US President Donald Trump said withdrawing the country from the Paris climate accord would stave off an economic crisis and protect American jobs – but many American companies seemed to disagree.
Criticism of his decision rolled in from blue-chip companies like Facebook, Apple, Ford and Microsoft, while the response from fossil fuel groups with the most to gain from a relaxation of US carbon emissions standards was muted.
Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk and Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger said they would leave White House advisory councils over Trump’s decision.
President of the World Coal Association, Benjamin Sporton, said he had mixed feelings about Trump’s announcement, adding he was eager to see a US policy that actively promotes a place for coal in the global energy mix.
“What we really need to see, if the president wants to re-enter the deal, is that he can change the agreement to recognise the role of all sources of energy, including coal,” Sporton said.
The American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s biggest trade group, meanwhile, issued a statement saying it had never taken an official position on the Paris accord.
A number of its members, including Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips, had publicly supported the deal.
Some other groups expressed measured support for Trump’s decision, saying it provided an opportunity to fix problems with the deal.
“Manufacturers support the spirit of the Paris Agreement and the effort to address climate change through a fair international agreement. But as the president has acknowledged, certain elements of this deal were not equitable for US manufacturers,” said Ross Eisenberg, vice president for energy and resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.
Trump vowed during his campaign to pull the US out of the Paris deal, arguing the pact would cost the country trillions of dollars, kill jobs, and stymie economic growth without providing tangible benefit.
His critics have argued, however, that the risks of climate change require action, and that a shift to a low-carbon energy economy can create more jobs than it eliminates.