From the petroleum to the automotive industry, several US multinationals have expressed their disappointment after the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement and their determination to continue their efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.
Elon Musk did not wait a long time before judging on Twitter that President Trump’s decision was “not good for America or for the world.”
A few minutes after the presidential announcement, the billionaire entrepreneur very involved in solar energy took the opportunity to announce that he was leaving the group of business leaders who were advising the President.
The number one American automaker, General Motors, for its part, assured that its position on climate change “had not changed.” “We are publicly defending action and awareness on the climate,” a spokesman of the company said.
Jeff Immelt, CEO of industrial conglomerate General Electric, also expressed his displeasure on Twitter and urged the business community to take the lead in the fight for climate, to compensate for the authorities’ inaction.
“I am disappointed by the decision today on the Paris agreement, climate change is real, industry must now take the lead and no longer depend on the government,” he tweeted.
The Business Roundtable, which is a grouping of the biggest bosses in the United States, has refrained from criticizing Trump’s decision as frontally, but stressed that the consequences of climate change “are potentially serious and very broad”.
Even the major oil companies in the United States, which are said to have the most to lose from the energy transition, voiced their disapproval and supported the Paris agreement, which aims to contain global warming.
ExxonMobil, which has been contacted by AFP, continues to defend the agreement signed in 2015 by 195 countries, which is “a major step forward in meeting the global challenge of reducing emissions,” a spokesman of the companies told Journalists.
The number one in the US sector also considers this compromise to be “crucial” because it includes major emerging countries such as China and India, responding to Mr. Trump’s argument that this deal would initially be detrimental to United States.
Rival Chevron is on the same line and also supports an agreement that constitutes a “first step towards an international framework” of reducing emissions, assures to the AFP one of its spokesmen, Melissa Ritchie.
Not surprisingly, technological companies, traditionally very committed to the climate, also criticized Trump’s decision, saying it “sealed a setback for American leadership in the world,” according to information Technology Industry Center (ITI), which includes Apple, Ebay and Yahoo.
After the dispute over immigration, this new decision by the Republican president marks a new hitch in the honeymoon that was formed between Donald Trump and the business circles, seduced by the presidential promise of massive tax cuts and deregulation.
But it is not quite surprising. After years of holding back the negotiations on global warming, the big American companies slowly converted to the climate fight, looking for image as much as profitability.
The economic situation has radically changed. Large investors are turning away from fossil fuels and companies are pressing on all sides to adapt their growth model to a carbon-free world.
“Companies are more committed to the climate without taking into account the decision (from Mr. Trump) because it saves them money, reduces risks and especially because it opens up massive opportunities for them,” said Kevin Moss of the environmental organization World Resources Institute.