CEOs call for US to stay in Paris pact

A protester in a costume depicting US President Donald Trump and "earth" on a golf tee joining demonstrators walking down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington on April 29 during a People's Climate March to protest against Mr Trump's stance on the enviro
A protester in a costume depicting US President Donald Trump and "earth" on a golf tee joining demonstrators walking down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington on April 29 during a People's Climate March to protest against Mr Trump's stance on the environment.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • As Mr Donald Trump neared a final decision on the Paris climate agreement, top corporate executives were mounting a last-minute push aimed at persuading the President that the United States has more to lose from abandoning the accord.

The appeals from chief executives such as Tesla's Mr Elon Musk, Mr Tim Cook of Apple and Dow Chemical's Mr Andrew Liveris came as Mr Trump's advisers also presented him with closing arguments on the potential risks and rewards of remaining a party to the global pact.

Mr Trump also got an earful from foreign leaders and Pope Francis urging him to stay in the agreement during his first international trip as President.

Mr Cook placed a call to the White House on Tuesday to urge the President to keep the US in the agreement, according to a person familiar with the move.

Mr Liveris was the driving force behind a letter from 30 major company executives backing the deal. And Mr Musk tweeted yesterday that he has "done all I can to advise directly to" Mr Trump.

If the US leaves Paris, Mr Musk said he would drop participation in White House advisory councils.

The executives are trying to capitalise on Mr Trump's "America first" ideology by warning that a withdrawal would put the US at a disadvantage in a global race to develop and deploy clean-energy technology, potentially ceding that market opportunity to China.

Corporate leaders "are continuing to try to get through to the White House in any and every way they can", said Ms Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, the non-profit sustainability advocacy that works with investors. They "are particularly important stakeholders for this President", she said.

The executives are trying to capitalise on Mr Trump's "America first" ideology by warning that a withdrawal would put the US at 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.

A television advertisement that began running yesterday cites 10 of "America's biggest CEOs", including JPMorgan Chase's Mr Jamie Dimon and General Electric's Mr Jeffrey Immelt, as backing the climate pact "because it will benefit American manufacturing and generate jobs".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2017, with the headline 'CEOs call for US to stay in Paris pact'. Print Edition | Subscribe