A new report lays out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s lengthy history of climate denial and lobbying against climate policy, casting doubt on its latest effort to be seen as climate friendly. The report, released Tuesday by Brown University’s Climate and Development Lab, used publicly available internal documents from the “formative period for climate change policy” between 1989 and 2009. The report finds that, as late as 2009, the Chamber was still claiming global warming would be beneficial to humans and called for a Scopes Monkey Trial-style public hearing to “put the science of climate change on trial.” But the Chamber also shifted tactics depending on who was in power, the report found, opting for a positive message that business could provide solutions under President George W. Bush, versus attacking climate science under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Author Cole Triedman, a researcher with the Climate Development Lab, suggests the Chamber’s apparent change of heart starting in 2019 with the launch of a “climate change task force” could be calculated.
“When there were significant threats to its bottom line, the Chamber completely pivoted gears and attacked whatever what was in front of them and used arguments like, we’re going to become less competitive than other countries, or the economy is going to suffer, or this policy is not achievable, and we’re doomed anyway,” Triedman said. “It’s all very cyclical, and this tells researchers and advocates that there’s a certain recipe organizations like this operate and message on with how they talk about climate change.” (InsideClimate News, Gizmodo, Report: Climate Development Lab)