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Elon Musk breaks up with Trump over Paris Agreement

It looks like they’ll never have Paris.

Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk has threatened to quit his position as an advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump if the U.S. decides to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

It began earlier today when Musk tweeted that he didn’t know “which way Paris will go”, but that he had done all he could to advise the president.

When Musk was asked by a follower what he would do if Trump did decide to leave, Musk stuck to his guns, replying:

Musk is certainly someone who is concerned about climate change. He has invested heavily in the design and production of electric cars and solar power. In his spare time, he’s also trying to revolutionise public transportation. Oh, and if it all goes to crap, he’ll just move us all to Mars.

Trump formed the council back in December 2016, choosing 17 powerful executives including Musk and the CEOS of other giant corporations to join him in debating policy.

The council, which is officially named the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, first met in February after Trump had made his controversial executive order barring people from several Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S.

At the time, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick faced pressure from customers, employees and activists and quit before the first meeting. But Musk stuck around, claiming that he would use the meeting to “simply provide advice” to the president.

It looks like Musk’s advice may have fallen on deaf ears because the latest reports suggest that Trump will indeed withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement.

We’ve already looked at the repercussions of the U.S. pulling out, with experts saying that it would lead to a global temperature increase ranging from 0.1 – 0.3 degrees.

It’s not just about that though. The U.S. is supposed to be a country that others look towards as a “global leader”, and a bastion of democracy. By quitting Paris, the U.S. is not only denying the severity of climate change, it is setting a terrible example for the rest of the world.

China no doubt sees the U.S.’s French exit as an opportunity. China is currently pouring investment into clean energy, and with the U.S. out of the picture, it could step up as a new global leader for the issue of climate change. This is not just an altruistic act, there is big money to be made in the exporting of renewable technology.

Leaving the Paris Agreement will also further isolate Trump from a Europe which is slowing drifting away from him. After Trump’s recent visit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany (and the Western world) can no longer rely on “others”. Merkel didn’t mention Trump by name, but the message was clear.

Trump says that he will decide on Paris in a few days and it is uncertain whether or not Musk’s threat will make any difference. If Trump hasn’t listened to Musk in the last six months, why would he start now?

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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