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Thursday, October 08, 2009, 05:00 pm PT (08:00 pm ET)

Energy Secretary, Greenpeace praise Apple for chamber departure

Both the U.S. Secretary of Energy and Greenpeace have praised Apple's decision to abandon its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its stance on climate change.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu commented Thursday on the numerous companies that have left the chamber because they disagree with its stance on climate change. He spoke to reporters at a solar energy event in Washington D.C., according to Reuters.

"I think it's wonderful," Chu said, adding that the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are "part of our economic future."

The chamber recently made comments opposing the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to limit greenhouse gases, and Apple does not agree with that stance. The Mac maker made headlines this week when it declared its departure. Preceding the Cupertino, Calif., company were Nike, Pacific Gas & Electric, PNM Resources, and Exelon.

In his comments, Chu reprotedly urged the chamber to reconsider its stance on the issue. The chamber would rather see Congress set policy through legislation.

"I would encourage the Chamber of Commerce to realize the economic opportunity that the United States can lead in a new industrial revolution," he said.

After Apple announced its departure this week, the chamber fired back, accusing the Mac maker of not taking the time to understand the consortium's stance on the issues. Chamber President Thomas Donohue accused the company of forfeiting the chance to "advance a 21st century approach to climate change."

Also Thursday, the international nongovernmental organization Greenpeace came out in support, declaring "Bravo Apple!" in a news item on its Web site. The group took the opportunity to encourage two other big-name technology companies to do the same.

"Apple has stormed out of the biggest lobby group in the United States," Greenpeace said. "At issue is the US Chamber of Commerce's use of funds to oppose climate change legislation. Apple has done the right thing, and IBM and Microsoft should think different too."

Greenpeace


It's quite a change from just a few years ago, when Greenpeace was targeting Apple over the use of toxic chemicals in its products. Since then, the company has made a concerted effort to improve its image. Just weeks ago, Apple began reporting its carbon emissions on its Web site.