MARRAKECH, Morocco: November 16, 2016. Over 360 business leaders attending the 'COP 22' U.N. Convention on Climate Change have called on U.S. president-elect Donald Trump to support the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the need to transition to a low-carbon economy.
The U.S., China, India, Brazil, European Union and more than 100 other nations representing more than 75 percent of global emissions have formally ratified or joined the agreement - the first-ever global, legally binding framework to tackle climate change.
During his presidential bid Trump described climate change as a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to harm U.S. competitiveness. Since winning the election, he has proposed the appointment of notorious climate change denier Myron Ebell to head changes he wants to make at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Ebell has no scientific qualifications and his job directing environmental and energy policy at the Washington, DC-based Competitive Enterprise Institute is reportedly supported by Marathon Petroleum, Koch Industries, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and Murray Energy Corporation, America's largest underground coal mining company.
Trump says he plans to end all funding for scientific research on climate change including developing emission-cutting technology. Instead he wants to produce more coal, more oil, and more natural gas. He also wants to "abolish" the EPA saying: "Environmental Protection, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations."
Among the large and small U.S. businesses calling on Trump to acknowledge climate change are DuPont, Gap Inc., General Mills, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Hilton, HP Inc., Kellogg Company, Levi Strauss & Co., L'Oreal USA, NIKE, Mars Incorporated, Schneider Electric, Starbucks, VF Corporation, and Unilever.
Also adding her voice is Zaurie Zimmermann, CEO of a 60 year-old family manufacturing business in Louisville, Kentucky called The Lion Company: "Kentucky needs to grow its clean economy more than many other states," she said. "I am hopeful that president-elect Trump is pragmatic enough to see the job-growing potential of the clean energy transition. Affirming the US commitment to the Paris Agreement is a crucial strategy in keeping the U.S., and eventually Kentucky, truly competitive in the global economy."
According to the Kentucky Coal Association, the state remains America's third largest producer of coal and supplied 77.4 million tons in 2014 to support power stations across the U.S., primarily in the southeast.
"The enormous momentum generated by the business and investment community to address climate change cannot be reversed and cannot be ignored by the Trump administration. That train has left the station and to stand in its way is folly," said Matt Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management. "Nevertheless, we know that now is the time to remind the incoming administration that virtually every company in the Fortune 500 and over US$100 trillion in investor assets has acknowledged the reality of climate change and the need to address it head on."
The business group at COP22 said it wants Trump to continue the Obama administration's low-carbon policies in order to allow the U.S. to meet or exceed its promised national commitments; invest in the low-carbon economy in order to give financial decision-makers clarity and boost investor confidence; and continue U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement in order to provide the long-term direction needed to limit global warming.
Speaking at the end of the meeting in Marrakech, U.S. secretary of State John Kerry urged: "Above all consult with the scientists who have dedicated their lives to understanding this challenge. At some point, even the strongest skeptic has to acknowledge that something disturbing is happening."