Thursday, June 01, 2017

These titans of industry just broke with Trump’s decision to exit the Paris accords

By Steven Mufson June 1, 2017

Thirty states and scores of companies said Thursday that they would press ahead with their climate policies and pursue lower greenhouse gas emissions, breaking sharply with President Trump’s decision to exit the historic Paris climate accord.


Meanwhile, more than two dozen big companies — including Apple, Morgan Stanley, and Royal Dutch Shell — urged Trump not to exit the Paris agreement on Thursday.


Across the nation and the economy, renewable energy technologies have taken root and have gathered momentum of their own while creating thousands of new jobs, state and corporate officials said. And the pressure on executives of companies to address the issue have grown greater as major financial firms for the first time press the issue.

The Trump administration’s decision to exit the landmark climate agreement will damage America’s international standing on climate issues and make it nearly impossible for the world to reach internationally agreed goals of limiting global warming, officials said.

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, and Robert Iger, chief executive of Disney, both resigned from the president’s advisory council after the announcement. Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, tweeted that Trump’s decision “is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.’s leadership position in the world.”

But the action comes well after many corporate board rooms and state capitols had adopted climate change as a given, officials and executives said.


While Trump has cited his concern about coal jobs in withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, Cuomo said his latest energy initiative combined with earlier measures would create 40,000 jobs by 2020 — nearly twice the current number of mining and logging jobs in the state of West Virginia, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


About 30 states have adopted mandates for utilities to increase their use of renewable energy, standards that will not change with Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord or his effort to nullify the Clean Power Plan.


Trump’s announcement coincides with signs that climate concerns are growing stronger in the financial community. A resolution instructing corporate managements to do the climate equivalent of a stress test — describing in detail the effects of government policies designed to limit global warming to 2 degrees centigrade — has been adopted at Occidental Petroleum, the utility PPL, and ExxonMobil over the protests of management. Major financial advisory firms Vanguard, BlackRock and State Street bucked tradition and backed the resolutions.


On Thursday, 25 major companies took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times with a letter addressed to Trump. The companies — including Google, Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Mars, Schneider Electric, Morgan Stanley, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts — urged Trump to stay in the Paris accord.

“As businesses concerned with the well-being of our customers, our investors, our communities and our suppliers, we are strengthening our climate resilience,” the letter said, “and we are investing in innovative technologies that can help achieve a clean energy transition.” But it said that government and U.S. leadership was essential too.

Separately, Royal Dutch Shell said in a statement that it had shared with the Trump administration “our strong support for the U.S. remaining in the agreement.” It added, “for our part, we will continue to take internal actions and convene important conversations that acknowledge our role in providing more and cleaner energy.”


Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein Blasts Trump's Decision to Withdraw from Paris Climate Accord in His First Tweet Ever
By Josh Saul On 6/1/17

In his first tweet ever, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs slammed President Donald Trump on Thursday for his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

“Today's decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement,” Lloyd Blankfein wrote, in a tweet that garnered over 2,500 retweets within two hours.


A Goldman Sachs spokesman reportedly confirmed the Twitter handle, @lloydblankfein, belongs to the Goldman Sachs chief and he had sent it out.

Blankfein joined dozens of states and companies on Thursday trying to lower greenhouse gas emissions, according to The Washington Post.


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