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Elon Musk Quits Trump’s Councils in Protest

Elon Musk and many top CEOs condemned President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Elon Musk speaks at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress January 13, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

President Trump announcement that the U.S. is going to pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change has prompted a strong backlash from business leaders. Many have urged Trump to stay in the environmental pact, like the other 194 nations that signed it, and are now expressing their disappointment. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and Neuralink, has previously warned that he would have to leave the President’s councils if Trump pulled out of the Paris accord. And now that he did, Musk is out.

“Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” said Musk in his tweet.

Musk was part of an economic advisory board Strategic and Policy Forum and the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. He has taken flak previously for seemingly legitimizing Trump’s ideas by serving in such a capacity, a decision Musk defended by saying he used the access to the President in order to influence him not to leave the Paris Agreement and to institute a carbon tax to fight emissions.

Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017

Other business titans also expressed their strong disapproval of Trump’s actions, which is now reported to be based in part on misinterpreting data from MIT scientists. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger also quit the President’s councils in protest over the decision, saying it’s a “matter of principle”.

As a matter of principle, I've resigned from the President's Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawal.

— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) June 1, 2017

For his part, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, wrote that “Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children's future at risk.”

U.S. joins Nicaragua and Syria as the only nations who are not abiding by the Paris Agreement, with Nicaragua actually not in it because of advocating for even stronger measuresThe climate deal was designed to prevent the planet from warming more than 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels. Trump claims that he will try to renegotiate the agreement to favor American interests, but the accord cannot be renegotiated and it’s hard to see this decision as anything more than a play toward’s Trump diminishing base.

Disappointment was also expressed by Jeff Immelt, the chairman and CEO of General Electric, who reaffirmed that “climate change is real,” adding that “industry must now lead and not depend on government.”

Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.

— Jeff Immelt (@JeffImmelt) June 1, 2017

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella and President Brad Smith also chimed in, with Smith saying “we’re disappointed with the decision to exit the Paris Agreement”. Both men committed Microsoft to “doing our part” regardless.

We’re disappointed with the decision to exit the Paris Agreement. Microsoft remains committed to doing our part to achieve its goals.

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— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) June 1, 2017

The President’s reasoning that the deal is bad for America’s economy and will not help with climate change did not sit well with other CEOs like Sundar Pichai of Google, Aaron Levie of Box, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, and Brent Saunders of Allergen, who’ve all tweeted about their disapproval.

Disappointed with today’s decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all.

— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) June 1, 2017

Even the CEO of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein, a man not known to tweet, expressed his view that Trump’s decision is a “setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world.”

Today's decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement

— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) June 1, 2017


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