Musk, Polman and Branson among business leaders urging Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement

The mailbox at the Whitehouse is in danger of overflowing, as another letter - this time from 30 chief executives of some of the largest US firms - called on President Donald Trump to "champion" economic growth by staying in the Paris Agreement.

Chief executives from companies including Unilever, Virgin, Coca-Cola, Walt Disney and Tesla all signed the letter, which was sent to Trump on Wednesday (10 May).

The 30 business leaders call on Trump to “maintain the US’s status as the world’s biggest champion of economic growth and innovation” by remaining in the Paris Agreement. The President, who threatened to pull-out of the global climate deal as part of his campaign, revealed that a decision would be delayed until after the G7 summit later this month.

“Based on our experience of doing business all over the world, we believe there is strong potential for negative trade implications if the US exits from the Paris Agreement,” the letter states.

“Our business interests are best served by a stable and practical framework facilitating an effective and balance response to reducing GHG emissions. The Paris Agreement gives us that flexible framework to manage climate change while providing a smooth transition for business.”

The letter attempts to appeal to Trump’s ideologies of boosting economic growth and creating an indigenous workforce market. It offers a range of recommendations on how the Paris Agreement can boost trade, support investment through long-term planning and generate jobs through a low-cost, low-carbon market.

The business leaders, which also includes chief executives from Kering, Goldman Sachs, Allianz and Proctor and Gamble, reiterate their commitment to working with Trump to enhance the US economy, but believe that withdrawing from the Paris Agreement would lead to “negative trade implications”.

A letter a day keeps Paris in play

The call from businesses matches the beliefs of former President Barack Obama, who claimed earlier this week that the clean energy revolution in the US had been “locked-in” by the actions of the private sector.

This letter joins the many that have already been sent to Trump from businesses, investors and academics urging him to re-think his stance on climate change. The delayed decision could suggest that messages in these letters are beginning to resonate.

Earlier this week, a separate letter was signed and sent by 214 investors worth more than £11.5bn, which expressed similar views to the most recent letter.

Despite delayed action on the Paris Agreement, the Trump Administration has surged ahead with a host of executive orders aimed at repealing previous environmental commitments.

The President has already signed executive actions which signal an intent to rollback support for environmental legislation, such as Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

The Environmental Protection Agency faces severe cuts under a proposed White House budget proposal, while the US recently admitted it currently has no plan on how to meet its 2020 climate target, a 17% reduction before 2005 levels.

The US is speaking in Bonn this week to outline how it plans to reach its national climate commitments, but just seven staff members have been sent to the conference, a smaller delegation than the one sent by Zimbabwe.

Matt Mace

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