Keeping good on his promise, Elon Musk has announced his resignation from Trump’s advisory team.
You might be surprised Elon was a Trump advisor in the first place — I certainly was when I first heard of this prospect. After all, the Silicon Valley has been anything but friendly to Trump, and their ideals greatly differ from those of the US president. But nevertheless, Musk (and several other tech tycoons, we’ll get to them) said that they can only make a change by sitting at the table. So they tried to make a difference from within. They failed.
It must have gotten Musk very angry, because he proceeded to tweet how India and China (blamed by Trump as the “big polluters,” even though the US is the world’s second largest polluter) are keeping their side of the deal and are much more ambitious than the US.
In fact, pretty much all of Silicon Valley’s tech giants tried to stop Trump from withdrawing from the Paris Agreement (more on that here and here). The CEOs of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, HP and Intel wrote an open letter to Trump, which he ignored.
“As other countries invest in advanced technologies and move forward with the Paris Agreement, we believe the United States can best exercise global leadership and advance US interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort,” the letter read.
But it didn’t work — nothing did. Trump made his intentions abundantly clear, and despite the international backlash and national uproar, he did what he wanted. Now, Trump’s inner circle is also starting to thin. Aside from Musk, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger also announced his resignation, and was retweeted by Elon Musk in a show of support.
It’s a matter of principle, Iger says, and he’s right. There is a deeply established scientific consensus on man-made climate change, and it is also becoming increasingly clear that we can protect the planet while also increasing the economy. Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is not only reckless and unethical, it just doesn’t make any sense.
“Protecting our planet and driving economic growth are critical to our future, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. I deeply disagree with the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and, as a matter of principle, I’ve resigned from the President’s advisory council.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is also an adviser, slammed the decision and said that no only is climate change real, but each of us has a responsibility to tackle it. However, no talk of resignation.
It’s not unlike Trump to go against what people are advising him to do, but there’s something highly symbolic in the US president shunning the leaders of Earth’s largest innovation center. It’s like he’s turning away from innovation, looking away from the future. Like he’s doing by withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.