by Staff Writers
New York (AFP) June 1, 2017
Goldman Sachs, which has been a source of advisors to President Donald Trump, joined a chorus of big companies to criticize the US leader's decision Thursday to exit the Paris climate agreement.
"Today's decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world," Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein said on Twitter.
It was the first Twitter post for Blankfein, who joined the social network six years ago. His statement was also retweeted on Goldman Sachs's official account.
Blankfein supported Trump's Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign, but he had expressed hope about Trump's administration since the election.
The Trump administration has hired a number of former Goldman senior executives to fill top roles, including Blankfein's former deputy Gary Cohn.
Cohn, the head of the president's National Economic Council, had been seen as supporting the Paris agreement.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also worked previously at Goldman, as did White House strategist Steve Bannon.
Paris withdrawal sets business world at odds with Trump
The reactions from across the business world -- including oil producers, the tech sector and finance -- stood apart from Trump's portrayal of the decision as a needed corrective to rules that could stymie commerce.
Tesla founder Elon Musk confirmed he would quit White House advisory councils on business in protest.
"Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," Musk wrote on Twitter shortly after Trump's announcement.
Disney chief Robert Iger followed suit, saying he was resigning from the panels "as a matter of principle."
Other tech and industrial sector representatives expressed frustration with the White House's decision and pledged to continue working to combat global warming.
"Disappointed with today's decision on the Paris Agreement," Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, wrote on Twitter. "Industry must now lead and not depend on government."
The Information Technology Industry Council was equally scathing.
"This is clearly disappointing, and a setback for America's leadership in the world," ITI President Dean Garfield said in a statement.
"Despite this, the tech industry's determination to innovate and problem-solve for the threats posed by climate change and generate clean energy opportunities that create jobs and grow our economy remains unchanged."
In his first ever tweet, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein called the decision a "setback" for the environment and for US global leadership.
The statement created clashing appearances, with several former Goldman bankers having taken on important roles in the administration, including former Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn, who was present for Trump's announcement in the White House Rose Garden.
- Big oil opposed -
Oil supermajors ExxonMobil and Chevron reiterated their support for the endangered agreement, while automaker General Motors said the White House's decision would not lessen its resolve on the climate.
"GM will not waver from our commitment to the environment and our position on climate change has not changed," the company said in a statement.
"International agreements aside, we remain committed to creating a better environment."
Chevron spokeswoman Melissa Ritchie said her company "supports continuing with the Paris Agreement as it offers a first step towards a global framework."
The accord aligns with the company's own policy on carbon emissions, she said.
An Exxon spokesman said the 2015 accord was "critical" given the rising emissions from India and China.
"It's the first major international accord to address climate change that includes emissions reduction pledges from both developed and developing economies," he told AFP.
"We believe that the United States is well positioned to compete within the framework of the Paris agreement."
The US Chamber of Commerce, a business lobby that had long criticized the prior Obama administration's energy policies, said had it had not taken a position on the Paris Agreement but favored policies that both promoted energy production and protected the environment.
"America should choose a path for an energy future that is achievable, affordable and most importantly meaningful," the organization said in a statement.
Matt Sonnesyn, vice president of the Business Roundtable, which includes the heads of major US corporations, said the private sector was part of the solution to climate change.
"Business Roundtable CEOs have long held the view that the consequences of climate change are potentially serious and far-reaching," Sonnesyn said.
On Wednesday, a group of major US companies including Apple, Facebook, Gap, Google and Unilever signed off on a plea for the US to keep participating in the climate deal.
"Dear President Trump, as some of the largest companies based or operating in the United States, we strongly urge you to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement," the letter read.
Beijing (AFP) May 31, 2017
Activity in China's key factory sector expanded in May, official data showed Wednesday, in a sign of stabilisation in the world's second-largest economy. Recent indicators have pointed to slowing growth in the Asian economic giant as it grapples with weaker global demand, excess industrial capacity and a burgeoning debt problem. But the latest purchasing managers' index, a gauge of facto ... read more
Global Trade News
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