Corporate America puts pressure on Trump over climate stance

As Elon Musk issues Paris accord warning, even Big Oil thinks nixing the deal is a bad idea...

Tesla founder Elon Musk has confirmed he will cease to be an adviser to the Trump administration if the US President takes a decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement later today.

The tech billionaire had opted to continue holding his controversial place on a White House advisory council following the furore surrounding Trump's attempted immigration ban early into his presidency, but the prospect of the US severing ties with other major nations on climate change has proved to be a step too far.

Musk took to Twitter on Wednesday night to reveal he'd done everything in his power to keep the country in the 2016 accord, but was unsure which way Trump would come down at his White House rose garden press conference...

According to CNNMoney, as well as being one of 18 business leaders on Trump's business advisory council, he is also part of his manufacturing jobs initiative and has personally lobbied the president to increase infrastructure spending.

Musk came under fire in February for not stepping down from the council at that point. He posted his explanation for remaining in the position online:

Meanwhile, shareholders in Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest oil and gas exploration company, have backed a call for the company to publish an annual assessment of the impact of climate policies on its business activities.

The proposal, submitted by the New York State Pension Fund and the Commissioners of the Church of England, won the support of 62% of Exxon’s investors at its AGM in Dallas, Texas yesterday evening.

Picture by: Mark Humphrey/AP/Press Association Images

While they did so in opposition to advice from the group’s board, Exxon is not necessarily wearing a black hat in this regard.

The board had only opposed the motion on the basis that it’s already providing sufficient information to shareholders about evolving climate policies on the company’s activities.

Indeed, chief executive Darren Woods has personally written to Trump urging him to keep the US in the Paris Agreement.

FT reported last week that Woods made the case that the US was “well positioned to compete” within the agreement, thanks to its “abundant low-carbon resources such as natural gas” and “innovative private industries including the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors”.

Big Tech, including leading US companies Apple, Facebook, Google, Intel and Microsoft, has even gone as part as taking advertisements directly addressing Trump out in Thursday's newspapers Stateside.

In an open letter, the firms make the case that the agreement generates jobs and economic growth by expanding the markets for environmentally-friendly technologies.

Stephen Harper, Intel's global director of environment and energy policy at Intel, said:

“We operate in a global economy, and if we’re not part of the global agreement on climate we are susceptible to retaliation through border taxes and other [measures].”