General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt says President Donald Trump’s imagination is at work if he doesn’t believe in climate change science or the Paris agreement that President Barack Obama signed onto before leaving office.
And Immelt is calling on other companies to step up to fill the void that the administration is leaving behind.
“Companies must be resilient and learn to adjust to political volatility all over the world,” Immelt wrote Wednesday in an internal company blog post obtained by POLITICO. “Companies must have their own ‘foreign policy’ and create technology and solutions that address local needs for our customers and society.”
Immelt has been GE’s CEO since 2000, and is often seen as one of the country’s major business leaders.
Taking aim at Trump’s latest executive order rolling back Obama-era energy regulations, which was signed Tuesday, Immelt said the company’s incorporation of green technology in response to “well accepted” climate change science has had a demonstrable effect both on environmental protection on improving company profits.
“We believe climate change should be addressed on a global basis through multi-national agreements, such as the Paris Agreement. We hope that the United States continues to play a constructive role in furthering solutions to these challenges, and at GE, we will continue to lead with our technology and actions,” Immelt wrote.
This isn’t the first time Immelt has taken issue with Trump. Responding to the first travel ban, Immelt wrote in another blog post, “I understand many of you are very concerned about the potential impacts of this order and I share your concern.”
Citing the company’s diverse group of employees, Immelt promised, “we will continue to make our voice heard with the new administration and Congress and reiterate the importance of this issue to GE and to the business community overall.”
Under Obama, Immelt served as the head of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. But he frequently caused heartburn for the Obama White House, including criticizing the president for cutting into his company’s profit margins because of Obamacare, and for revelations of GE’s workarounds on the corporate tax code.
Immelt has previously expressed openness to Trump, particularly on regulatory reform.
“We will be less of a leader in trade. Meanwhile, we are stripping away years of bad regulatory and economic practices to promote competitiveness,” he wrote in a letter to shareholders at the end of last year.
Then, in a February interview with CNBC, Immelt said that he hoped to work with the president on job creation.
“I would say to the president, ‘Look, level the playing field. We can take on any company in the world. Help us do that,'” Immelt told Jim Cramer then.
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