Business leaders speak out against Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Accord

Global Business

President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement prompted swift and strong reactions from many U.S. business leaders – including members of Trump’s business advisory council.

CGTN America’s Karina Huber reports.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Spacex was one of the first to speak out against President Trump’s move to pull out of the Paris agreement.

He tweeted: “Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.” He also announced he would be leaving the presidential council.

Two hours later, the CEO of Disney, Bob Iger, tweeted he too was resigning from Trump’s advisory council as a matter of principle.

The reaction was most pronounced among tech leaders but CEOs in other sectors also voiced their disappointment. General Electric’s Jeff Immelt tweeted “industry must now lead and not depend on government.”

British Petroleum and Shell Oil reiterated their support for the agreement signed by every country in the world except Syria, Nicaragua and now the U.S.

Dan Alpert of Westwood Capital said business leaders are worried America won’t be taking a leadership role in fighting climate change.

“One of the things that a business in the U.S. – a major U.S. business has as wind at its back is its ability to be American and advance an American agenda,” said Alpert. “As we lose our place in the agenda setting function of world politics, that’s bad for American business.”

But Trump said exiting the agreement will be good for U.S. workers.

“The Paris agreement handicaps the United States economy in order to win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense,” said Trump.

Trump wants to revive coal but with competition from cheaper natural gas, few believe coal is coming back anytime soon. The future is in renewables – the fastest growing energy source in the world.

Last year, there were almost three times as many Americans working in the solar and wind industries as in coal.

The worry among some is if the U.S. government doesn’t promote research and development in renewable technologies, U.S. companies and workers will lose out to competitors from other countries that overwhelmingly remain committed to the Paris Climate Agreement.