Gov. Jerry Brown, Silicon Valley leaders vow continued climate change focus

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown and top Silicon Valley tech business leaders are denouncing President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the international Paris Climate Accord agreement.

The governor and tech leaders said they would continue to fight climate change despite the decision by Trump.

Trump's announcement means the U.S. will not participate in the voluntary reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and will not pay the remaining $2 billion pledged contribution to the international Green Climate Fund.

Brown immediately blasted the President's action.

"If anything, Paris was criticized for not going far enough," Brown said Thursday.

The governor said California will continue with its goal of having 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2045.

He also said California will continue investing in clean technology and clean energy jobs, saying that California's job growth in those areas has proven Trump wrong.

"Our economy is growing much faster than the national average," Brown said. "So we are doing what President Trump says is impossible. We're observing the Paris Agreement, or its equivalent, and we're creating jobs."

Brown and other state leaders formed an alliance Thursday to continue limiting greenhouse gas emissions without President Trump and Washington.

And Silicon Valley tech leaders released a swift series of Twitter posts saying they opposed President Trump's action.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who serves on several advisory councils for the Trump administration announced on Twitter that he is "departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world."

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the CEOs of Google, Salesforce and Apple also vowed to continue the climate change battle, despite the Trump pull out.

Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a letter to employees assuring that, "Today's developments will have no impact on Apple's efforts to protect the environment."

Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger announced he would leave his post on one of President Trump's advisory councils, saying "As a matter of principle, I've resigned from the president's council over the #parisagreement withdrawal."

Governor Brown departs Friday for a five-day trip to China to meet with leaders there about climate change.

China, India and European countries have all promised to continue with the historic Paris Accord that was signed by 195 countries. President Trump's withdrawal from the landmark pact places the United States with Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries that are not part of the agreement.

The Sierra Club's Executive Director Michael Brune said the United States is missing an important political and economic opportunity and could be left behind.

"It will be an abdication of leadership," Brune said. "It will say the United States is not ready to lead on issues of great global importance. It will be a big blow."

Brune and others say President Trump's rejection of the Paris Climate Accord is a call to action.

"If the president says he's going to do less, we'll all have to do more," Brune said.

"The seas are rising and so are we," said Maraya Keny-Guyer, a Yale University student was one of several dozen people who joined a group protest on a street corner in Palo Alto near Stanford University a few hours after the Trump announcement.

"It's frustrating to look at the news. But I also think when you come to events like this, and hear the honking and support, it's really heartening," Keny-Guyer said.

Paul George, Director of the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center organized the event after seeing the president's announcement.

"I felt sick in the pit of my stomach," George said. "He said things like 'The Paris Agreement threatens our sovereignty.' It does not. It is a totally voluntary agreement it doesn't threaten anybody's sovereignty."

"To the degree possible, influence your local government to implement community choice energy to push up the line," said Melanie Liu of Palo Alto.

By KTVU reporter Jana Katsuyama

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