Corporate America has delivered an unequivocal message to President Trump: Don’t leave Paris.
Over the past few weeks corporate chieftains from across the economy have lobbied the president through phone calls, open letters, newspaper ads, and his preferred medium of Twitter to convince the president that human-triggered climate change is real and that the 2015 Paris agreement, ratified by 195 countries, is our best chance to limit it.
Multinationals like Google and 3M were deeply involved in the 2015 Paris talks; they picked up a fifth of the $200 million cost of staging the weekslong discussions. Over 1,100 corporations have gone on the record to support staying in the Paris agreement, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, including the biggest manufacturers in the U.S. Two entities are on the record opposing it: Murray Energy and most members of the National Mining Association.
The reason corporate America is skittish about withdrawing from the Paris agreement is, in part, because all but two countries (Syria and Nicaragua) declined to sign it, and the U.S. is expected to play a critical role in implementing the deal, as well as providing leadership in renewable forms of energy. Leaving the deal could leave energy leadership to the EU and China, which remain enthusiastically committed.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, serves on two advisory councils to the President, and he said Wednesday that he would resign his positions if the Trump administration pulls out of the agreement.
Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly spoke to Trump over the phone about the adverse consequences of withdrawing from Paris, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff tweeted a letter signed by Morgan Stanley, Adobe, Google, and 22 other major American corporations.
Even Big Oil is pro-Paris. ExxonMobile, Shell, and Chevron support staying in the Paris agreement because it prioritizes eliminating oil and coal emissions over natural gas. Although these firms make big money from oil, they have significant holdings in natural gas and see it as a bigger, long-term growth market.
Aside from candidate Trump promising repeatedly to quit the Paris agreement during the 2016 campaign, he’s under pressure to do so from the Republican base and members of Congress. One possible outcome that’s been floated in Republican circles is for Trump to punt the question of withdrawing from Paris to the GOP-controlled Senate, which would almost certainly vote to quit the agreement.
Trump is set to announce his final decision on Paris at a news conference in the White House Rose Garden at 3 p.m. ET Thursday.