WASHINGTON: Tesla founder Elon Musk on Thursday confirmed he would quit White House business panels in reaction to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
“Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Musk wrote on Twitter shortly after Trump’s announcement.
Musk had vowed Wednesday to quit the business panels if Trump made good on a pledge to scrap the agreements.
He was joined on Thursday by other tech and industrial sector representatives who expressed frustration with the White House’s decision and pledged to continue working to combat global warming.
“Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement,” Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, also wrote on Twitter. “Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”
The Information Technology Industry Council was equally scathing.
“This is clearly disappointing, and a setback for America’s leadership in the world,” ITI President Dean Garfield said in a statement.
“Despite this, the tech industry’s determination to innovate and problem-solve for the threats posed by climate change and generate clean energy opportunities that create jobs and grow our economy remains unchanged.”
Oil supermajors ExxonMobil and Chevron reiterated their support for the endangered agreement while automaker General Motors said the White House’s decision would not lessen its resolve on the climate.
“GM will not waver from our commitment to the environment and our position on climate change has not changed,” the company said in a statement.
“International agreements aside, we remain committed to creating a better environment.”
Chevron spokeswoman Melissa Ritchie said her company “supports continuing with the Paris Agreement as it offers a first step towards a global framework.
The accord aligns with the company’s own policy on carbon emissions, she said.
An Exxon representative said the 2015 accord was “critical” given the rising emissions from India and China.
“It’s the first major international accord to address climate change that includes emissions reduction pledges from both developed and developing economies,” the company told AFP.
“We believe that the United States is well positioned to compete within the framework of the Paris agreement.”