Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger said they would leave White House advisory councils after US President Donald Trump said he would withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
Trump decided to pull the US from the landmark 2015 global agreement designed to fight climate change despite entreaties from US allies and corporate leaders in an action that fulfilled a major campaign pledge.
"Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," Musk said in a Twitter post.
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017
He is a member of the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, a business advisory group, and Trump's manufacturing jobs council.
Musk said that he had done "all I can" to convince Trump to stay in the accord, and threatened to leave the presidential advisory councils if Trump announced a US exit from the accord.
Iger wrote on Twitter that "as a matter of principle, I've resigned from the President's Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawal." He is leaving the business advisory group.
As a matter of principle, I've resigned from the President's Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawal.— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) June 1, 2017
Uber Technologies CEO Travis Kalanick quit the business advisory council in February amid pressure from activists and employees who opposed the administration's immigration policies.
Trump created the business advisory group in December before taking office to assist him in making policy decisions.
The group is led by Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of Blackstone Group, and includes Indra Nooyi, the chief executive of PepsiCo and Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase.
BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink said last night he would continue to serve on Trump's CEO Forum, despite reservations about the White House decision to withdraw from the Paris accord.
"I accepted the invitation to serve on the President's CEO Forum because I believe I can contribute to the policy dialogue in Washington and serve as a voice for investors," Fink said in a statement.
"I am a strong believer that our industry needs to have a voice with governments around the world," said Fink, whose company is the world's largest asset manager, with $5.4 trillion under management.
"I do not agree with all of the president's policies and decisions, including today's announcement to exit the US from the Paris Agreement which I believe is a critical step forward in addressing climate change."
Asked about Musk's resignation, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox News that "anybody who read the agreement and understood it would realise that this was not really about climate, this was about US money going to other countries and it didn’t solve the climate problem."
Musk has met with Trump several times and spoken with him about the long-term goal of his company SpaceX for flights to Mars carrying humans.
Meanwhile, General Motors said its CEO Mary Barra would remain on the presidential advisory panel, adding that her participation "provides GM a seat at an important table to contribute to a constructive dialogue about key policy issues."
In 2013, GM signed a declaration joining other major companies arguing that responding to climate change was good business.
The car maker said last night that despite the withdrawal it "will not waver from our commitment to the environment."
Trump decision gets mixed response from US companies
Donald Trump has said that withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accord would stave off an economic crisis and protect American jobs - but many American companies seemed to disagree.
Criticism of his decision rolled in from blue-chip companies like Facebook, Apple and Microsoft.
And the response from fossil fuel groups with the most to gain from a relaxation of US carbon emissions standards was muted.
The president of the World Coal Association, Benjamin Sporton, told Reuters that he had mixed feelings about Trump's announcement, adding he was eager to see a US policy that actively promotes a place for coal in the global energy mix.
"What we really need to see, if the president wants to re-enter the deal, is that he can change the agreement to recognise the role of all sources of energy, including coal," Sporton said,
He adding that his group had described to administration officials the benefits of remaining in the agreement.
The American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry's biggest trade group, meanwhile, issued a statement saying it had never taken an official position on the Paris accord.
A number of its members, including Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips, had publicly supported the deal.
"For us, our position on the Paris agreement... we need a framework like that to address the risks of climate change," Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods said.
Some other groups expressed measured support for Trump's decision, saying it provided an opportunity to fix problems with the deal.
Spokespeople for other extractive oil and mining groups, like the National Mining Association and the American Fuel & Petrochemicals Manufacturers, declined to comment on Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris accord.
But a number of other business leaders derided it in forceful terms.
"Today's decision is a setback for the environment and for the US's leadership position in the world," said Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein in his first-ever tweet.
Today's decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) June 1, 2017
"Disappointed with today's decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government," tweeted General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt.
Apple's CEO Tim Cook, meanwhile, posted to Twitter: "Decision to withdraw from the #ParisAgreeement was wrong for our planet" and "Apple is committed to fight climate change and we will never waver".
Decision to withdraw from the #ParisAgreeement was wrong for our planet. Apple is committed to fight climate change and we will never waver.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) June 2, 2017
"Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children's future at risk," wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post.