Hundreds of US business and investors have signed an open letter to President Biden to show their support for his commitment to climate action and for setting a federal climate target to reduce emissions. The letter, organized and published by We Mean Business and Ceres, encourages the Biden administration to formally adopt an emissions reduction target that will cut GHG emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, and to “place the country on a credible pathway to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.”
The Biden administration is expected to announce its “nationally determined contribution” (NDC), pursuant to the Paris Agreement, prior to the Leaders Summit on Climate it is hosting April 22-23.
We Mean Business is a global coalition of nonprofit organizations working businesses to take action on climate change. The coalition — which brings together organizations including BSR, CDP, Ceres, The B Team, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development — hopes to “catalyze business action to drive policy ambition and accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy.”
Business signatories of the letter collectively represent over $3 trillion in annual revenue. They range in size from SMEs to large multinational corporations, including: Apple, Ben & Jerry’s, the Coca-Cola Company, Danone North America, Edison International, Etsy, Facebook, General Electric, Google, H&M, Hewlett Packard, IKEA, JLL, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg Company, LafargeHolcim, Levi Strauss & Co., Lyft, MARS, MasterCard, McDonald’s, Microsoft, New Belgium Brewing, Nike, Ørsted North America, Ralph Lauren Corporation, Salesforce, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Starbucks, Stonyfield Organic, Unilever, VF Corporation, and Walmart, among others.
Investor signatories of the letter collectively represent more than $1 trillion in assets under management and include CalSTRS, the New York State Comptroller, the New York City Comptroller and the California State Controller’s Office, among others.
With the letter, the US business community is once again signaling its willingness to doing its part to reduce emissions. Supporting the effort to halve US emissions by 2030 is “what the climate crisis requires,” says María Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business coalition. She adds, “This is what the climate crisis requires, and will strengthen the country’s competitiveness and create more good jobs.”
Anne Kelly, VP of government relations at Ceres, says that a strong national emissions reduction target is “just what we need to catalyze a net-zero emissions future and build back a more equitable and inclusive economy.” Reducing emissions is vital to keeping the US competitive, she says.
The Leaders Summit on Climate will reconvene the US-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which brings together 17 countries responsible for approximately 80% of global emissions and global GDP. The President also invited the heads of other countries that are demonstrating strong climate leadership, are especially vulnerable to climate impacts, or are charting innovative pathways to a net-zero economy. A small number of business and civil society leaders will also participate in the summit.
Biden says elements of the summit will include exploring the economic benefits of climate action, with a strong emphasis on job creation, and the importance of ensuring all communities and workers benefit from the transition to a new clean energy economy. It will also brainstorm how to spur transformational technologies that can help reduce emissions and adapt to climate change, while also creating economic opportunities and building the “industries of the future.”
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