Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Corporate America is uniting on climate change.

Consumer brands and industrial giants have been supporting government action on climate change for years. In a shift that is changing the debate, the biggest and most important U.S. energy companies are now dropping their resistance to a global climate deal.

Why it matters: Broader corporate backing of global action on climate change is helping push President Trump away from his campaign promise to pull out of the climate deal, which was struck by nearly 200 nations in Paris two years ago to slow the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The consensus in corporate America is the broadest it's been in a decade when in 2007 an official coalition called the U.S. Climate Action Partnership was formed to push for legislation cutting carbon emissions. Though it dissolved a few years later when Congress didn't act, it included members ranging from ConocoPhillips to Caterpillar to utility Duke Energy. There's no official coalition this time, but the collection of companies is even more diverse.

To varying degrees, most major companies producing coal, natural gas and oil either explicitly back sticking with the 2015 climate deal struck in Paris, or they're opting not to lobby against it, a dramatic shift from just a few years ago. They're not necessarily cheering global efforts to address the issue, but the decision not to oppose it has the same effect as tacit backing.

The reasons corporate America is uniting on global climate policy are many and often depend on the products made and how global a company's operations are:

  • Consumer-facing companies like Starbucks and Pepsi, have long prioritized policies to cut carbon emissions because they don't sell products that directly contribute to the problem. They also have more direct interaction with consumers who like to buy from green-minded corporations.
  • Companies that generate electricity have said, for much of the past decade, that they're moving away from coal toward cleaner burning sources of power, including natural gas and renewables. The Edison Electric Institute, the trade association representing investor-owned utilities, held a reception last year honoring the Paris climate deal after its conclusion, even though it officially doesn't have a position on the deal.
  • Companies with huge global footprints, like General Electric and ExxonMobil, know that pulling out of one diplomatic deal can only weaken the U.S. standing on other geopolitical issues, which could hurt their operations around the world.
  • Publicly traded fossil-fuel companies are facing growing calls from their investors to address climate change, or at least to not fight such policies. This is a newer trend that's gained influence over the past couple of years.
  • Major oil companies, like ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, have increasingly invested in natural gas, which emits 50% less carbon than coal when burned. Companies with big natural gas portfolios will gain with climate policies that accelerate a shift already underway to replace coal with natural gas. ExxonMobil, which bought big natural-gas producer XTO Energy in 2010, sent a letter to the White House in March urging Trump to stay in the deal. That letter followed a tweet by the company's top lobbyist just hours after Trump won the election expressing support for the accord.

Big coal companies remain the most tepid about embracing global efforts on climate change. Nonetheless, U.S. executives know the continued use of coal around the world depends on two things, both which would benefit by staying in a global climate deal: government support for new technologies to burn coal more cleanly and continued U.S. exports of coal. Coal giants Peabody Energy, Arch Coal and Cloud Peak Energy have conveyed this to the White House, according to multiple people familiar with the conversations, and Cloud Peak's CEO, Colin Marshall, sent a letter to Trump about it. Reuters and Politico have had good reports on this development recently.

"It seems absolutely irrational to not at least develop an insurance policy against climate change," Marshall said in an interview with Axios last week. "What if the planet is warming up twice as much as we thought?"

  • The other side: One of the most influential and outspoken outliers is coal producer Murray Energy, whose CEO, Bob Murray, is close to the president. One thing helps explains that company's resistance to the Paris deal: it's privately held, and so it doesn't have to answer to shareholders clamoring for more acknowledgement of climate policy.

To be sure: Trump's EPA is working to get rid of the Obama administration's main commitment to the Paris deal: carbon rules for power plants. Staying in the Paris deal but gutting the main U.S. pledge doesn't leave much meat on the bones, making it easier for more corporations to back it.

What's next: White House officials have said they will make a decision by an end of May meeting of the G-7 nations in Italy whether to stay in the Paris deal.

(Harder Line will be a weekly column by Amy Harder where she offers up informed and unbiased analysis of the energy industry and environmental regulation, along with scoops, trends and exclusive interviews. Look for the column weekly at www.axios.com, and highlighted in the Generate newsletter which you can sign up for here.)

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Netanyahu is out as new Israeli government survives confidence vote

Photo: Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images

Israel has a new prime minister for the first time since 2009 after a power-sharing government led by Naftali Bennett survived a confidence vote on Sunday. Bennett was sworn in as prime minister.

Why it matters: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister and the man around whom Israeli politics have revolved for a decade, will now become opposition leader. Bennett, a right-wing former Netanyahu protege, will lead the most ideologically diverse government in Israeli history.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Afghanistan, cyber defense on the agenda for Biden in Brussels

Joe Biden arrives at Melsbroek Military Airport in Brussels on June 13. Photo: Yves Herman/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden touched down in Brussels on Sunday evening ahead of two days of talks with NATO and European Union leaders as part of his first foreign trip as president.

Driving the news: Biden was greeted on the tarmac by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and a slate of other officials, including Douglas Jones and Mark Libby, the U.S. Permanent Representatives to NATO and the EU respectively.

Maersk CEO: Global businesses should be wary of politics

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

The CEO of the world's largest container-shipping company cautions that international firms have to be careful of taking political stances.

  • What they're saying: "We cannot run a global business if we start to have views on politics in every single country that we are in," Maersk CEO Søren Skou tells "Axios on HBO."