Microsoft Knocks Chamber's Climate Stance

| Wed Mar. 3, 2010 9:49 AM EST

The Chamber of Commerce has yet another critic, and this time it's a big one: Technology giant Microsoft, which on Tuesday distanced itself from the business lobby's position on climate change policy.

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has never spoken for nor done work on behalf of Microsoft regarding climate change legislation, and we have not participated in the Chamber’s climate initiatives," Rob Bernard, chief environmental strategist at the company, wrote on its blog.

"Microsoft has stated that climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate, worldwide attention and we are acting accordingly," he continued. "We are pursuing strategies and taking actions that are consistent with a strong commitment to reducing our own impact as well as the impact of our products. In addition, we have adopted a broad policy statement on climate change that expresses support for government action to create market-based mechanisms to address climate change." Part of the company's role in addressing climate, he wrote, is providing "expertise on the role software and technology can play in reducing carbon emissions."

Microsoft has been increasingly vocal on climate issues lately. Chairman Bill Gates gave a speech last month calling for the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 to avert the impacts of climate change.

While the Chamber of Commerce has attempted to take on a softer tone on climate legislation recently, they've opposed all bills so far aimed at addressing the problem of global warming. Last month, they sued the Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to block its finding that climate change is a threat to human health.

Microsoft joins a number of businesses that have voiced disapproval of the Chamber's rigid position on climate issues. There was a round of defections from the Chamber over its climate stance last fall, with Midwestern utility Exelon Corp., the New Mexico utility holding company PNM Resources, Northern California utility Pacific Gas and Electric, Mohawk Fine Paper all dropping out over a span of several weeks. Nike also resigned from the Chamber's board. Meanwhile, environmental groups have been working to get more green-leaning businesses to distance themselves from the business lobby.