Elon Musk, business execs urge Trump to keep U.S. climate promises
Tesla CEO Elon Musk joined dozens of industry executives in signing an open letter asking President Donald Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement on climate change and protect U.S. trade.
The executives and companies are raising their voices at a critical policy juncture as the administration considers withdrawing from the accord.
Musk has been criticized for serving on two business advisory panels for Trump, but maintains he has brought otherwise overlooked positions on immigration and climate into the White House discussions.
The letter was published Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, PG&E CEO Geisha Williams and executives from Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Bank of America and DuPont were among the 30 executives signing the advertisement.
“Based on our experience doing business all over the world, we believe there is strong potential for negative trade implications if the United States exits from the Paris Agreement,” the executives wrote.
The letter said that staying in the climate change agreement — an international pact to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions — gives U.S. companies and their technology a competitive advantage in global markets. The letter also highlighted job growth in the renewable energy industry, including manufacturing and tech employment.
A similar, unrelated advertisement endorsed by Apple, Facebook, Salesforce, PG&E, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Adobe, Levi Strauss and other multinational companies was printed this week in Trump’s hometown papers — the Journal, The New York Times and New York Post.
The ad was sponsored by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a non-partisan policy institute based in Virginia. The companies represent a cross-section of tech, manufacturing banking and service industry interests, and have a combined market capitalization of more than $3.2 trillion.
Bob Perciasepe, president of the policy center, said company representatives have discussed the issue with the Trump administration, but also wanted to make a public statement in support of the climate agreement.
Tech companies, in particular, want to preserve free trade, avoid foreign sanctions for breaking the pact and also grow business in the clean energy market.
“Technology is part of the solution,” Perciasepe said.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt last month called for an exit from the landmark agreement, saying it was a “bad deal.” But Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said this week the president will wait until after a Group of Seven summit later this month to decide whether to withdraw.
A “Dump Trump” campaign to pressure Musk to renounce the president for his climate policies was launched last month by Bay Area tech investor Doug Derwin. The effort, which also included local and national advertising, has gained nearly 20,000 signatures online.
Derwin said he was encouraged that Musk was taking a public stand with other executives on the climate change agreement. Some Musk supporters have been disappointed that the Tesla CEO, a leader in the clean tech industry, has not stepped forward to criticize proposed cuts to the EPA and other environmental programs.