The flurry of companies quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is highlighting how the climate-change issue is straining traditional alliances in Washington, as some businesses seek to profit from overhauling the energy market and others try to cut deals to head off tougher regulation.
Some companies and industry groups that have in the past worked with Republicans to fight efforts to curb the use of fossil fuels -- such as Detroit's auto makers -- are now expressing support for action on climate change. Some support legislation to put a price on the carbon-dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming, while others support preserving the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate such greenhouse gases.
Companies are following their own interests, and there is no monolithic business stance. In the coming fight for legislation, it will be impossible for the Administration to be charged with being anti-business.
Environmentalists have cheered the recent defections from the Chamber, hoping they might weaken one of the best-funded opponents of the climate legislation.