Elon Musk, Tim Cook and others promise to stick with Paris Agreement

3 Dec 2019

Elon Musk. Image: Jean_Nelson/Depositphotos

While the US government decided to pull out of the Paris Agreement, some of the country’s biggest tech firms are going it alone.

With the COP25 climate conference now in full swing in Madrid and the world’s climate at the forefront of many conversations, a declaration has been made by the biggest names in US tech and labour organisations that they will commit to the 2015 Paris Agreement in spite of their government.

The group, called United for the Paris Agreement, published an open letter with signatories including Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

“Two years ago, we knew that supporting the Paris Agreement was what was needed to help keep companies competitive and thriving under the shifting expectations of Americans,” they wrote.

“We stand with the 77pc of registered American voters and over 4,000 American states, cities and businesses supporting the Paris Agreement. Today, with record temperatures across the country, fiercer hurricanes pummelling coasts, more destructive wildfires, droughts and flooding disrupting the economy, we have no time to waste.”

The signatories are the heads of companies that employ more than 2m people in the US and the group also includes American union leaders who represent 12.5m workers.

In 2017, US president Donald Trump announced that the US was pulling out of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global average temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius by rapidly reducing the amount of global greenhouse gas emissions.

While its official withdrawal is not expected until November of next year, the US government has already been running or developing practices that would contradict the 2015 agreement. However, a number of the signatories were critical of Trump’s move at the time and are now arguing that staying within the Paris Agreement will strengthen US competitiveness and create jobs through the deployment of transition technologies.

“The promise of the Paris Agreement is one of a just and prosperous world. We urge the US to join us in staying in,” the United for the Paris Agreement signatories wrote.

Elon Musk. Image: Jean_Nelson/Depositphotos

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic