Musk to quit advisory panels if Trump withdraws from climate deal

Candice Alexander
June 1, 2017

Trump on Wednesday declared that abandoning the Paris climate agreement would be a victory for the American economy.

Former President Obama formally entered the US into the Paris Agreement in September of 2016.

Exxon Mobil CEOs past and present have argued in favor of the climate deal.

Christian Aid's climate lead Mohamed Adow described the 2015 agreement as the "pinnacle" of efforts to combat the issue and warned the "consequences of climate change are a real and present danger to America".

Former President Barack Obama was a major supporter of the deal, which calls for the reduce carbon by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. And even then, the US must give a year's notice.

It has been reported by several outlets that President Trump now intends to leave the pact, while Trump himself has teased on Twitter that he will announce his decision "over the next few days".

Independent reports cleared the scientists of any wrongdoing, but Trump and other conservative leaders seized on the conspiracy to demean climate science in general.

Details on the withdrawal are being worked out by a small team including EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, according to Axios, which broke the story on Wednesday.

The executives are trying to capitalize on Trump's "America first" ideology by warning that a withdrawal would put the a disadvantage in a global race to develop and deploy clean-energy technology, potentially ceding that market opportunity to China, the world's top emitter of greenhouse gas emissions. Like the other officials, that person was not authorized to describe the private discussions by name and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

The accord, agreed on by almost 200 countries in Paris, aims to limit planetary warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

Trump has repeatedly expressed doubts about climate change, at times calling it a hoax to weaken United States industry. The CEO of SpaceX, Musk has said further delay in adopting policies to mitigate climate change would cause more "destruction than all the wars in history combined". "Withdrawing from the agreement will limit our access to them and could expose us to retaliatory measures".

The uncertain future of US involvement in the accord pushed even big oil companies like Shell and Exxon, as well as tech companies large and small, to make an appeal to the Trump administration not to back out of the agreement.

A White House official said Wednesday that Trump was planning to pull out of the Paris deal, although a final decision had not been made.

Alternatively, the president could pursue a faster course by dropping out of an underlying treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"The perception that we have to decide between creating jobs or tackling climate change is a false choice", said Dean Garfield, president of the tech trade group ITI.

This story corrects the geography of countries in the 10:30 a.m. item to northern European, not Scandinavian.

Other reports by VgToday

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