The Paris Agreement is stronger than any one nation; Business Still Supports a Clean Energy Future
Today the United States government opened the way for other countries to take the lead in driving the global economy towards a clean energy future.
The 194 nations which remain in the Paris Climate agreement will move ahead, eager to take advantage of the $13.5 trillion investment opportunity it unlocks between now and 2030.
The vision of Paris is still irresistible. President Trump’s decision makes achieving it harder – but the move to clean energy is unstoppable. It now falls on the rest of us to work together with optimism and radical collaboration to make the vision a reality.
America will also continue to move forward – just in a more constrained manner, without a seat at the highest table. That’s because its states, cities and companies are already pursuing the creation of a modern innovation economy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, supports new investments, encourages innovation, expands global and domestic markets and creates good jobs.
In taking this action, President Trump has gone against the thinking of mainstream business in America. More than 1,000 companies have, over the course of the past year, made clear their support for the move to a low carbon economy.
He stands opposed to companies which comprise the heart of American commerce: GM, General Electric, Walmart, Levi Strauss & Co., Coca Cola, Walt Disney Company, Tiffany & Co., Campbell Soup Company, Cargill, and Procter & Gamble.
He has gone against the thinking of America’s high-tech present and future: Apple, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Intel, Adobe, Salesforce, Tesla and Facebook.
He has gone against the giants of finance: Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Berkshire Hathaway.
He has even gone against the thinking of his own supporters, who overwhelmingly support renewable energy – 84% of Americans who voted for Trump support the further expansion of solar power in the US, and 77% believe public land should be used to generate renewable power.
Americans embrace clean energy because they know it is more affordable. It will reduce their bills and create more job opportunities.
There is room, however, for optimism. This is a situation in which the market – both in the U.S. and globally – may eclipse a single, ill-informed policy decision. The real economy, driven by market forces is investing at an unprecedented rate in renewables. New renewables capacity was roughly double that in fossil fuel generation in 2016, for the fifth successive year. Approximately 55% of all the energy generating capacity added globally in 2016 was renewable capacity, a new record.
The real economy is growing jobs associated with clean energy at a rate that far eclipses the rest of the economy – supporting more than three million jobs in the U.S. in 2016. That is three times the number of people employed in the U.S. making motor vehicles.
The solar and wind industries are creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy. Solar industry employment grew 25% in 2016, while employment in wind grew by 20% in 2016.
A U.S. fully engaged in the transition to a low-emissions economy will produce even more jobs. Exiting Paris, however, puts more than 1.2 million clean energy jobs in states that voted for the President at risk.
States, cities, companies and investors are also driving this market – making renewables more affordable, and ensuring that the transition will continue whether or not the U.S. seeks to be at the table and reap the benefits. Governors of states that accounted for one-third of the U.S. population and nearly 40 percent of U.S. GDP have publicly urged President Trump to stay in the Agreement.
The Paris Agreement is stronger than any one nation. And the United States is stronger than any one administration or policy decision. The Trump Administration may have turned its back on the world this week, but we know the rest of America has not. And the other nations of the world are prepared to grasp this opportunity. Together, we will move forward toward a clean energy future which protects our planet and the health and well-being of our children and future generations.
Responses from B Team Leaders:
“The US administration just gave up on the chance to lead the clean energy revolution, fuel America’s growth and create the next generation of world-beating energy companies. It’s a colossal mistake and out of line with the rest of the world in trying to combat climate change and create a positive future for our children and grandchildren. It goes against the ambitions and hopes of the majority of the American people and leaves the field open for others to lead the way. It’s a very sad day for the world. As John Donne said 400 years ago, ‘no man is an island,’ and the world needs America to play its part in saving it.”
Richard Branson, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of The B Team and Founder, Virgin Group
“The decision of the Trump administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement sets back united action on climate and risks jobs. Investment in climate action is an imperative to secure jobs and a sustainable future. 85 percent of the world’s people say the world would be a better place if their government were more committed to action on climate change.”
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation
“The irresistible tide of history in the direction of sustainability and clean energy will not be derailed by today’s news, but President Trump’s decision removes the US Government as a player and shifts the action outward – to international markets – and downward, to states and municipalities anxious to act. The Trump Administration’s luddite decision today will only galvanize the rest of the world and the rest of the country to work harder to achieve climate objectives and a prosperous, sustainable life for generations to come.”
