The United States as a whole may not be participating in the Paris Agreement, but that hasn’t stopped technology and electronics companies from pledging their individual commitments to combatting climate change.
Initially adopted in 2015, the Paris Agreement was developed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and addresses greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance. Starting in the year 2020, the agreement will bring together nations into a “common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so.”
Combatting Climate Change
According to the UNFCCC, the Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by “keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” The accord also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change and provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework.
In June, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement—a move that didn’t sit well with a number of high-profile technology companies. In Supply Chain 247’s Technology Companies React to Trump’s Decision to Withdraw From Paris Climate Agreement, the author noted that “many of the big tech companies are currently transitioning their giant, energy-guzzling data centers to using completely renewable energy.” As such, the pushback against the U.S. Paris Agreement withdrawal was swift, with some executives “more measured than others in expressing their dismay, but the tech industry's biggest voices all made it clear that they viewed Trump's move as a grave mistake.”
“Disappointed with today’s decision, Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all,” Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted. Apple CEO Tim Cook took a similar stance, noting that “Decision to withdraw from the #ParisAgreement was wrong for our planet. Apple is committed to fight climate change and we will never waver.”
And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg concurred with, “Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children's future at risk. For our part, we've committed that every new data center we build will be powered by 100% renewable energy. Stopping climate change is something we can only do as a global community, and we have to act together before it's too late.”
The list of eco-conscious tech firms goes on, and includes Twitter, Square, Salesforce, Microsoft, and Tesla—all of which on some level expressed concern over the President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. In Microsoft's Reaction to the White House Announcement on the Paris Agreement, President Brad Smith writes that the tech giant believes that climate change is an “urgent issue” that demands global action.
“We have a longstanding commitment to sustainability, which includes operating 100 percent carbon neutral and setting goals to increase the amount of green energy to power our operations,” Smith writes. “We all live on a small planet and every nation needs to work with others to protect it. We’ve been a steadfast supporter of the Paris Agreement, from encouraging nations to come to an agreement in 2015 to urging the U.S. to ratify the agreement in 2016.”
“We Are Still In”
Going by the name “We Are Still In,” a coalition led by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg appears to be leading the charge, and currently comprises 1,000 cities, counties, states, universities, and businesses, according to CBS’ Paris climate agreement: Tech giants say "We are still in."
"In the absence of a supportive federal coordinating role, [city, state, business, and civil society] actors will more closely coordinate their own decarbonization actions,” Bloomberg stated in a letter to the UN, as reported by CBS. “Collectively, they will redouble their efforts to ensure that the U.S. achieves the carbon emissions reductions it pledged under the Paris Agreement. We do not intend to slow down."