Tech's biggest players tackle climate change despite rollbacks

The president signed an executive order Tuesday rescinding many Obama-era climate policies.

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Stefanie Fogel
March 30, 2017 5:41 PM

Some of America's biggest tech companies say they're still committed to battling climate change, Bloomberg reports, two days after President Trump signed a sweeping executive order that rolls back many Obama-era climate policies. Not only will it be good for the environment, they say, it will be good for their bottom line.

Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft are some of the 154 companies that agreed to embrace clean energy during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. The American Business Act on Climate Pledge set ambitious, concrete goals like reducing emissions by 50 percent and water usage by 80 percent, achieving zero waste-to-landfill and purchasing 100 percent renewable energy.

"We believe that strong clean energy and climate policies, like the Clean Power Plan, can make renewable energy supplies more robust and address the serious threat of climate change while also supporting American competitiveness, innovation, and job growth," the companies said in a joint statement.

But, President Trump's executive order targets those environmentally friendly policies. Under the order, the current administration can rewrite carbon emission rules for new and existing power plants, and it won't have to consider how federal actions might impact climate change when conducting National Environmental Policy Act reviews. The order will also restart the federal coal leasing program, which allows energy companies to buy the rights to mine on federal lands.

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Their stance is in opposition to lobbyist organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Independent Petroleum Association of America, who support the executive order. They believe it will stimulate the US energy market and the economy, and allow for the construction of more highways, bridges and railroads.

Still, many companies are expressing disappointment with the order, and say they still support Obama's policies. "Most big companies in the US recognize that climate change is real," Geoffrey M. Heal, a professor at Columbia Business School, told Bloomberg. "They need to move ahead on the climate change front no matter what Trump's government does."

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