Tech billionaire Elon Musk says he’ll have no choice but to leave his posts on the White House’s advisory councils if President Donald Trump decides to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate accord.
Musk, a strong proponent of a revenue-neutral carbon tax, said he’s been urging the president to abide by the Paris pact, which calls on nations to reduce their carbon emissions in accordance with voluntary plans.
“Don’t know which way Paris will go, but I’ve done all I can to advise directly to POTUS [president of the United States], through others in WH [White House] and via councils, that we remain,” Musk tweeted.
The aim of the 2015 agreement is to put the brakes on climate change caused by industrial carbon dioxide emissions. So far, Russia is the only major industrialized nation to hold back from accepting the accord.
It’s not clear what the repercussions would be if the United States were to renege on its acceptance, which was given during the Obama administration. Supporters of the accord say U.S. withdrawal would provide an opening for other countries such as China and Iran to back out of the deal, clouding any prospects for future international climate initiatives.
Opponents say the accord would harm the U.S. economy, particularly the coal industry. During the presidential campaign, Trump said climate concerns were a hoax perpetrated by China, and a statement issued after last week’s G-7 summit in Brussels said the U.S. “was not in a position join the consensus” on the Paris pact’s fate.
By virtue of his status as the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, Musk serves on White House advisory councils that focus on manufacturing and infrastructure, as well as on Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum. Musk is also assisting a White House office aimed at boosting American innovation, led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law.
In the past, Musk has said it’s better for him to work through disagreements with Trump from the inside rather than the outside. But today Musk suggested that climate policy was his line in the sand.
When he was asked on Twitter what he would do if Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris pact, Musk replied that he would have “no choice but to depart councils in that case.”
As if to emphasize the point, he followed up by retweeting an InsideClimate News report about a vote by Exxon shareholders that requires the petroleum company to report climate-related risks to its business.