Staying in the Paris accord could also face resistance from within Trump's party. At least 55 parties to the UNFCCC had to ratify the agreement for it to take effect. "The United States has spoken enough about North Korea", Tillerson said.
Trump has yet to make a formal decision on the Paris climate pact but vowed during the campaign that he'd pull the USA out of the global deal.
Other big coal companies, like Murray Energy Corp. want Trump to pull out of the agreement completely. Even Exxon-Mobile, a company accused of covering up the link between fossil fuel use and climate change, has publicly called for the Trump administration to recommit America to the Paris Climate Accord.
"The future is foreign markets, so the last thing you want to do if you are a coal company is to give up a US seat in the worldwide climate discussions and let the Europeans control the agenda", said the official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.
China still burns more coal than any other nation, but its consumption of the dirtiest fossil fuel fell in 2016 for a third consecutive year.
The tech companies have all been supportive of the environmentally friendly initiatives of the previous administration and will stick to them. "It was a sign of the maturity of the relationship that we could do both at the same time".
Jonathan Koomey, an earth systems lecturer at Stanford University, said there isn't much Trump administration policy can do to stop coal's fall. However, Bonacorsi did not directly address the company's position on the Paris agreement. "Even if you brought back demand for coal, you wouldn't bring back the same number of workers", stated Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program (The New York Times).
Trump ally and Murray Energy Corp. Fox News is reporting that Richard Reavey, Cloud Peak's vice president of government affairs, said staying in the accord and trying to create "a more balanced, reasonable and appropriate path forward" on fossil fuel technologies is the best way to go. In a 2007 speech to the New York Coal Trade Association, Murray called former Vice President Al Gore "the shaman of global gloom and doom" and added "he is more risky than his global warming".
The utilities gave many reasons, mainly economic: Natural gas - coal's top competitor - is cheap and abundant; solar and wind power costs are falling; state environmental laws remain in place; and Trump's regulatory rollback may not survive legal challenges.
The likelihood of coal jobs coming back, however, isn't high. The plan itself was part of the promise Obama had made that the United States would cut its emissions of greenhouse gasses by about 26 percent by the end of 2025. They have begun switching to less harmful renewable energy sources.
Numerous companies in the Reuters survey said they had been focused on reducing carbon emissions for a decade or more and were hesitant to change direction based on shifting political winds in Washington D.C. Smaller companies, in contrast, are less able to afford the cost of compliance, putting them at a competitive disadvantage and perhaps forcing them out of business entirely.
Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) said today that he has vocalized his objections to Paris to the White House, telling officials they should "cut a new deal" that encourages innovation and technology rather than demonizing coal.
The alterations first reported by E&E News come a bit more than a week after Politico reported employees at the Energy Departments Office of International Climate and Clean Energy were told to not include the words climate change, emissions reduction or Paris Agreement in written communications.