US Firms, others defy Trump, rally behind 2015 Paris climate agreement

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Big US tech firms, and CEOs have rallied behind the 2015 Paris climate agreement, opting to defy President Donald Trump’s reported decision to pull the US out of it.

Media reports indicate Trump’s latest move against the agreement has been met with disappointment from across the world especially world leaders who have signed up to the accord.

The BBC however reported that much of the outcry against Trump on this was heard from the west coast of the US, from where the chief executives of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook have all criticised his decision.

Even states which have overtime showed commitments to fight against climate change have also elected to challenge Trump’s actions.

It was equally learnt that the CEO of Tesla Inc. Elon Musk; and Disney’s Robert Iger, have both quit Trump’s high-powered business advisory panel after the president pressed ahead with plans to pull out of the agreement.

Shortly after his election, Trump created the advisory panel to show his administration would revamp the US by “drawing on private sector expertise”. He has however remained opposed to the Paris agreement, claiming there was an economic rationale for that. The departure of Musk and Iger, are however viewed as a disaster for the president.

“Am departing presidential councils,” tweeted Musk, who added: “Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”

Similarly, Iger tweeted: “As a matter of principle, I’ve resigned from the President’s Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawal.”

Several other US firms, including IBM and Amazon, also said they would continue to try to meet the goals of the climate deal.

In a statement, IBM said it supported, and still supports, US participation in the Paris Agreement.

According to it: “IBM has stated its position on climate change publicly since 2007: Climate change is a serious concern that warrants meaningful action on a global basis to stabilize the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Climate change is an international problem that requires an international solution, and we believe it is important for the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore IBM supported – and still supports – U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement.

“This agreement requires all participating countries to put forward their best efforts on climate change as determined by each country. IBM believes that it is easier to lead outcomes by being at the table, as a participant in the agreement, rather than from outside it.

“Whether the U.S. participates in the Paris Agreement or not, IBM will continue its decades-long work to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and will continue to help our clients do so as well.”

Many tech firms who have faced scrutiny from environmentalists over the huge energy demands of their data centres, have consequently invested heavily in making their operations greener.

For example, Google claims it is on track to hit its own goal of offsetting 100 per cent of its data centres’ energy use against renewable power. Apple also said that 96 per cent of its energy comes from renewable sources, and has now began to push its suppliers to follow its example.

New York; California; and Washington states kick

After Trump announced the US would no longer honour the agreement, three states: New York; California; and Washington, have announced they will stand against the move.

New York, California, and Washington reportedly represent 68 million Americans and over one-fifth of US Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

However, New York governor, Andrew Cuomo; California governor, Edmund Brown Jr.; and Washington state governor, Jay Inslee, said they will form a coalition of states committed to fighting climate change.

Accordingly, this would basically formally shift the responsibility of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the federal government to the local level. They sent out a statement on this.

“I am proud to stand with other governors as we make sure that the inaction in D.C. is met by an equal force of action from the states,” said Inslee in the statemen2 said Inslee in the statement.

Inslee further stated: “Today’s announcement by the president leaves the full responsibility of climate action on states and cities throughout our nation. While the president’s actions are a shameful rebuke to the work needed to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren, states have been and will continue to step up.”

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