President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris climate accord added to the growing discord between the new administration and the technology sector.
Trump’s move dismayed prominent tech giants and groups, many of which are headquartered in areas of the country known to be environmentally-conscious and impacted by rising sea levels and ocean weather patterns associated with climate change, such as California and Washington state.
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc. and SpaceX tweeted June 1 he will withdraw from the president’s business advisory council. Alphabet Inc.’s Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple Inc.’s CEO Tim Cook also tweeted their disappointment in Trump’s decision and doubled down on company commitments to combat climate change.
Tech trade group ITI, which represents companies like Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc., said it had joined over 1,000 companies, investors and organizations backing low-carbon emissions and supporting the Paris accord. Earlier this year ITI released data illustrating the multiplier effects of clean energy job creation.
“The tech industry’s determination to innovate and problem-solve for the threats posed by climate change and generate clean energy opportunities that create jobs and grow our economy remains unchanged,” ITI President and CEO Dean Garfield said in a statement.
Facebook Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. added to the swell of reaction to the announcement with online posts by the social media giant’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the ride sharing app’s transportation policy and research head Andrew Salzberg decrying the move.
Trump has struggled to build support from the tech industry outside of his advisor Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist and co-founder of PayPal Holdings Inc. The president’s executive orders cracking down on high-skilled immigration and attempting to ban travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries has spurred letters and amicus briefs from hundreds of tech companies and startups.
The 2015 climate agreement signed by almost 200 countries is a voluntary effort to curb rising global temperatures that have been blamed for extreme weather and rising sea levels. Former President Barack Obama had pledged to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by more than a quarter by 2025 from their 2005 levels.
Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accord saying it would harm American economic and job growth by creating obstacles to tapping U.S. energy reserves.
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