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Monday, October 05, 2009, 04:45 pm PT (07:45 pm ET)

Apple abandons U.S. Chamber of Commerce over climate policy

In response to recent comments opposing efforts to limit greenhouse gases, Apple has resigned from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in protest.

Apple filed a letter with the chamber on Monday, noting that the company is "committed to protecting the environment and the communities in which we operate around the world." According to The New York Times, the chamber recently made comments opposing the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to limit greenhouse gases, and Apple does not agree with that stance.

"As a company, we are working hard to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions by relying on renewable energy at our facilities and designing more energy-efficient products for our customers," Catherine A. Novelli, vice president of Worldwide Government Affairs, wrote to the chamber. "We have undertaken this unilaterally and without government mandate, because we believe it is the right thing to do. For those companies who cannot or will not do the same, Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is frustrating to find the Chamber at odds with us in this effort."

Recently, the chamber threatened litigation if the EPA enacts greenhouse gas regulations. The chamber would rather see Congress set policy through legislation.

"We would prefer that the Chamber take a more progressive stance on this critical issue and play a constructive role in addressing the climate crisis," Novelli said. "However, because the Chamber's position differs so sharply with Apple's, we have decided to resign our membership effective immediately."

The Times noted that Apple is not alone in its departure: Pacific Gas & Electric, PNM Resources and Exelon, three utility companies, all resigned in recent weeks. Nike also withdrew from the chamber's board, but retained its membership.

Just weeks ago, Apple began reporting its carbon emissions, the first time the company offered such public disclosures. Apple said that its products produce a great deal more emissions than its operations.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs also did an interview expanding on his company's green goals. The company began a public relations push years ago after it was targeted by Greenpeace over the use of toxic chemicals in its products.