Yesterday, Donald Trump decided that the US should join Nicaragua and Syria as the only nations not part of the Paris agreement. The move has led to messages from a number of tech CEOs, who have expressed their disappointment at the move.
“We are getting out,” Trump said. “But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine."
Unlike Nicaragua, which believes the accord doesn’t do enough to protect the environment, and Syria, whose government struggles to take part because of sanctions, Trump's reason for withdrawing from the agreement is to “protect America and its citizens.” He says it's "very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States," and would impose "draconian financial and economic burdens."
As reported yesterday, the decision has led to Elon Musk leaving the presidential councils. Not long after Trump finished his speech, the Tesla boss tweeted: “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.” He was joined by Disney CEO Robert Iger, who also resigned from the council “as a matter of principle.” IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, however, will remain on Trump’s business advisory council.
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017
Other leaders from the tech world also took to Twitter opposing the move. Apple CEO Tim Cook, who spoke to Trump on Tuesday to try and convince him to remain, wrote: “Decision to withdraw from the #ParisAgreeement was wrong for our planet. Apple is committed to fight climate change and we will never waver.”
Decision to withdraw from the #ParisAgreeement was wrong for our planet. Apple is committed to fight climate change and we will never waver.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) June 2, 2017
Cook also sent an internal note to his employees. “Climate change is real and we all share a responsibility to fight it. I want to reassure you that today’s developments will have no impact on Apple’s efforts to protect the environment,” it read. “Our mission has always been to leave the world better than we found it. We will never waver, because we know that future generations depend on us.”
25 firms including Microsoft, Intel, Apple, and Google, took out a last-minute full-page ad in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal yesterday, promoting the benefits of the agreement.
Dear President Trump, as some of the largest companies in the US, we strongly urge you to keep the US in the Paris Agreement. pic.twitter.com/ztSXyYtRrm— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) June 1, 2017
Twitter boss Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and many more used social media to attack the President’s decision.
Disappointed with today’s decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all.— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) June 1, 2017
This is an incredibly shortsighted move backwards by the federal government. We're all on this planet together and we need to work together. https://t.co/tLEdtG0n1o— jack (@jack) June 1, 2017
The last time CEOs rallied against Trump like this was after he introduced the immigration ban. With people now leaving his councils, and virtually every company condemning the withdrawal, the relationship between the President and the tech industry has hit a low point. It will, however, take years to fully exit the pact; November 4, 2020 – the day after the next presidential election – to be exact