A group of Fortune 500 companies is urging President Donald Trump to stay in the Paris climate agreement.
Last month, two dozen companies – including Apple, Google, Intel, and Facebook – signed an open letter to the president, asking him to maintain American commitments in the Paris Agreement. The letter – which was published in the New York Times – reads:
“As businesses concerned with the well-being of our customers, our investors, our communities, and our suppliers, we are strengthening our climate resilience, and we are investing in innovative technologies that can help achieve a clean energy transition. For this transition to succeed, however, governments must lead as well.”
The Paris Agreement was negotiated by 195 countries in 2015 and ratified last year. The agreement is the most ambitious international agreement on climate change to date, and obligates UN member states to reduce their carbon emissions in a series of progressively steeper cuts over time.
But even major polluters like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Royal Dutch Shell are now encouraging American compliance with the Paris Agreement. While they could take advantage of the present political environment to roll back regulations on the fossil fuel industry even further, they likely see the Paris Agreement as the best deal they’re going to get. The agreement is relatively friendly toward natural gas, which has a lower carbon footprint than either oil or coal.
Aron Cramer, head of policy for the corporate climate advocacy organization We Mean Business, said:
“The sad fact is that the Trump administration is isolating itself from the mainstream. It’s isolating itself from the national security community. It’s isolating itself from the business community. It’s isolating itself from investors, and it’s isolating itself from scientific consensus.”
While Trump cannot cancel the UN-brokered deal, there are a number of things he could do to undermine it. He could pull America out of the agreement, though the process would probably take about three years.
He could also simply ignore the agreement and replace current U.S. regulations with more permissive ones. Indeed, he has already revoked or demanded a review of some of America’s most important environmental measures.
Finally, he might choose to reduce America’s contribution to foreign climate assistance programs or put pressure on India or China to adopt deeper cuts to their own emissions reductions.
Many of Trump’s advisors, too, are now urging him to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement. Exiting the deal, they worry, could cause a diplomatic backlash and weaken America’s credibility on the world stage.
The White House has said it will issue a statement regarding its decision on the agreement following this month’s G7 Summit.
Featured image via YouTube video.