Issue Report ● Energy and the Environment
For Immediate Release: 
June 7, 2017
Contact Info: 

Mariel Saez 202-225-3130

Last week, President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accords, an international agreement signed by nearly 200 countries to combat the effects of climate change. The response from business leaders was swift and universal—withdrawing from the agreement makes the United States less competitive, puts jobs at risk, and hurts our economy. Already, we are seeing countries like China ready to seize on the opportunity to compete with the U.S. for clean energy jobs:

China is capitalizing on the leadership vacuum left after President Trump said last week that he would pull the United States out of the Paris accord to limit climate change… China has already started an expensive campaign at home and abroad to solidify its considerable hold on solar, wind and other energy-saving businesses. If successful, China would win the economic and diplomatic spoils that the United States and some European countries have long enjoyed from dominating businesses like software, computer chips and airplanes.” [New York Times, 6/5/17]

Since President Trump announced his decision, organizations representing businesses and investors have spoken out against the decision:

“We Are Still In” coalition, which includes 902 businesses and investors: “A grand total of 1,219 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities from across the U.S. or with significant operations in the U.S., representing the broadest cross section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action, today declared their intent to continue to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions… By declaring that ‘we are still in,’ the signatories are putting the best interests of their constituents, customers, students and communities first while assuring the rest of the world that American leadership on climate change extends well beyond the federal government.” [Press Release, 6/5/17]

American Sustainable Business Council CEO David Levine: “The value of Paris to businesses is the clear market signal that the future is in lower carbon, rather than a chaotic and unsustainable future of business disruptions from rising seas and changing weather patterns… Even U.S. presidents cannot turn back the clock on history.” [CBS, 6/2/17]

Companies have also individually released statements denouncing the decision and reinforcing their commitment to addressing climate change: 

Space X CEO Elon Musk: “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.” [Twitter, 6/1/17]

Ford Motors: “[Ford believes] climate change is real, and remains deeply committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our vehicles and our facilities. Our commitment to sustainability is why we're investing so heavily in electrification and adding 13 new electrified vehicles to our lineup.” [CNBC, 6/1/17]

Disney CEO Robert Iger: “As a matter of principle, I’ve resigned from the President’s Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawal.” [Twitter, 6/1/17]

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt: “Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.” [Twitter, 6/1/17]

Dow Chemical Chairman and CEO, Andrew Liveris: “[With] all the trends going on in the world generationally, we've got to invest in putting less carbon out into the atmosphere, and I think the United States is at the lead. So leaders don't leave tables, leaders stay. And that's the part that I'm disappointed at.” [CNBC, 6/2/17]

Cargill Chairman and CEO David MacLennan: “It is extremely disappointing. Exiting international accords like the Paris Agreement will negatively impact trade, economic vitality, the state of our environment, and relationships amongst the world community. And it positions the U.S. as an outlier on this important issue… It would have resulted in U.S. economic growth and job creation.” [Statement, 6/1/17]

General Mills: “General Mills said it was ‘disappointed’ by the withdrawal and remained committed to ‘addressing challenges related to climate change.’” [Buzzfeed News, 6/6/17]

Shell Oil Company: “Our support for the #ParisAgreement is well known. We will continue to do our part providing more & cleaner energy.” [Twitter, 6/1/17]

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: “Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children’s future at risk. For our part, we've committed that every new data center we build will be powered by 100% renewable energy. Stopping climate change is something we can only do as a global community, and we have to act together before it's too late.” [Facebook, 6/1/17]

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey: “This is an incredibly shortsighted move backwards by the federal government. We're all on this planet together and we need to work together.” [Twitter, 6/1/17]

Google CEO Sundar Pichai: “Disappointed with today’s decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all.” [Twitter, 6/1/17]

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein: In his first tweet ever, he wrote: “Today's decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement” [Twitter, 6/1/17]

Microsoft President Brad Smith: “We believe that continued U.S. participation benefits U.S. businesses and the economy in important and multiple ways. A global framework strengthens competitiveness for American businesses.” [Statement, 6/1/17]

Apple CEO Tim Cook: “…I want to reassure you that today’s developments will have no impact on Apple’s efforts to protect the environment. We power nearly all of our operations with renewable energy, which we believe is an example of something that’s good for our planet and makes good business sense as well.” [Letter to Employees, 6/1/17]

