Trump's Paris Agreement Exit Prompts Musk To Leave Advisory Council
Trump's Paris Agreement Exit Prompts Musk To Leave Advisory Council

Trump's Paris Agreement Exit Prompts Musk To Leave Advisory Council


Following president Donald Trump's sensational decision to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate change agreement – which had 200 signatories for the fight  against climate change – Tesla CEO Elon Musk has left his role as an advisor to the White House.

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Similarly, home-grown carmakers Ford and General Motors (GM) have responded to the news in separate statements that both reinforce their commitment to environmental issues.

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However, despite Mr Musk's dramatic move, GM chair and CEO Mary Barra will continue to be an advisor to the Trump administration, with her company stating that “a seat at an important table (helps) contribute to a constructive dialogue about key policy issues”.

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“GM will not waver from our commitment to the environment, and our position on climate change has not changed. International agreements aside, we remain committed to creating a better environment.”

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Recently retired Ford president and CEO Mark Fields was also a member of President Trump's advisory council until Jim Hackett succeeded him last month, but whether or not the Blue Oval's new boss will take the White House role is currently unknown.

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“We believe climate change is real, and remain deeply committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our vehicles and our facilities,” said Ford. 

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“Our commitment to sustainability is why we’re investing so heavily in electrification and adding 13 new electrified vehicles to our line-up.”

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Announcing his departure from the economic advisory councils on Twitter this morning, Mr Musk said that “climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”

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Further exacerbating the issue, an open letter condemning the Paris agreement exit was undersigned by 23 high-profile businesses from a variety of sectors including chemicals, clothing, consumer goods, energy, finance, food and technology.

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Highlighting business possibilities and the advantages of global collaboration on environmental issues, the letter also detailed how US-developed green technologies could penetrate growing international markets.

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The threat that climate change poses to global trade was also reiterated in the letter, with President Trump's lone-wolf attitude criticised for putting the country's economy at risk – especially with regard to supply chains, agriculture and water supplies.

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“As other countries invest in advanced technologies and move forward with the Paris Agreement, we believe the United States can best exercise global leadership and advance US interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort,” said the letter.

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When announcing his decision, President Trump described the Paris agreement as “the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries”.

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“As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country,” he said.

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Nevertheless, President Trump left the door open by promising to “either negotiate our way back into Paris, under the terms that are fair to the United States and its workers, or to negotiate a new deal that protects our country and its taxpayers”.

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“And we’ll sit down with the Democrats and all of the people that represent either the Paris Accord or something that we can do that’s much better than the Paris Accord,” he said.

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In protest, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, California governor Jerry Brown and Washington governor Jay Inslee immediately announced the formation of a US state alliance which is “committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change”.

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Mr Musk tweeted yesterday that he had “done all I can to advise directly” President Trump with suggestions of the US remaining a signatory to the Paris Accord.

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Responding to previous criticism, Mr Musk said that he chose to remain a White House advisor following President Trump's election because “engaging on critical issues will on balance serve the greater good”.

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How much of an affect will Trump's decision on climate change have on US carmakers? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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