Category: Automobile / Transport
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and Disney chief executive Bob Iger say they will leave President Donald Trump’s advisory councils after he confirmed the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
Mr Trump announced he would pull the US from the landmark global agreement to fight climate change, saying that the Paris agreement was “unfair” to the US and would cause jobs to move overseas.
While the move was welcomed by conservative groups and Republicans, several business leaders — including Mr Musk and Mr Iger, and the heads of companies including Google, Facebook Shell and Amazon — have spoken out against the decision.
“Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Mr Musk said in a Twitter post.
Mr Musk, who founded SpaceX and Tesla among other companies, had been a member of Mr Trump’s infrastructure council, manufacturing jobs council and his strategic and policy forum.
The day before the announcement, Mr Musk said he had done “all I can” to convince the US President to stay in the accord and threatened to leave presidential advisory councils if the departure went ahead.
A couple of hours after Mr Musk’s announcement, Mr Iger also said he will be stepping down from the advisory council “as a matter of principle”.
Other business leaders, such as Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, Microsoft president Brad Smith and General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt have tweeted that they were “disappointed” with the decision.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said stopping climate change is “something we can only do as a global community”.
Other global companies, including Intel, HP, Dell, Amazon and oil giant Shell have released statements expressing support for the Paris agreement.
“We believe that robust clean energy and climate policies can support American competitiveness, innovation, and job growth,” Amazon wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the governors of three US states — New York, California and Washington — announced they would form a “United States Climate Alliance” to convene states “committed to upholding the Paris climate agreement”.
“If the President is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavour, then California and other states will step up,” a joint statement read.
Mr Trump’s announcement in the White House Rose Garden this morning capped days of speculation about whether he would fulfil his campaign pledge to “cancel” the deal, ratified by nearly 200 nations in the French capital in 2015.
He said the agreement as it stands would make it “very hard” for the US “to compete with the rest of the world”, and said the deal is “less about the climate and more about other countries gaining an advantage over the United States”.
General Motors Co said chief executive Mary Barra would not leave a presidential advisory panel, saying her participation “provides GM a seat at an important table to contribute to a constructive dialogue about key policy issues”.
In 2013, GM signed a declaration joining other major companies arguing that responding to climate change was good business.
The carmaker said despite today’s withdrawal it “will not waver from our commitment to the environment”.
The White House is planning to a hold a meeting with technology leaders on June 19, an administration spokesman said.
The decision to leave the Paris climate accord was foreshadowed during Mr Trump’s presidential campaign. He said yesterday he was “hearing from a lot of people, both ways”.
Conservative groups, among them the National Mining Association, at least 22 Senate and 12 House Republicans, chief strategist Steve Bannon and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt were all part of the push to leave the agreement.
After the announcement Mr Pruitt said that Mr Trump “made a hard decision, but one that put America first”.
“This is a historic restoration of American economic independence — one that will benefit the working class, the working poor, and working people of all stripes,” he said in a statement.
“With this action, you have declared that people are the rulers of this country once again.”
The Paris deal aimed to limit planetary warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
When announcing the decision to withdraw from the deal, Mr Trump said he was willing to sit down with Democrats and negotiate a different deal.
Senior White House officials said the desire to renegotiate is sincere and the President wants to figure out if there is a more “rational approach” to climate and energy policy.