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Apple, Google, Autodesk leaders pledge to uphold Paris agreement

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The U.S.’s largest corporations and universities join hundreds of cities and states in coordinated climate action

Peter Aaron/Esto
Apple, the most valuable company in the world, is among hundreds of brands endorsing the global climate accord
Peter Aaron/Esto

A broad coalition of leaders from businesses and universities including the world’s biggest companies like Apple and Google have joined hundreds of city and state governments pledging to uphold the Paris climate agreement after President Donald Trump withdrew federal support last Thursday.

The formation of the coalition, which was first reported by Recode, is headed up by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been coordinating an effort to have the group be formally recognized by the United Nations.

The list of over 1,000 groups includes powerful global tech firms like Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook; transportation companies like Tesla, Lyft, and Uber; and notable design corporations like Adobe, Autodesk, Skanska, and Perkins + Will; as well as dozens of smaller architecture, engineering, and infrastructure firms.

A statement on the the website We Are Still In outlines how coordinated actions from industry and education can bolster complementary work by local and regional governments and allow the U.S. to fulfill its commitments to the Paris agreement:

In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities and businesses representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.

We Are Still In is one of many groups that have formed to endorse the Paris accord after President Trump’s announcement, including 211 mayors of the Climate Mayors, and 13 governors who make up the United States Climate Alliance.

What’s notable is that the We Are Still In statement was coordinated among over a dozen groups working on collective climate action, including Climate Mayors and the United States Climate Alliance; city-focused alliances like Bloomberg Philanthropies, C40, and National League of Cities; and environmental organizations like the Rocky Mountain Institute, Sierra Club, and the World Wildlife Fund.

One reason the inclusion of businesses is so critical in the conversation is that corporations drive consumer choices and shape buying habits, especially when it comes to the adoption of new technologies like solar panels and electric vehicles. Companies can also illustrate the economic impact of the climate accord—that moving to renewable energy and reducing emissions can contribute to job creation and market growth. The Trump administration has made the argument that the opposite is true, and that adhering to the Paris agreement will cost the country $3 trillion.

Corporations are now including climate disclosure in financial reports, where they must outline the risks and advantages to shareholders, so they already know the benefits, notes Lynelle Cameron, VP of Sustainability for Autodesk, in a statement.

“We are ready to capitalize on this business opportunity, creating both jobs and profit for shareholders,” she says. “At Autodesk, we are all in, and are more committed than ever to enlist our customers to design, build and manufacture net positive climate solutions.”