Climate change is real, and an overwhelming majority of scientists and researchers in various fields have put the blame for the gradual warming of the Earth squarely on mankind. At this point, there’s really no denying it unless you’re willing to ignore countless studies from every developed nation. That’s why, when Donald Trump announced that he was pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement, it was met with backlash from democrats, republicans, and countless US allies. Tim Cook and Elon Musk are leading the charge against the decision from Silicon Valley, but not everyone believes they’re both in it for the right reasons.
Elon Musk, who was chosen to be on Trump’s advisory council, was steadfast in his support of the climate act, and announced that he would be leaving the council entirely if the United States indeed pulled out. Yesterday, after Trump’s announcement, Musk did exactly that, following through on his word and becoming the de facto symbol of resistance in the tech sphere. But Musk is a businessman, and that is ultimately his biggest flaw — at least for some observers.
Elon Musk runs companies that directly benefit from a decreased reliance on fossil fuels. The electric car company Tesla, which absorbed Musk’s other green venture, SolarCity, is at the forefront of the green energy movement. A 2015 report by the LA Times pegged Elon Musk’s total haul from government subsidies at nearly $5 billion, spread across his companies. The Paris Agreement was absolutely in the best interest of the world and climate, but it was also in the best interest of Musk’s businesses, and that automatically makes him an extremely flawed representative of the movement.
Tim Cook, who just came out with a statement slamming the decision to withdraw from the pact and declaring his unwavering support of green technologies, renewable energy, and a decreased reliance on any and all materials which are harvested at the expense of the planet, has long been the tech industry’s conscience.
Cook has not only stood firmly in favor of green energy and pro-planet thinking, he’s also been extremely bold at times when the topic of profit-over-corporate-responsibility reared its ugly head. Cook, you might remember, even famously told investors who demand profit at the expense of all else to “get out” out Apple stock, noting that the company’s responsibility to the future of the Earth and mankind was top of mind, and profit would follow that. If you’re looking for someone who exemplifies the priorities of the Paris Agreement, look no further.