American big business revolts from U.S. Paris deal withdrawal

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-05 03:47:30|Editor: yan
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U.S. PresidentDonald Trumpdelivers a speech at the White House in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, on June 1, 2017. U.S. PresidentDonald Trumpsaid on Thursday that he has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, a landmark global pact to fight climate change. (Xinhua/Mike Theiler)

By Peter Mertz

DENVER, the United States, June 4 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement of withdrawal from the Paris Accord has caused a firestorm at home and led to big companies' revolt, analysts said.

"It goes against smart, profitable economics, smart international policy, against American global leadership, and against ethical and moral stewardship of our planet," said Washington, D.C. political insider David B. Richardson, an attorney who worked on Capitol Hill in the 1980s.

The withdrawal from the world's pre-eminent climate control agreement - signed in Paris in 2015 by 197 countries - met with widespread and growing disdain from American businesses.

Leaving the Paris agreement "has no benefit other than pandering to the conservative movement's ideological opposition to multilateralism and environmental regulation," wrote Ben Adler Saturday in a Washington Post article.

America's 45th president narrowly won the 2016 election with a pro-business "Make America Strong" theme.

But when he ignored even conservative, pro-fossil fuel burning oil giants ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, who supported the Paris Agreement, he walked into a minefield, political pundits told Xinhua.

Since the president's announcement of withdrawal Thursday, a number of famous American business jumped away from offering support to his decision.

On Friday, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank wrote in the Baltimore Sun, "I disagree with the decision to exit the Paris Accord."

"Sustainability has always been part of our DNA: it's integral to how we live and work and is essential to our environment," Plank wrote.

Ironically, Plank praised Trump's pro-business approach in February, words that were criticized by other business leaders.

On Thursday, it was Elon Musk of Tesla and Disney CEO Bob Iger who stepped down from Trump's business advisory councils to protest the decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal.

"Protecting our planet and driving economic growth are critical to our future, and they aren't mutually exclusive," Iger said on Twitter.

"I deeply disagree with the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement," he added.

Musk, 45, whose net worth is 15.2 billion U.S. dollars, has founded and co-founded companies such as SpaceX, Tesla, OpenAI, Neuralink, and SolarCity.

"Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," said Musk, in an announcement Thursday he would leave Trump's council.

Trump created the business advisory group last December before taking office. It last met in February, and includes American business heavyweights Blackstone Group, PepsiCo, JPMorgan, and Chase & Co.

Several members of this 17-member council stepped down or resigned due to controversial Trump policies, but since the Paris announcement they are leaving in droves.

In addition, CEO Tim Cook of Apple, Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical Co., and Travis Kalanick of Uber Technologies Inc. jumped ship in the past few days.

On Thursday, other business giants such as Salesforce, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used social media to express their disappointment.

Even those who announced to continue to serve on Trump's council, such as BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Larry Fink also expressed different opinions.

In a statement, Fink said he disagreed with the decision to leave the Paris Agreement calling it "a critical step forward in addressing climate change."

Fink's company is the world's largest asset manager with 5.4 trillion U.S. Dollars under management.

"I am a strong believer that our industry needs to have a voice with governments around the world," he said.

Automobile giant General Motors announced Thursday it would stay on the president's forum, but Ford said in a statement Thursday, "climate change is real."

"We remain deeply committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our vehicles and our facilities," Ford said in a statement.

The No. 2 U.S. car maker declined to say if it would stay on the president's council.