger responds:

You need a secret decoder ring to unravel Bill Kovacs' illogical pretzel in his National Journal blog, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launches the most ambitious effort in years to undermine scientific progress on climate change while simultaneously claiming to be a believer in that same science.

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