Twenty-five business groups, including Green America, representing a broad range of industries and regions nationwide, announced on March 31, 2016, that they are filing a friend of the court brief (an “amicus brief”) in support of the national Clean Power Plan, the strongest action to-date for addressing climate change. The groups say that unrestrained climate change will burden national, state and local economies with increased costs and business disruptions from droughts, flooding, reduced agriculture productivity, extreme weather, rising seas, and other disturbances.
In addition they point out that the Clean Power Plan will boost economic growth by generating new market-based solutions and new jobs in renewable energy. The Clean Power Plan has been challenged in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Given the current vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court and the potential for a 4-4 deadlock, the decision of the Circuit Court takes on greater importance. Leading the groups is the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which has a membership network spanning more than 200,000 businesses.
Richard Eidlin, Vice President of Policy and Campaigns, said, “This powerful coalition of business organizations believes that the Clean Power Plan is our country’s best current hope for addressing climate change – a major threat to all businesses. It calls for significant reductions of greenhouse gases and wisely provides states abundant flexibility in how to cut emissions. This enables states to take advantage of developing trends, such as in renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
Ron Busby, President and CEO of U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., said, "The U.S. Black Chambers supports the Clean Power Plan because it creates new opportunities for individuals and businesses to run their companies more efficiently while sustaining the environment. The Clean Power Plan is a step in the right direction and it provides incentives to reduce carbon emissions, which ultimately leads to a healthier environment and healthier communities."
Fran Teplitz, Executive Co-director of Green America, said, “Far-sighted business leaders recognize the value of the Clean Power Plan and understand that greenhouse gas emissions must be sharply cut to protect human and environmental health and our nation’s economic competitiveness. Our economic viability absolutely depends on shifting to a clean energy economy.”
Frank Knapp Jr., President and CEO, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, said, “Business organizations that oppose the Clean Power Plan are doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry. Real world experience tells us that implementing the Plan will create jobs and grow our economy. Its decentralized approach allows each state to decide how best to reduce carbon pollution. It protects our nation’s economy from the disastrous effects of unrestrained climate change -- including the dire consequences to my state’s tourism economy.” Polling of small business owners shows they expect to suffer economic harm if the Clean Power Plan does not survive the legal challenges:
- Majorities of business owners said they were concerned about “carbon pollution” (57 percent) and “climate change” (53 percent).
- More than half of all business owners (53 percent) believe climate change will adversely affect their business. Of that, 19 percent - nearly one in five - say that extreme weather events associated with climate change already have affected their operations.
- A clear majority, 64 percent, say that government regulation is needed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.
- 57 percent say that the biggest emitters, like power plants, should make the most significant cuts in carbon emissions, rather than have all businesses cut emissions equally.
Poll results may be found here: http://asbcouncil.org/poll-small-business-owners#Climate
The appeals court is set to hear oral argument in the case on June 2, 2016, with a decision expected later this year. The case will almost certainly proceed to the United States Supreme Court, with an ultimate decision in 2017.