Carol J Clouse
Tuesday 10 January 2017
More than 600 businesses and investors signed and released a letter on Tuesday urging president-elect Donald Trump to fight climate change – a move that coincides with the start of the Senate hearings to confirm his cabinet nominees, who are poised to gut existing climate policies.
The letter contains signatures from roughly 200 more companies and investors than when it was initially submitted after the election in November, including Campbell Soup, Johnson & Johnson and the New York State Retirement Fund. The previous plea was signed by companies like Monsanto, eBay, Levi Strauss and Staples.
“We want the US economy to be energy efficient and powered by low-carbon energy ... Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk,” says the letter.
The letter urges Trump to continue policies that combat global warming, such as the Clean Power Plan created by the Obama administration to cut emissions from coal power plants. The letter also petitions Trump to invest in low-carbon energy at home and abroad and remain committed to the Paris agreement.
Since the letter was first released nearly three months ago, Trump has picked advisors and cabinet members who are largely hostile toward environmental regulations and have close ties to the fossil fuel industry.
For example, Trump nominated climate change denier Scott Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general and a driving force behind the lawsuit against the Clean Power Plan, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
The nominee for energy secretary, Rick Perry, was governor of Texas, the oil and wind energy capital of America. While he supported the expansion of the state’s wind energy development, he made climate change skepticism part of his platform during a failed bit for presidency in 2011. Perry also once said he wanted to eliminate the very department he’s now expected to lead.
Trump wants the outgoing ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, a decision that’s led some environmentalists to dub it “an epic mistake”.
While environmental groups are gearing up for an intense fight with the new government, evidence continues to emerge that points to the substantial business risks posed by rising global temperatures, such as dwindling supplies of raw materials and water.
Extreme heat, for example, is bad for the economy, causing crop failure and reduced worker productivity, according to a new study from Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley.