Not even Elon Musk could sway Trump on the Paris Agreement
Elon Musk has President Donald Trump’s ear as a member of the White House’s business advisory council, and he has not been afraid to use it to lobby him on key issues. One of those is global climate change.
And yet even Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX who has been pushing the world toward a future of renewable energy, was not able to sway the Trump administration to remain in the Paris Climate Agreement. This is based on multiple news reports on Wednesday stating the administration is about to withdraw from the landmark agreement.
The U.S. government’s decision to pull out comes even after Musk last week tweeted his optimism:
It wasn’t just Musk pushing the U.S. government to remain in the pact. Thirty CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies co-signed an open letter to Trump earlier this month. Names included Richard Branson of Virgin Group, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric, and Robert Iger of The Walt Disney Company.
“We are committed to working with you to create jobs and boost U.S. competitiveness, and we believe this can be best achieved by remaining in the Paris Agreement,” read the letter.
Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft were among the 24 companies who ran a similar letter as a full-page ad in the D.C. editions of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. This letter argued that the Paris Agreement helps America create jobs and reduces business risks related to global warming.
The Paris agreement is considered to be the world’s most comprehensive plan to fight climate change. Former President Barack Obama was a driving force behind negotiating the accord, which went into force in 2016.
The treaty is viewed by many government and corporate leaders as positive for businesses.
“If President Trump does pull out of the Paris climate agreement, I suspect he will be surprised how unpopular this decision will be with business,” said Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, chair of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission and former deputy U.N. secretary-general, said prior to Wednesday’s decision.
“This tilts things back in a way that is not just disruptive for business but potentially highly dangerous for all of us as citizens. Therefore he may be even more surprised to find how few take the chance to march backwards with him,” he continued.
The Trump administration’s move is yet another blow to Silicon Valley. The government has worked to limit and further dismantle the H-1B visa program, which companies like Facebook rely on to recruit foreign workers. The travel ban also spurred fierce opposition from tech giants.
Despite Trump inviting top tech leaders for a roundtable in December, he has done little to prove that he actually has the executives’ best interests for a more sustainable future in mind.