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March 30, 2017, 7:53 a.m. EDT

In rebuke to Trump, GE chief says ‘climate change is real’

Jeffrey Immelt said he believes climate change should be addressed via multinational agreements

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By Thomas Gryta


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General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt

General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt defended efforts to reduce emissions and fight climate change, after President Donald Trump reversed rules that pushed U.S. utilities to use cleaner-burning fuels.

In a blog post to employees Wednesday, Immelt highlighted the administration’s move and said climate change “should be addressed on a global basis through multi-national agreements” such as the 2015 Paris Agreement. The U.S. hasn’t withdrawn from that agreement, but the executive order has raised concern it will be hard to reach the pact’s targets.

“We believe climate change is real and the science is well accepted,” Immelt wrote. “We hope that the United States continues to play a constructive role in furthering solutions to these challenges.”

Click to Play

President Trump Rolls Back Obama Climate Policies

President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday that begins the process of reversing climate change policies put in place by President Obama, including his predecessor's Clean Power Plan. WSJ's Shelby Holliday has the details. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

Immelt has managed to avoid conflict with President Trump, who has been known to lash out at companies, especially on Twitter. The GE leader /zigman2/quotes/208495069/composite GE +0.29%  visited the White House in February and supports some administration policy plans, such as revising the tax code. He also has defended globalization at a time when many countries are taking a more-nationalist stance. In the post, Immelt said companies have to “have their own ‘foreign policy’” and “learn to adjust to political volatility all over the world.”

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com .

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/zigman2/quotes/208495069/composite
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