President Trump’s Thursday withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord has elicited various denouncements and superlatives from left-wing heroes and elected officials, with reactions like “an international disgrace” (Sen. Bernie Sanders), “an insane move” (Gov. Jerry Brown), “void of basic business acumen” (Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom), and “shortsighted and dangerous” (Mayor Ed Lee). But no one has put their billions where their mouth is quite like SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk, who promptly stepped down from the White House business advisory council, according to Associated Press. Musk’s resignation is meant to protest Trump’s abandonment of an international treaty that sets goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017
Plenty of other tech CEOs gnashed their teeth publicly over the withdrawal from the global warming prevention pact, and VentureBeat has a roundup of tech exec tweets that include CEOs like Google’s Sundar Puchal, Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. Apple Tim Cook took it a tiny step further and sent a companywide memo to all employees, after he’d personally lobbied Trump to not exit the deal.
For Elon Musk, making planet earth uninhabitable may theoretically play well into his other business ventures. After all, SpaceX is planning on sending people to Mars and Musk has expressed his desire to “make humans an interplanetary species” (can that fit onto a baseball cap?). But as Business Insider points out, Musk has been a passionate carbon tax advocate, and a carbon tax does give his electric cars a marketplace advantage.
But this U.S. withdrawal from the Paris accord should not be seen as a dead end defeat for environmental advocates. As noted by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, “Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord will take four years.” That’s not a completely accurate take, but it is close. The Paris agreement, signed by approximately 200 countries in 2015, technically does not take effect until the year 2020.
Think about that in terms of an electoral timeline, people.
Related: A Climate Scientist Explains How Cities Can Counteract Trump's Paris Withdrawal