Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and members of the Congressional delegation praised President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, while business leaders, including Walmart’s CEO, expressed disappointment in the exit news. At the same time, representatives with Arkansas’ electric utilities reaffirmed their companies’ focus on renewable energy sources and city and state leaders pledged to uphold the treaty targets on their own – moves that underscore the ongoing transition to an advanced energy economy will continue.
U.S. Senator Tom Cotton said in an email to the Times Record, “I’m more worried about what people pay for electricity in Paris, Arkansas, than I am the Paris climate accord, which would make them pay a lot more. The United States will continue to lead the world in environmental protection and economic might without this lopsided deal.”
U.S. mayors and governors have vowed to stick with the accord, including Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. In a press release, Mayor Jordan said “Fayetteville is committed to working with leaders of other cities, states, universities, and businesses to combat climate change by supporting a low-carbon economy and creating good jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon wrote Thursday on Facebook, “Disappointed in today's news about the Paris Agreement. We think it's important for countries to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I'm proud that Walmart has led on renewable energy and emission reductions for more than a decade, and that we're continuing to lead through Project Gigaton. It's the right thing to do for our customers, our business, and the environment.”
In response to the decision, Arkansas’ electric utilities reaffirmed their focus on renewable energy. Arkansas Business’ Kyle Massey reports that the “bottom line for Arkansas businesses may be that the decision changes little here, as power companies continue their shift away from coal generation and remain on a path toward renewable energy goals.”
A coalition led by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which thus far includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses, is negotiating with the United Nations to submit a plan pledging to meet the United States’ would-be commitments under the Paris deal.
More business reaction, per Politico:
• Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he is "departing presidential councils."
• Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein (who tweeted for the first time to say this): "Today's decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world."
• Microsoft's Brad Smith: "Disappointed with the decision."
• GE's Jeff Immelt: "Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”
• Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: "Deeply disappointed by President's decision."
• Disney's Robert Iger: "As a matter of principle, I've resigned from the President's Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawal."