Ahead of a high-level meeting at the White House today on the Paris climate accord, some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are pressing President Donald Trump to stay in the agreement.
On Monday Cheniere Energy Executive Vice President Anatol Feygin sent a letter to the White House saying, “domestic energy companies are better positioned to compete globally if the United States remains a party to the Paris Agreement.”
“There is a global shift to use natural gas in power generation to reduce carbon emissions and traditional air pollution. Cheniere believes the 2015 Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is a useful instrument for fostering demand for America’s energy resources and supporting the continued growth of American industry.”
The letter comes ahead of a high-stakes meeting, in which Trump’s Cabinet and adviser are reportedly at odds over whether or not the country should stay in the Paris agreement, which the leaders of close to 200 countries agreed to in 2015.
A final decision is not expected until May, ahead of G7 summit in Italy, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said late last month.
Secretary of States Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, is believed to be among the officials lobbying for remaining in the pact, arguing it gives the country a “seat at the table” in international talks, as he told Congress during his confirmation hearing earlier this year. On the other side is Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who in a television interview last week called the accord “a bad deal for America.”
Pruitt’s comments lined him up with some of the fossil fuel industry’s most vocal critics of climate change policy, including Harold Hamm, CEO of Oklahoma-based Continental Resources, and Bob Murray, CEO of coal mining giant Murray Energy.
“Cancel the Paris climate treaty and any other agreements entered into unilaterally and without the consent of Congress,” Hamm wrote in a letter to Trump before his inauguration, according to the New York Times.
David Banks, special assistant to the President for international energy and environment, has been reaching out to U.S. energy companies to get their opinion ahead of the meeting. Last month Exxon Mobil responded, expressing its ongoing belief that Paris offers, “an effective framework for addressing the risks of climate change.”
That aligns Exxon with most of the world’s major oil companies, including BP and Shell, both of which have their U.S. headquarters in Houston.
“BP welcomed the Paris agreement when it was signed, and we continue to support it. More broadly, we believe it’s possible to provide the energy the world needs while also addressing the climate challenge,” Geoff Morrell, BP’s senior vice president of U.S. communications and external affairs, wrote in an email.