Environmental groups got some help in their crusade against President Donald Trump from an unlikely source: the corporate world. Over 600 companies and investors just publicly released a letter supporting climate change initiatives. The missive was sent to the president a few days ago. Every corporation that signed this pledge wants to see Donald Trump’s administration invest in the future of sustainable energy and to enforce caps on carbon emissions. Not only do these companies believe Trump’s skepticism on global warming is detrimental to the environment, they also believe sustainable energy policies could make America more prosperous and less dependent on fossil fuels.
New Letters And Statistics Try To Persuade The “Businessman Trump”
This new letter, which was officially sent to Trump on January 10th, had already been submitted once before to the president following general election. However, the letter sent to Trump in November only had around 200 signatures. Among others, the 600 companies on the letter’s current list include Virgin, Columbia Sportswear Company, Craft Brew Alliance, and Intel. Melissa Lavinson, the chief sustainability officer for PG&E Corp which signed this letter, told reporters:
“Climate change can impact our ability to safely, affordably, and reliably serve our customers…for us taking action on climate change is very important.”
The letter officially calls on Trump to invest in a low-carbon economy, continue to enforce low-carbon policies, and to support the Paris Climate Change Agreement which President Obama signed last year. The companies involved in this letter hope that by signing their names on the petition they will influence former businessman Trump’s views on environmental policy.
Environmental groups have also tried to persuade Trump to see the deleterious economic effects of not enforcing low-carbon initiatives. For example, scientists at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley proved in recent studies that a rising global temperature hurts farmers by reducing their crop output. Also, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), which is a nonprofit group tasked with setting corporate sustainability standards, said that unchecked climate change could negatively impact stock prices. In fact, the SASB said all of the companies its board follows could fall as much as $27.5 trillion without any action to halt climate change. All of these arguments are designed to appeal to Trump’s businessman mentality.
Trump’s Cabinet Of Climate Change Skeptics Angers Environmentalists
The main reason environmentalists, investors, and companies are panicking over Trump’s presidency has to due, in large part, with who he nominated in his cabinet. Many fear the nomination of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could undo Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan was intended to reduce carbon emissions, but Pruitt has publicly voiced opposition both to the plan and to the EPA as an organization.
Trump also nominated Texas Governor Rick Perry for the role of energy secretary. While Governor Perry has been instrumental in pushing for wind energy in the Lone Star State, he has also expressed doubts about the reality of climate change. Members of various environmental activist groups joined together in a nationwide protest of these and other Trump nominees on January 9th. Called the “Day Against Denial,” environmentalists want to express their disapproval of the way climate change is perceived by Donald Trump and all of his appointees.
In addition to Perry and Pruitt, environmentalists continue to criticize Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil who Trump nominated for Secretary of State, and known climate change skeptic Rep. Ryan Zinke who Trump nominated for the Department of the Interior.
Environmentalists Expect A Fight For The Next Four Years
It’s very unclear whether or not all of these protests, statistics, and letters will change Donald Trump’s stance on climate change and environmental regulations. Trump has called climate change a “hoax” in the past, and he won states like Philadelphia by promising a revitalization of the coal industry. The only certainty environmental groups can bank on in the next four years is to redouble their efforts against a more challenging political climate.