Tech giants criticise US decision to pull out of Paris accord

Google, Facebook, Apple and others say they are committed to renewable energy

Protesters gather outside the White House in Washingtonon Thursday. Photograph: AP

Protesters gather outside the White House in Washingtonon Thursday. Photograph: AP

 

The heads of some of the largest and most influential American technology companies expressed their “deep disappointment” at Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord.

In separate statements and messages on social media, leaders of Apple, Google, Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, Tesla, Microsoft and IBM declared climate change an “urgent” threat that required a global effort to combat.

“Decision to withdraw from the #ParisAgreeement was wrong for our planet,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook tweeted on Thursday. “Apple is committed to fight climate change and we will never waver.”

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey called the decision “incredibly shortsighted” and a “move backwards by the federal government”. He also retweeted several stories and statements disapproving of Mr Trump’s move to extract the US from the Paris agreement, including a message from the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, that read: Make Our Planet Great Again

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckererg said Mr Trump’s decision “puts our children’s future at risk”. He said the social media giant was committed to ensuring that every new data centre is powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. “Stopping climate change is something we can only do as a global community, and we have to act together before it’s too late,” Mr Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.

Disappointed

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai tweeted: “Disappointed with today’s decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all.”

Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, followed through with his promise to step down from two of Trump’s business advisory councils if the president removed the US from the global climate agreement.

IBM said in a statement that the tech company “supported and still supports US participation in the Paris agreement”. IBM, however, confirmed that its chief executive, Ginni Rometty, will remain on Trump’s business advisory council.

“IBM believes that it is easier to lead outcomes by being at the table, as a participant in the agreement, rather than from outside it,” the statement said.

Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a statement the company has been a “steadfast supporter of the Paris agreement” and was therefore “disappointed with today’s decision by the White House”.

Mr Smith said his company had worked for months to persuade Trump to remain in the Paris agreement, though ultimately that effort came up short. “We’ve sent letters to and held meetings on this topic with senior officials in the state department and the White House.

And in the past month, we’ve joined with other American business leaders to take out full-page ads in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and New York Post, urging the administration to keep the United States in the Paris agreement,” Mr Smith said in a statement.