David Crane, Senior Operating Executive, Pegasus Capital
“Thanks to the direction set by Paris, the markets for innovative clean energy and energy efficient technologies are expected to expand rapidly. In fact, the agreement is expected to unlock a $13.5 trillion growth opportunity by 2030 as 193 countries seek to accelerate their efforts to address climate change.
“Regardless of this decision, the global business community remains committed to delivering ambitious climate action, working in partnership with city mayors, governors, and nearly 200 country governments around the world, to ensure that together we capture the economic, public health and environmental benefits of a cleaner, more efficient and resilient global economy.”
Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever and Chairman, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
“The cost of this decision will be borne by vulnerable Americans who will be more exposed to extreme weather and who will miss out of the job creating opportunities that come from the fast-growing sectors of clean energy and green tech.
“The US administration’s stance has detonated an increased determination elsewhere. Most other countries have realized by now that decarbonizing their economy is a sound step toward safe growth. They will continue to pursue action on climate for strong national economic reasons such as improved health, job creation, food and water security, and energy independence. The transition toward a clean economy is unstoppable.”
Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
“Dow is the leading materials science company in the world and innovates and manufactures many low carbon technologies that enable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs and economic value in the United States. While we are disappointed in the decision to withdraw the United States from its commitments in the Paris Climate Agreement, we understand there are always many potential solutions to challenges and are eager to work toward alternative solutions. We will continue to collaborate with President Trump as well as other businesses, NGOs and academics to continue to advocate for smart policies that enable the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that global markets stay open to American exports and innovation.”
Andrew Liveris, Dow Chairman and CEO
“It is unconscionable that one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters would simply walk away from its responsibility to people both at home and abroad, in the interest of short term fossil fuel profits. It is truly shocking that the United States, once proud to have been a leader on multilateral issues, has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement which was negotiated by over 190 world leaders, over decades, in the interests of all people and the planet. The Agreement is not something that can be renegotiated in the interests of one country – especially not when that country bears the greatest historical responsibility for global greenhouse gas emissions. The other governments with the resolve to honour the vision of the Paris Climate Agreement will build a legacy to be proud of – a world powered by renewable energy which lifts millions out of poverty thus creating a truly sustainable future for all.”
Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice; and former President of Ireland
“Sadly with this decision the Trump Administration is choosing to turn its back on the rest of the world—and the opportunity for us all to come together and transition to a clean energy economy that thrives inside planetary boundaries. The Paris Agreement still gives us this hope for our future. It now falls to the rest of the world to seize the opportunity which the U.S. government has so regrettably abandoned.”
Jochen Zeitz, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of The B Team and Founder of the Zeitz Foundation
“The Trump administration’s withdrawal from Paris is a sole, selfish decision that ignores one of the most remarkable multilateral agreements humankind has ever reached. It reverses a State Policy based on political opportunism and risks American’s right to have a safe future. However, no matter how unfortunate it is, this is a bump in a road we’ve already taken. Other countries, companies and people are ready to increase their efforts and take the lead towards building a more just and sustainable society.”
Guilherme Leal, Co-Founder, Natura
“I am deeply disappointed by President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. We will double our efforts to fight climate change.”
Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce
“The business community has spoken in a loud, clear voice that climate action creates jobs, promotes investment and stimulates innovation. This unprecedented and staunch defense of the environment may be the greatest example of CEO activism in history – and that’s not a coincidence. Business leaders know that Paris is good for their companies, and that the transition to an economy powered by clean energy, with net zero greenhouse gas emissions is as irresistible as it is unstoppable.”
Keith Tuffley, Managing Partner and CEO, The B Team
“President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement will cause great damage to the global push for climate action by more than 190 countries. It poses a great threat to the future well-being of people and the planet, severely damage America’s reputation, block technological innovation, and in the end, harm its national interest. When President Bush withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, it hampered the progress of people fighting against climate change and severely lowered America’s global status. President Trump has repeated that mistake today.”
Zhang Yue, Chairman and Founder, Broad Group
“The Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is a historic forfeiture of global leadership that is damaging to America’s economy, environment, and security. Since being negotiated in December 2015, countries, the private sector, and other actors around the world have rallied around the Paris Agreement with unprecedented speed and scale. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres said earlier this week, ‘Climate change is undeniable. Climate action is unstoppable. And climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable.’ Fortunately, states, cities, businesses, and faith leaders across the country recognize this reality. They have made it loud and clear that they are committed to filling any void of federal leadership by redoubling their efforts to build a clean energy and resilient economy in the United States that is feasible, cost-effective, and will ultimately help meet our global climate challenge.”
Kathy Calvin, President, UN Foundation