Business leaders urge President Trump to keep U.S. in Paris climate agreement

Business leaders from some of the world’s largest corporations are joining the campaign urging President Donald Trump to keep the United States participating in the Paris climate change agreement.

During his Presidential campaign Donald Trump pledged to withdraw from or, as he said, ‘cancel’ the Paris climate agreement, but media reports suggest that his administration is split over whether the U.S. should stay or go.

During the past couple of weeks businesses worried about the future of the U.S. participation in the Paris agreement have bought full page ads in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal supporting the agreement.

In addition to ads and using social media, some companies signed open letters to the President expressing their support for the continued participation by the U.S. in the Paris agreement.

For example, one letter from April 26th, said: “U.S. business interests are best served by a stable and practical framework facilitating an effective and balanced global response. We believe the Paris Agreement provides such as framework”.

This letter was signed by Apple, BHP Billiton, BP, DuPont, General Mills, Google, Intel, Microsoft, National Grid, Novartis Corporation, PG&E, Rio Tinto, Schneider Electric, Shell, Unilever, and Walmart.

The signatories say in their letter that companies benefit from U.S. participation in the agreement as it:

  • Strengthens competitiveness
  • Supports sound investment
  • Creates jobs, markets and growth
  • Minimises costs
  • Reduces business risks

They write: “We believe that as other countries invest in advanced technologies and move forward with the Paris Agreement, the United States can best exercise global leadership and advance U.S. interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort”.

The historic Paris climate agreement was signed by 195 countries after a tumultuous meeting of the COP21 in December 2015 (COP21 = the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

The Paris agreement put into place a global action plan for the world to avoid climate change and to limit global warming to below 2C (against pre-industrial levels) with an aspiration to achieve 1.5C. Individual countries agree to put in place national climate action plans. As of May, 145 countries had ratified the Paris agreement out of a 197 who eventually signed up to the convention.