SAN FRANCISCO — Businesses and corporate leaders were quick to react to President Trump’s decision Thursday to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk made good on his threat to leave Trump’s CEO-stacked economic council, which he had promised to do if the president turned his back on the consortium of nations that signed the pact pledging them to fight climate change. Trump argued that taxes and other measures imposed by such a group would hamper U.S. economic growth.
Musk tweeted that “climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”
Musk, whose companies not only make rockets and fancy electric cars but also are pushing hard into solar-produced electricity, had previously defended his decision to be a part of Trump’s advisory group, arguing that having the president’s ear was better than having no influence at all.
Later in the day, Disney CEO Robert Iger resigned from the president’s council.
Other reactions that expressed disappointment with the president’s decision include those from:
•Apple. The company with the largest market value in the U.S. has repeatedly clashed with Trump on his policies, and late Thursday CEO Tim Cook issued a stinging email to employees, as reported by news site Axios. “Climate change is real and we all share a responsibility to fight it,” Cook wrote. “I want to reassure you that today’s developments will have no impact on Apple’s efforts to protect the environment.”
•Facebook. In a post on the social networking site, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “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.”
•Twitter. Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter, used Trump’s favorite method of communication to take him to task. ”This is an incredibly shortsighted move backwards by the federal government. We’re all on this planet together and we need to work together,” Dorsey tweeted.
•General Motors. GM said it is sticking by a previous assertion that combating climate change is good for business. The company said its Chevrolet Bolt electric car, the only long-range mass-market electric vehicle in the U.S., is an example of its commitment to zero-emission solutions.
“GM will not waver from our commitment to the environment and our position on climate change has not changed,” General Motors said in a statement following the president’s announcement. “International agreements aside, we remain committed to creating a better environment.”
•Google. CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted he was “disappointed with today’s decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all.”
The computing giant, a carbon-neutral company since 2007, is on track this year to reach its goal of 100% renewable energy for global operations.
•Salesforce. Marc Benioff, CEO of the company that makes customer relationship management software, tweeted that he was “deeply disappointed by President’s decision to withdraw from ParisAgreement. We will double our efforts to fight climate change.”
Benioff included a photo of Salesforce’s official response, which notes that his company is pushing to achieve carbon-neutral cloud storage status while running 100% on renewable energy.
•IBM. The computing giant posted a message on its website “reaffirming its support” for the Paris agreement.
“IBM has been one of industry’s earliest — and unambiguous — leaders on the subject of climate change with a commitment that goes back decades. Ten years ago, we declared that climate change was one of the most critical global environmental challenges facing the planet,” the statement reads.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is on the presidential economic advisory council that Musk has just left.
•Microsoft. CEO Satya Nadella tweeted: “We believe climate change is an urgent issue that demands global action. We remain committed to doing our part.”
Nadella linked to his company’s official statement on the decision to exit the Paris agreement. It noted that Microsoft had for weeks, and along with other big companies, lobbied President Trump on the matter, urging him to keep the U.S. in the agreement.
“We believe that continued U.S. participation benefits U.S. businesses and the economy in important and multiple ways,” wrote Microsoft President Brad Smith. “A global framework strengthens competitiveness for American businesses. It creates new markets for innovative clean technologies, from green power to smart grids to cloud-enabled solutions.”
•Uber. The ride-hailing service pointed to the importance of reducing global carbon emissions for the good of the environment — and business.
“At Uber, we also believe that fighting climate change opens up new opportunities for American innovation and ingenuity to tackle the world’s biggest problems,” Andrew Salzberg, head of transportation policy and research, said in a blog post on the site Medium.
Follow USA TODAY tech reporter Marco della Cava on Twitter.
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