Top CEOs Are In a Last Ditch Bid to Persuade Trump to Stick with the Paris Climate Deal

Jun 01, 2017

Major U.S. corporations and leading business figures are raising an eleventh-hour appeal to President Donald Trump, urging him to not pull the country out of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

Following Tesla (tsla) CEO Elon Musk's suggestion that he would quit his positions on several White House advisory councils if Trump's decision is to exit the deal, as has been widely reported, other firms and business leaders have also come out in favor of the pact.

Oil giants ExxonMobil (xom) and ConocoPhillips (cop) were among companies that reiterated their support for the accord ahead of Trump's announcement, reports Bloomberg.

"Energy needs are a function of population and living standards," Exxon CEO Darren Woods said at the company's annual investor meeting in Dallas Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. Woods' position in favor of staying in the deal is the same as his predecessor, current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"When it comes to policy, the goal should be to reduce emissions at the lowest cost to society," Woods said, adding that demand for oil will keep growing even with the climate deal in place.

ConocoPhillips thinks that being part of the Paris Agreement allows the U.S. to continue having a role in shaping efforts to reduce carbon emissions. "It gives the U.S. the ability to participate in future climate discussions to safeguard its economic and environmental best interests," company spokesman Daren Beaudo told Bloomberg in an email.

It's also reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook called the White House Tuesday to argue the case in favor of staying, while Dow Chemical's Andrew Liveris backed an open letter by more than 30 top corporate executives. And a TV commercial urging the administration to stay and renegotiate the agreement's terms featured the names of CEOs like Musk, JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon and General Electric's Jeff Immelt.

Laurene Powell Jobs, founder of advocacy group Emerson Collective and widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, told an audience late Wednesday at the Code Conference in Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif. that a U.S. departure from the climate deal would be a "colossal mistake."

The last-minute scramble comes as Trump tweeted late Wednesday that he would announce his final decision on the climate pact Thursday afternoon in the White House Rose Garden, following initial reports that a decision to leave would be announced.

Salesforce CEOMarc Benioff tweeted Wednesday an image of an earlier joint open letter from over 20 top companies based in the U.S. or having business stateside, in which they made a business case that the U.S. should remain a part of the accord.

"Continued U.S. participation in the agreement benefits U.S. businesses and the U.S. economy in many ways," the companies argue. "As other countries invest in advance technologies and move forward with the Paris Agreement, we believe the United States can best exercise global leadership in advance U.S. interest by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort."

Apple (aapl), Google (googl) and Facebook (fb) are all signatories, as are other major Silicon Valley players like Microsoft (msft), Adobe (adbe), Salesforce (crm), Intel (intc) and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (hpe). They are joined by the likes of Gap (gps), Morgan Stanley (ms) and Unilever (ul).

Corporate America has previously voiced opposition to other Trump policies like the travel ban and changes to the H-1B foreign worker visa, with Google's Eric Schmidt calling the latter America's "stupidest policy."

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