Elon Musk is expected to urge Trump not to abandon the Paris climate agreement

April Glaser

Elon Musk is joining President-elect Trump's policy advisory council, despite his comments before the election that Trump "doesn't seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States."

Still, it's probably in Musk's favor to work with the incoming administration, especially as it starts to shape new policies that are dear to Musk's heart, like regulations to bring self-driving cars to U.S. roadways and whether to abide by the 2015 Paris climate agreement or pull out, a threat Trump made on the campaign trail.

Elon Musk
Tim Rue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

That doesn't sit well with Musk, who will likely urge the Trump administration to remain a signatory on the international climate accord. Reps for Musk did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Shortly after Trump won the election, his team began sketching a plan to abandon the the Paris accord, reported Reuters. And Trump's pick to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt, doesn't think climate change science is real.

Musk, on the other hand, has long advocated for the U.S. to institute a gradual carbon tax, which he says is the only viable way to spur a transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable forms of energy.

Trump is unlikely to warm up to the idea of another tax — he's promised to cut taxes across the board.

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Even so, Musk might be able to persuade the president-elect not to renege on the Paris agreement, which already lacks strong mechanisms for enforcement.

Rex Tillerson, Trump's pick for secretary of state and CEO of Exxon Mobil, also supported U.S. participation in the climate talks and endorsed the idea of a national carbon tax. Tillerson may also urge Trump not to leave the Paris deal.

Musk has a financial incentive for wanting the U.S. to start thinking progressively about transitioning from fossil fuel. Musk's company Tesla acquired SolarCity, a leading U.S. firm building solar-powered energy systems, last month.

Trump has previously said that he's convinced climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

Watch Elon Musk's speech at the Sorbonne in 2015, where he urged students to "talk to your politicians, ask them to enact a carbon tax" and to "fight the propaganda from the carbon industry."

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