Chamber Slams Apple. Is San Jose Next?

Does Apple really understand climate change? Not according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This week, Apple became the latest in a series of major corporations to quit the Chamber, citing differences over attitudes toward climate change. Catherine Novelli, Apple’s Vice President for Worldwide Government Affairs, said that the company “would prefer that the chamber take a more progressive stance on this critical issue.” On Wednesday, the Chamber fired back.

In a letter to Apple, Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue wrote: “It is unfortunate that your company didn’t take the time to understand the chamber’s position on climate and forfeited the opportunity to advance a 21st century approach to climate change.” Donohue continued that U.S. efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions locally would cause job loss and have no impact on global carbon emissions, which would simply be shifted overseas.

The Chamber has been criticized repeatedly over the past few weeks, and other major corporations, including PG&E, have resigned from it or, in the case of Nike, from its Board. In a blog post yesterday, influential climate expert Joe Romm stated that the Chamber’s leadership is actually ignoring its own Board of Directors on matters pertaining to climate change.

Frustration with this approach is felt not only among corporations, but also among local chambers. Locally, the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce joined General Electric and Johnson & Johnson in breaking openly with the U.S. Chamber, stating that its views do not represent their own. It was the first local chamber to do so. Pat Dando, CEO of the Chamber, stated last Friday that “there isn’t anyone who doesn’t realize that climate change is a man-made phenomenon and something we need to address and address quickly.”

Could the San Jose Chamber be the next to quit? A decision should be made by the year’s end, at about the same time that the United Nations holds its Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (December 7-18). Until then, Dando is facing increasing pressure to take a more proactive stance. An editorial in the Mercury News this week called the current U.S. Chamber a “dinosaur,” and challenged local companies—and the local Chamber—to “make their voices heard in Washington— whether through the national chamber or despite it.” We will see which companies choose to follow Apple’s lead over the next two months.
Read More at the Business Journal.

14 Comments

    • So, ff, do also have a list of Holocaust deniers as well? Dig deep enough and you can always find somebody who agrees with you. I guess it just depends how deep you want to dig.

      • It’s flat out dishonesty to compare “holocaust deniers” with global warming skeptics, who don’t want to unilaterally cripple the US economy while China and India get a free pass to keep emitting carbon.

        • So this is all about the economy and ignoring science?  The discussion here is about the veracity of the scientific consensus.  A separate discussion can be had about whether or not it is worth some sacrfice so that our grandchildren will have a planet to live on.  I happen to think yes.  Nobody wants to give India and China a free pass, but instead lead by example.  In fact, by most accounts, China is far ahead of the US in implementing green technology and recognizing the need to reduce their carbon footprint.

  1. What’s Next,

    I posted the link because Pat Dando was guilty of what has become a most common practice in this culture, that being the mindless repeating of manufactured convictions without any regard for the skepticism that is key to the scientific method. Recent history is rich with examples of the consensus being wrong, or have you forgotten Saddam’s WMD’s? Forty years ago the consensus amongst “mainstream scientists” (which sometimes means scientists falling in line with those controlling the grant money) was that Paul Ehrlich’s population bomb would lead us to starvation—a prediction that actually influenced family planning in America.

    As for holocaust deniers, I’m not really sure what is meant by that manufactured expression. Even if I assume that the “holocaust” you refer to is the one that resulted from the Nazi’s internment policies, I’m unaware of anyone denying that great numbers of those interned perished. Perhaps you could supply me with the name of one such “denier” (along with a source).

  2. That would be cool if we solve global warming by January 1, 2012.  And then on January 2, 2012 the sun burns out and we all freeze to death.

  3. Pat Dando said, “there isn’t anyone who doesn’t realize that climate change is a man made phenomenon…”
    This is a ridiculous and demonstrably false statement. Proof? I am someone. I don’t recognize that there even IS climate change- never mind man made or otherwise. Therefore, her statement is incorrect.
    What Dando does demonstrate is the breathtaking ignorance of the majority of Americans on what science is, what it is capable of, and what it is not capable of.
    At this point, the debate over global warming is still a political one. It cannot be debated scientifically. It’s a judgment call. I’m sick of being lectured by the ignoramuses of the world who insist that “the debate is over- all the science is in”.
    You want to talk about this honestly? I’m all ears. Just quit trying to bullshit me.

  4. John, who’s doing the bullshitting here?  You are willing to talk about this honestly, as long as scientists aren’t involved?  Of course this is a scientific discussion and since you don’t like the conclusions of science, you are unwilling to listen to it.  You know better what science is capable of than scientists in the field?  Are you a research scientist?  Well I am, and computer models can predict behavior from first principles, whether you understand those principles or not.

    • Then perhaps you can apply your experience, as a research scientist, to the question of whether or not we can currently predict (with any degree of precision) what the weather is going to be in the next 30 days? 

      Because if I read your statement correctly (“computer models can predict behavior from first principles”), this would lead me to believe that computer models can accurately predict weather patterns 20 and 30 and 40 years out.

      Consider when they said that, based on computer models, the level of Atlantic hurricane activity would be on the increase in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Or when “experts” said the Arctic polar ice cap would fully melt and thence remain unfrozen.  Or that the Greenland ice sheet would disappear from the face of the earth. Shall I go on?

      Computer models are only extrapolations of data and programming fed in by the modelers.  Inevitably, they come down to someone asking a question – “what is going to happen?” 

