Elon Musk takes on some of the biggest challenges in the world.
But President Donald Trump might be too much for him.
Don't know which way Paris will go, but I've done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH & via councils, that we remain
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 31, 2017
Musk’s tweet on Wednesday added a tone of rueful resignation to the news that Trump is planning to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Musk also said that if the U.S. does pull out, he will step down from the White House business advisory council, where he had an opportunity to bend Trump’s ear on issues like climate change.
At least so far, however, even Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX who has been pushing the world toward a future of renewable energy, has not been able to sway the Trump administration. This is based on multiple news reports on Wednesday stating the administration is about to withdraw from the landmark agreement.
Apple CEO Tim Cook called the White House Wednesday in an effort to change the president’s mind, Bloomberg reported, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter.
t wasn’t just Musk pushing the U.S. government to remain in the pact. Thirty CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies co-signed an open letter to Trump earlier this month. Names included Richard Branson of Virgin Group, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric, and Robert Iger of The Walt Disney Company.
“We are committed to working with you to create jobs and boost U.S. competitiveness, and we believe this can be best achieved by remaining in the Paris Agreement,” read the letter.
Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft were among the 24 companies who ran a similar letter as a full-page ad in the D.C. editions of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. This letter argued that the Paris Agreement helps America create jobs and reduces business risks related to global warming.
The Paris agreement is considered to be the world’s most comprehensive plan to fight climate change. Former President Barack Obama was a driving force behind negotiating the accord, which went into force in 2016.
The treaty is viewed by many government and corporate leaders as positive for businesses.
“If President Trump does pull out of the Paris climate agreement, I suspect he will be surprised how unpopular this decision will be with business,” said Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, chair of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission and former deputy U.N. secretary-general, said prior to Wednesday’s decision.
“This tilts things back in a way that is not just disruptive for business but potentially highly dangerous for all of us as citizens. Therefore he may be even more surprised to find how few take the chance to march backwards with him,” he continued.
The fight isn’t over. Twenty-five companies, including Intel and Microsoft, have signed on to another letter arguing for the administration to remain in the pact. It will run as a full-page ad in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Bloomberg reported.
The Trump administration’s move is yet another blow to Silicon Valley. The government has worked to limit and further dismantle the H-1B visa program, which companies like Facebook rely on to recruit foreign workers. The travel ban also spurred fierce opposition from tech giants.
Despite Trump inviting top tech leaders for a roundtable in December, he has done little to prove that he actually has the executives’ best interests for a more sustainable future in mind.
It doesn’t help that Peter Thiel, another tech whisperer in Trump’s ear, holds climate views that are out of step with mainstream climate scientists.