America’s Smartest Business Leaders Think Trump Is Wrong on Paris Accord

2 minute read
| Editorial

America’s business leaders think President Donald Trump is wrong on climate, and was wrong to pull out of the Paris Accord. More importantly, they’re speaking out. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Disney’s Bob Iger, are just three top executives who have condemned the decision. The leaders of many of America’s biggest businesses have done the same.

Apple logo as a green planet

CEOs Think Trump Is Wrong

On Thursday evening, Tim Cook tweeted:

In a letter to employees leaked to the press, Mr. Cook also said:

I know many of you share my disappointment with the White House’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. I spoke with President Trump on Tuesday and tried to persuade him to keep the U.S. in the agreement. But it wasn’t enough.

Elon Musk tweeted multiple times on the topic, including:


Mr. Musk had participated on two different presidential advisory councils on business. The same is true for Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO. He tweeted:

Mr. Iger followed that with a more formal statement issued under the Disney corporation:

Protecting our planet and driving economic growth are critical to our future, and they aren’t mutually exclusive.  I deeply disagree with the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and, as a matter of principle, I’ve resigned from the President’s advisory council.

Corporate Entities

Other business leaders publicly critical of the move include Jeff Immelt of General Electric, Lloyd Blankefeld of Goldman Sachs, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Brad Smith and Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, venture capitalist Mark Cuban, Aaron Levie of Box, Mark Benioff of Salesforce, Sundar Pichai of Google, Brent Saunders of Allergan, Kevin Plank of Under Armour.

Laurene Powell Jobs—the widow of Steve Jobs—said before President Trump pulled out of the agreement that doing so would be a “colossal mistake.”

IBM released a more general statement that it was committed to protecting the environment whether or not the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement. HP, Intel, and Amazon did the same, as did Morgan Stanley. Even Shell Oil tweeted its support for Paris, while Conoco Phillips and ExxonMobil have supported the agreement beforehand.

The Harvard Business Review listed another 15 or so companies who want the U.S. to stay in the agreement.

President Trump frequently and loudly trumpets his business experience as a qualification for office. But many of the world’s top business people have condemned the decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

14 Comments Add a comment

  1. mikefmiller

    Would be nice to see some real thinking by you guys. Paris had no real enforcement mechanism and was never ratified. Will let China and India continue spewing. When the “business leaders” care more for REAL CHANGE and not REAL PR maybe they can help. US develops and delivers the best technology for producing clean energy. Helping get foreign polluters to employ should be real goal. Apple and Tim have no legs to stand on promoting LGBTQ rights when they suck up to countries where persecution is still the law. Let’s see them refuse to sell product there. Otherwise they cede the moral ground.

  2. Well said mikefmiller. People should learn what is in the Paris accord before forming an opinion, but somehow the facts do not matter. Tim Cook should use Steve Jobs as an example, even though Steve Jobs was liberal he was more concerned with producing the best equipment possible. With the last debacle with Apple experiencing possible worst Macbook Pro’s after a four year wait, he needs to concentrate more on repairing the damage he has done to Apple’s reputation. I am waiting to see if the next offering is any better. I have a 2007 Macbook that still eats Microsoft for lunch and has never crashed or had a virus, which is normal for Mac’s. I believe they have no moral ground to stand on at Apple.

  3. MacTechFreak

    This is all a PR stunt by “Americas Smartest Business Leaders”. I know Mr Chaffin is not a fan of President Trump and this constant spewing of political agendas and ideas on Tech sites is really getting old. I don’t care about your political affiliation lets just write about and produce innovative tech.

    Not everyone buys into your ideas about climate change and other “so-called” world ending issues put together and pushed by Democrats. I really wish I could filter the writers on certain websites rather than having to choose to not read or support a great tech outlet like Macobserver because of such writers like Brian Chaffin.

  4. As others have said, if you pay any attention to the details of the Paris accords you will find that it has no teeth AND the only country making any sacrifices is the United States. It’s not only a terrible deal for the US in relation to the rest of the world, it admits that it could at best only make a 0.05 degree celsius impact on global mean temperatures by 2100. Not to mention that the US never officially agreed to the deal, that would require approval from the Senate, which never happened with the Paris accords.

    Trump is right to pull out of the Paris Accords (that we never actually joined). It gives the US leverage to get a better deal for the US, arguably a deal that actually helps the environment. That of course requires you to believe that man-made climate change dogma, which if you do even a little bit of your own research you’ll find is far from the slam dunk that it’s made out to be.

  5. Well I disagree with President Trump on this, this and most every decision of his though there has been or two things he gets right. During the campaign he talked about the financing of ISIS and how stopping it would help stop their actions; the problem is from my perspective is that some big players are laundering their money and making a big profit doing it.

    As to the businesses making statements about such matters. Well corporations are people too and as such they can say what we want regardless if others like it or not.

  6. I really am tiring of leftist political agenda advancement being disguised as Tech Journalism. America’s brightest business leaders? I don’t know how bright you have to be to throw away billions of dollars — paying off nations to continue polluting while you accept targets that hamstring our businesses and our economy. The pronouncements of “Climate Change is Real” are red herrings. One can believe in Climate Change and take steps to fight it (witness the US’s already significant reductions) without an ill-advised global agreement that stacks the deck against the US. This is, in reality, a TREATY….and Obama should never have entered into it without the approval of congress. Just another example of his attempts to ignore and thwart the constitution. The Tech Leaders Chaffin quotes are being just as ingenuous in addressing this matter as they are regarding H1B visas (flooding the market with job seekers from abroad to keep wages artificially low, and take jobs from qualified American citizens).

  7. masterconductor

    No one is stopping these business from improving their carbon footprint. When did they need the government’s approval to pollute less? And so what? The Paris accord was non-binding, we could have stayed in and done diddly-squat–but it was signed, that’s the important part right?

    You know what would be far more effective? Apple, Microsoft, Goole, and Tesla get together and work with the power company to build a solar collector. Do they have the money for that? Yep. Could they do it. Yep. What do they really want? Government subsidies. And just so you don’t think that I am pro-fossil fuels–I don’t think any oil or gas company should be receiving any subsidies either (or any privately owned business for that matter).

  8. “No one is stopping these business from improving their carbon footprint.”

    Correct, no can stop them walking their talk.

    👉 The company launched a massive clean energy program in October 2015. The goal was to convert all of its energy use in China to clean power sources.

    Apple clobbered past that goal and is now working toward 100% renewable energy worldwide.
    “In 2016, 96 percent of the electricity used at our global facilities came from renewable energy, reducing our carbon emissions by nearly 585,000 metric tons. We’re 100 percent renewable in 24 countries — and all of Apple’s data centers,” Lisa Jackson, Apple Vice president of environment policy, said in an annual letter released earlier this year. Jackson served as the administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency from 2009 to 2013.”

  9. aardman

    Carbon in the atmosphere did not build up overnight. It’s the accumulation of hundreds of years of burning of fossil fuels. And who is the biggest contributor to that accumulated carbon? Us, the US. Then Europe. So it is disingenuous to say that the US is just as much to blame as the other big carbon releasing countries of today, such as China and India.

    We are the biggest contributor to global warming. We also generated the most wealth by far from the release of all that carbon since the Industrial Revolution. So what’s all this whining about the unfair distribution of the burden of cleaning up the atmosphere?

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