Musk says he’ll leave adviser’s role if Trump exits pact

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk is threatening to leave his role as a White House adviser if President Trump exits the Paris climate agreement.

In a tweet this afternoon, Musk said he had done all he could to persuade Trump and White House officials on staying in the international pact. When a follower asked him directly what he would do if Trump decides to leave, Musk wrote: “Will have no choice to depart councils in that case.”

Sources say Trump appears to be leaning toward exiting the agreement, although it’s possible he could change his mind (Greenwire, May 31). Trump wrote on Twitter this morning that an official announcement would come in the next few days.

The White House announced last December that Musk would serve on the president’s strategic and policy forum to advise on economic issues. Musk was one of the only energy leaders selected for that council. He also is an adviser to an “innovation” panel led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and is the co-leader of a White House manufacturing jobs initiative (Greenwire, Jan. 27).

A carbon tax advocate, Musk has been public about discussing climate change with Trump. In January, he backed Rex Tillerson for secretary of State partly because of their shared support for a carbon tax. Earlier this month, Musk said he was “cautiously optimistic” about Trump staying in the Paris Agreement after speaking with the president a few weeks earlier.

In early May, Musk joined dozens of corporate leaders who signed an open letter in support of the Paris Agreement. In a letter this afternoon, the Information Technology Industry Council — whose members include companies like Microsoft Corp. — said in a statement that “it is not too late … for the president to stay the course and work with the tech industry to ensure that more clean energy jobs continue to go to Americans.”

On the other side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and groups like the American Energy Alliance have urged the president in recent weeks to stick with his campaign promise and pull out of the global deal (E&E Daily, May 26).