Rachel Koning Beals
More than 400 businesses and investors, including tech and consumer giants and major utilities, say they back the Biden administration in setting an ambitious climate-change goal that would cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.
Reports Tuesday said the president was near to making such a pledge . An initial open letter from the group of major companies has picked up additional signatories since its initial release earlier this week, taking the tally to 400 from 300-plus names , said green investing advocate Ceres.
That emissions-cutting target would nearly double the U.S.’s previous commitment on emissions reduction and the time horizon would require dramatic changes in the power and transportation sectors and elsewhere throughout the economy, analysts say.
Ranging from small companies to major corporations, signatories to the open letter employ a combined 6 million U.S. workers across all 50 states and represent more than $4 trillion in annual revenue.
Biden is considering policy options for expected carbon reductions by 2030 ahead of a virtual international climate summit he is hosting April 22-23 as the administration looks to reup the U.S. leadership role on climate change.
A 2030 target is considered a nonbinding Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and is a key milestone as Biden moves the nation toward his ultimate goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
This week’s letter was organized by the “We Mean Business” coalition, a group of companies that support action to accelerate the transition to a carbon-free economy. Green investing advocates Ceres also promoted the effort.
Participants include Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.20% Alphabet’s Google /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +0.34% Microsoft MSFT , Walmart WMT , Unilever UL , and Coca-Cola /zigman2/quotes/209159848/composite KO -0.26% . Also signing: Exelon EXC , General Electric GE , General Motors GM , PG&E PCG , Edison International EIX and dozens others.
“Many of us have set or are setting emissions reduction goals in line with climate science since the establishment of the Paris Agreement. The private sector has purchased renewable energy at record rates and along with countless cities across the country, many have committed themselves to a net zero emissions future,” they wrote.
“If you raise the bar on our national ambition, we will raise our own ambition to move the U.S. forward on this journey. While an effective national climate strategy will require all of us, you alone can set the course by swiftly establishing a bold U.S. 2030 target,” the letter said.
Investor signatories of the letter collectively represent more than $1 trillion in assets under management and include pension giants CalSTRS, the New York State Comptroller, the New York City Comptroller and the California State Controller’s Office, among others.
Millions of Americans are already feeling the impacts of climate change, the business leaders wrote, including severe winter storm that caused blackouts in Texas and other states, deadly wildfires in California and record-breaking hurricanes in the Southeast and Gulf Coast.
“The human and economic losses of the past 12 months alone are profound,” they wrote. “Tragically, these devastating climate impacts also disproportionately hit marginalized and low-income communities who are least able to withstand them. We must act now to slow and turn the tide.”
While Biden has returned the U.S. to the Paris climate accord after President Trump’s withdrawal and Biden has made climate action a major theme of his presidency so far, more action is needed, the business leaders said. “An effective national climate strategy will require all of us,” they told Biden, but “you alone can set the course by swiftly establishing a bold U.S. 2030 target.”
In a related step, dozens of European lawmakers, business executives and union leaders on Tuesday also urged the U.S. to slash its greenhouse gas emissions in half in the coming decade. They called for a trans-Atlantic alliance for a “just and sustainable transition” toward a low-carbon economy, the Associated Press reported.