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: “We are disappointed by the Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, as climate change continues to threaten our planet and global communities. As powerful platforms for change, businesses must step up to protect the planet for future generations…” [Statement, 6/1/17]

PepsiCo: “PepsiCo — parent company of brands that include Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Frito-Lay — said it was ‘disappointed’ by Trump’s announcement, but ‘we hope there is a way for the accord to move forward with the U.S. at the table.’” [New York Daily News, 6/1/17]

Amazon: “Amazon continues to support the Paris climate agreement and action on climate change. We believe that robust clean energy and climate policies can support American competitiveness, innovation, and job growth.” [Tweets, 6/1/17]

Uber’s Head of Transportation Policy and Research Andrew Salzberg: “Today’s announcement from President Trump that the United States will not honor the agreement is a huge disappointment. Addressing rising temperatures is vital to ensuring the continued health and prosperity of populations across the globe.” [Medium Post, 6/1/17]

Mars Vice President for Corporate Affairs Andy Pharoah,: “Our reaction is that this climate change is a real threat to the world. The science is clear. Human activity is causing a problem. And the Paris Agreement is a good agreement. We're sticking by it. Many other businesses are sticking by it, and governments throughout the world are sticking by it. It's an important issue that we need to take action on.” [NPR, 6/1/17]

HP: “Climate change is one of the most significant and urgent issues facing business and society today. The science is clear, the impacts are serious and the need to act is essential. At HP we see this not only as our responsibility, but vital to the longevity of our business.” [Statement, 6/1/17]

Intel: “Climate change is a real issue and we firmly believe that the US should continue to participate in the Paris Climate Accord. Withdrawal won’t change our investment in renewable energy, and we will continue to advocate for the US to engage.” [Statement, 6/1/17]

National Grid: “A clean energy transition is good for our customers and the economy, and the right thing to do. That’s why National Grid remains committed to addressing climate change head on and will continue to support our customers and communities to reduce harmful emissions and better prepare our economy for the future.” [Statement, 6/1/17]

IBM: “Climate change is an international problem that requires an international solution, and we believe it is important for the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions….IBM believes that it is easier to lead outcomes by being at the table, as a participant in the agreement, rather than from outside it.” [Statement, 6/1/17]

Exxon Mobil: “[CEO Darren] Woods has been a staunch advocate for keeping the U.S. in the Paris group, as was his predecessor Rex Tillerson, who is now Trump’s secretary of state. In his first blog post after becoming CEO, Woods advocated low-emission fuels, carbon capture and biofuels as tools for meeting the goals of the Paris agreement. On Wednesday, Woods said he remains committed to the Paris pact’s goals and methods.” [Bloomberg, 5/31/17]

ConocoPhillips: “ConocoPhillips, the world’s largest independent oil and gas producer, also expressed support for the climate agreement on Wednesday. ‘It gives the U.S. the ability to participate in future climate discussions to safeguard its economic and environmental best interests.’” [Bloomberg, 5/31/17]

For months leading up to the decision, business leaders were unified in asking President Trump to remain in the Paris Agreement:

In May and June, a full page letter signed by major companies such as Gap, Inc, The Hartford, Johnson Controls, Morgan Stanley, and Unilever ran in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and New York Post. They wrote that the Paris Agreement benefits U.S. businesses and the economy by strengthening competitiveness; creating jobs, markets and growths; and recusing business risks. The letter also stated: “… As other countries invest in advanced technologies and move forward with the Paris Agreement, we believe the United States can best exercise global leadership and advance U.S. interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort.” [Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, 6/1/17]

In an April 2017 letter to President Trump, a broad range of companies, including mining companies BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, and oil and gas companies such as BP and Shell, signed a letter to Trump, which said: “Climate change presents U.S. companies with both business risks and business opportunities. U.S. business interests are best served by a stable and practical framework facilitating an effective and balanced global response. We believe the Paris Agreement provides such a framework.” [Letter to President Trump, 4/26/17]

The message from America’s business community is clear: climate change is an urgent threat and abdicating a leading role in this agreement will hurt both the American economy and our standing in the international economic community. 

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