Saturday, June 03, 2017

U.S. Tech Titans Vow to Resist Trump's Paris Pullout

President Trump (Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s Rose Garden declaration Thursday that he will pull the country out of the Paris Agreement on climate change painted the United States as an economic victim, swindled into an “unfair” deal by the global community.  He is right that the world is united:  Nearly 200 countries back the 2015 Paris deal, with only Syria, Nicaragua and now the U.S. opting out.  But fact checkers had a field day with Trump's justification:  his claim (against all evidence to the contrary) that the treaty imposes “onerous energy restrictions” on the U.S. that would beget “lost jobs, lowered wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.” Hundreds of major corporations spoke out in recent months urging Trump to stay in Paris. ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods made a last ditch effort this week at the firm’s annual meeting, saying an orderly process for addressing climate change is in Exxon's best interest. Woods is facing pressure from global investors, who passed a resolution (over the board's objection) calling on Exxon to provide more disclosure on climate-related economic risks. 
Many CEOs spoke up again yesterday in addition to Musk, including Apple's Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai as well as Jeff Immelt, GE's chairman.  Immelt tweeted:  “Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”

Intel issued a statement saying, “Climate change is a real issue, and we firmly believe that the US should continue to participate in the Paris Climate Accord.”  The statement said Trump's withdrawal would not change their investments in renewable energy, which are ramping up across corporate America.

Intel is the top consumer of renewable energy in the U.S., securing 3.4 million megawatt-hours during a recent 12 month period—enough to meet 100 percent of its power needs according to EPA.  Microsoft secured 3.3 million MWh, also meeting 100 percent of its power demand. Other companies including Apple, General Motors, and Wal-Mart are committed to reaching 100 percent renewable power through an alliance called the RE100. The median target date to hit 100 percent is 2024. 

Outspoken attitudes and carbon-cutting action from companies such as GM and Wal-Mart show climate consciousness to be well ahead of what President Trump assumed in his discourse Thursday.  Take Pittsburgh, which the President called out, declaring: “I was elected to serve the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”  But today's Pittsburgh is not the dirty-energy poster child in need of protection from global greenies that Trump evoked.  

Pittsburgh's age of coal mines and spurting oilfields has given way to a hub of energy innovation (thanks to Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh).  It is also a hotbed for natural gas production via the hydraulic fracturing technology, helping to supply the cheap and comparatively clean-burning fuel that is shuttering U.S. coal-fired power plants and trimming U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. 

The city is working towards a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2023 (compared with 2003 levels).  Mayor Bill Peduto made it clear yesterday that he did not welcome Trump’s shout out to his city, tweeting:  “As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future.” 

Read more at U.S. Tech Titans Vow to Resist Trump's Paris Pullout

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