      All too often, though, the person developing that model is attempting to prove a hypothesis, and so tilts the programming and the data in order to generate the outcome which he or she seeks to achieve.

      And so it has been with the supporters of the “hypothesis” (I hesitate to call it a theory because it has yet to stand the proof of reproduction) of anthropogenic global warming.  Time and again, those supporters have been found out to be wrong on their predictions, have hidden data from researchers trying to verify their conclusions, and have consistently attempted to shut down discussion of their topic by coming up with statements such as Algore’s infamous “consensus” meme.

      In science, there is no consensus – there is only “yes, it can be demonstrated and repeated” or “no, it cannot be demonstrated or repeated” – anything beyond that goes into conjecture and faith. 

      If the AGW hypothesis is in fact true, then it can be demonstrated and repeated, and can stand the test of scrutiny from all sides, with all data wide open to check and recheck.  Otherwise, it is on the same scientific level as the Flat Earth hypothesis, and is subject to the same amount of ridicule and scorn from people who can actually think and reason.

      • Based on your procedure, we have to wait until we “demonstrate” the veracity of climate models.  The problem with that is that the models predict irreversible catastrophes.  So what is your plan.  Wait to see if it is true, and then say “oh s***,” now what?

        Local climate models are very complex.  Climate scientists are not claiming to predict tomorrow’s temperature.  What they stand behind is the predicted trends, which indicate that all weather events will become more extreme if we continue along the same path.  Long term predicted trends (extrapolations if you must) tell us we better get our act together.

        • And so the Precautionary Principle once again rears its ugly head.  There’s only one problem with those models to which you refer – they are all subject to interpretation by the observer, and as such are rendered almost entirely useless from a scientific standpoint as a basis of predictability.

          Advocates of the AGW hypothesis have proposed that we tax ourselves collectively into oblivion based on a hypothesis that “might” come true 30 years down the road, notwithstanding the fact that some of those very same advocates were claiming 40 years ago that we would be entering a new ice age by this time – based largely on the very same evidence.

          Remember – those “predicted trends” indicated that 2009 would be one of the warmest summers on record, and it wasn’t even close.  Those “predicted trends” indicated that because of AGW, Atlantic hurricane activity would only go up, and that years with a Katrina and a Rita would become the norm rather than the exception.  Now those same individuals who developed the “predicted trend” on increased hurricane activity now are trying to claim that AGW has resulted in the relative lack of Atlantic hurricane activity because of increased polar icecap melt resulting in a cooler Atlantic equatorial oceanic zone.

          Those who hew to the “predicted trend” pay little if any attention to the level of sunspot activity (thus indicating how “hot” the sun is going to be) nor the relative wobble of the Terran orbit.  The reason for that is clear – those huge factors would tend to mitigate CO2 emissions as a causative agent for climiactic variations in temperature.

          My bottom line is that observations are ALWAYS influenced by the hypothesis one is attempting to demonstrate by conducting the observation.  This is largely what has happened with the AGW crowd, and they are now asking us to pay out large amounts of money for their collective folly.

          And I think we can all agree that we’ve seen far too much blood and treasure expended by our Guvmint in the pursuit of folly.

  5. No, all ears, I’m not a research scientist like you. But I do wear a lab coat when I read the news. Does that help?
    You’re right. Computer models CAN predict behaviour from first principles- if all variables are accurately taken into account. Has a scientist built the perfect climate model? What’s his name? What’s wrong with the other bozos whose models don’t agree with his model?
    Look, I’m not quibbling with any one scientist’s research or conclusions. If CO2 molecules absorb infrared then it stands to reason that the atmosphere could heat up as more is introduced. But will this heating be significant or negligible when superimposed on Earth’s climate which fluctuates wildly anyway?
    The bullshitting comes into play when politicians claim that a concensus constitutes proof and sanctimoniously declare that there’s a crisis and only Government involvement can save us.
    It’s reminiscent of the time when Colin Powell was trotted out before the U.N. to “lay out the case” for WMD. What greater “expert” could there be, right? Who were any of us to question his conclusions?
    Our Government has lately become a gigantic fearmongering machine. We need to start questioning it more.

  6. I am not a research scientist, but spent years in building models of corporate results. Granted, not as complex as climate models, and on a much shorter time scale, but modeling, nevertheless. And one takeaway from my experience is that point estimate forecasts are always wrong. The best you can hope for is to be directionally correct, so that decisions move the organization in the correct direction.

    Therefore, I am curious about the confidence intervals of the climate models. For those familiar with modeling vernacular, confidence intervals provide upper and lower bounds around the forecast result, and inevitably expand as the time horizon of the forecast is extended. Confidence intervals are a reflection of the inherent uncertainty in forecasting the future. Nobody ever talks about this critical component of the models, yet it would help provide a degree of certainty about the directional correctness of the climate models.

    The evidence since 1998 indicates that the point estimates are off the mark. Rather than global warming, there was a stabilization in global temperatures (whatever that means), and an actual decline since 2003. Was this behavior predicted by the models? It’s hard to say without knowing the confidence intervals, the range of probable outcomes.

    So can you white lab coat guys clue us in? I’m not a disbeliever, just a skeptic afraid of the politicization of the issue.

    P.S. evidence indicates that Greenland had a thriving grape industry during the initial Viking years, indicating a much warmer climate than exists today. Yet, here we are…