Brown University’s Climate and Development Lab reviewed 41 chamber pronouncements from 1989-2009 and found the trade association to be “a powerful force in obstructing climate action.”

For 20 years, the United States Chamber of Commerce has played a central role in national and global campaigns to thwart ambitious legislative efforts to curb the world’s rising carbon emissions and downplay the threat of climate change, according to a new report that analyzed dozens of documents issued by the nation’s biggest business association.

The report, published Tuesday by Brown University’s Climate and Development Lab, adds to a growing body of work that has revealed how the fossil fuel industry, and other organizations tied to its business interests, have spent decades mounting sophisticated messaging campaigns that have aimed to quell public concern over climate change and protect the bottom line of some of the world’s biggest corporations.

The Chamber of Commerce, during what the report called the “formative period” for U.S. climate policy from 1989 to 2009, consistently characterized climate science as needing more time to develop and said various solutions being proposed to reduce carbon emissions “would be harmful to the American economy and put us at disadvantage to other countries.” And the organization’s board of directors has more often included energy executives than owners of main street shops, the report said.

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