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Hundreds of Businesses Urge Trump to Stay in Paris Climate Deal

  • Jim Randle

FILE - Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk arrives for a meeting between President Donald Trump and business leaders in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Feb. 3, 2017.

Hundreds of businesses have urged President Donald Trump to keep the United States in the Paris climate deal, and there is evidence that business support for the agreement is growing.

As a presidential candidate, Trump called climate science a "fraud" and pledged to get out of the Paris climate accord if he won the election.

But many business leaders disagree with that goal. Major American firms, including Mars, Nike, Levi Strauss, and Starbucks signed a letter to Trump several months ago, arguing that failing to build a low-carbon economy puts U.S. "prosperity at risk."

On Wednesday Tesla founder Elon Musk said he tried to persuade the president to stay in the accord, and said he would quit the White House business advisory council if Washington pulls out of the Paris agreement.

FILE - General Electric Co. Chief Executive Jeff Immelt (center) and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo (second right) attend the opening of a new tower of the Global Operations Center in San Pedro Garza Garcia, neighboring Monterrey, Mexico, May 12, 2017.
FILE - General Electric Co. Chief Executive Jeff Immelt (center) and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo (second right) attend the opening of a new tower of the Global Operations Center in San Pedro Garza Garcia, neighboring Monterrey, Mexico, May 12, 2017.

GE chief Jeff Immelt has written that customers, partners, and countries are demanding technology that generates electric power while improving energy efficiency and cutting costs.

Oil companies, like Chevron and rival ExxonMobil, recently argued that the Paris Agreement gives their firms a more predictable future, and therefore more manageable one. It also helps maintain U.S. influence over future talks.

Earlier this week, more than 60 percent of Exxon shareholders voted to require that the firm do more analysis and disclosure of the likely impact of tougher climate policies on company revenue. Previous efforts to force such disclosures failed to get a majority of votes from shareholders.

Some other business and conservative groups say Washington should leave the climate agreement. The Heritage Foundation, for example, says the accord has "devastating" economic costs" and "zero" environmental benefits. The report's authors argue that the Paris deal will hurt economic growth and cut jobs.

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