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Big corporations up pressure on Trump to stay in Paris pact

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

New this morning: Over a dozen major companies are joining the ranks of corporate giants who are publicly pressing the White House to remain in the Paris climate accord.

Who's in favor: Companies sending a new letter to President Donald Trump include tech giants Google, Microsoft and Intel; oil majors BP and Shell; and other large entities like Walmart, General Mills, Unilever and DuPont.

What they're saying: The letter organized by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions argues that staying in the pact helps U.S. economic competitiveness, arguing that climate change presents business risks and opportunities.

  • "U.S. business interests are best served by a stable and practical framework facilitating an effective and balanced global response. We believe the Paris Agreement provides such a framework."

Happening Thursday: A closed-door White House meeting, where competing factions of high-level officials discuss the administration's approach to the Paris climate change accord. Politico first reported the meeting, which was confirmed by Axios. A decision is expected by late May about whether to begin pulling out of the 2015 pact.

  • Flashback: The meeting was supposed to happen last week but was scuttled.

Where it stands: Internal lines were defined a little sharper yesterday. Energy secretary Rick Perry said publicly that he's in the camp that supports staying in the accord, but altering the U.S. commitment.

  • That puts the Energy secretary at odds with EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who are are pushing for Trump to stick with his campaign promise to bail. Forces inside the administration in the "remain" camp include White House senior advisor Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Once you're in it, you're in it: On Capitol Hill, GOP West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a coal industry ally, told Axios that at this point it's best to stay. "I would prefer that we weren't in it, but I think that the ramifications of pulling out right now — we might be able to do better work if we stay in and reach more reasonable parameters," she said.

Not too late to bail:

But Wyoming GOP Sen. John Barrasso, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee and whose state is the largest coal producer, told reporters yesterday that he's still advocating for the U.S. to pull out.

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