How do you feel about the United States pulling out of the Paris climate agreement? More importantly, how do American CEOs feel about the United States pulling out of the Paris climate agreement?
I am not going to sugarcoat it for you—they are disappointed.
Jeff Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric, is disappointed.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai? Disappointed.
ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods did not respond to Fusion’s request for comment, but it’s possible that he feels disappointed that the president did not heed the personal letter he wrote him last month urging the U.S. to remain in the deal.
So many executives, so much disappointment. If only they could have done something to prevent this. If only they had known that the modern Republican Party is an instrument of climate denial and champion of policies that have greatly accelerated the global march toward environmental catastrophe, and then worked to keep them out of power so as to limit the scope of the damage they might inflict.
If only General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt had known that his company, in the 2016 election cycle, had given $1,729,689 to congressional Republicans who ran on doing these very things! And that, by aiding their election efforts, his company was facilitating the very conditions he would later lament in his tweet about not being able to rely on government for leadership on climate change! And that while his company donated $241,648 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, they were—with the bulk of their political contributions—helping to create a congressional body that would have worked furiously to thwart any environmental policies she may have supported as president!
Similarly, it would have been nearly impossible for Google CEO Sundar Pichai to predict that using 56 percent of his company’s political contributions to fund congressional Republicans—representatives, like Paul Ryan, who both reject the scientific consensus on climate change and campaigned mightily for Donald Trump, who promised to withdraw from the Paris agreement if elected president—would have resulted in policies that would harm our environment.
ExxonMobil gave $1,423,827 to congressional Republicans—and its former CEO gave to Donald Trump!—but somehow one personal letter did not change the course of that CEO’s party’s deeply entrenched and well-known positions on the climate and environmental regulations.
It’s almost as if the political contributions of America’s largest corporations reflect values that are contrary to their public statements—and often company practice!—on the environment, and that proximity to power and a nihilistic, world-burning drive for profit are their real values.
How disappointing : (