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Apple, Google and Coca-Cola among 300-plus companies pushing Biden for 50% emissions cut as soon as 2030

Rachel Koning Beals

'An effective national climate strategy will require all of us," business leaders told Biden, but 'you alone can set the course by swiftly establishing a bold U.S. 2030 target.'

More than 300 businesses and investors, including tech giants and major utilities, are calling on the Biden administration to set an ambitious climate-change goal that would cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.

That 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 sent Tuesday employ a combined 6 million U.S. workers across all 50 states and represent more than $3 trillion in annual revenue.

President 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.

Biden's climate envoy John Kerry is headed to China and South Korea later this week to lay the groundwork on climate-change initiatives ahead of the late-month conference. China's adherence to its own emissions-reduction pledges and the role of climate change in trade talks are sticking points between the Biden administration and congressional Republicans.

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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. Biden has pledged to reveal the 2030 goal before the Earth Day summit opens April 22.

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Tuesday's letter, which also counts Microsoft(MSFT), Walmart(WMT), Unilever(ULVR.LN), Exelon(EXC), General Electric(GE), PG&E(PCG) and Edison International(EIX) among the participants, 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.

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.

Read the full list of participants (link).

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."

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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.

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-Rachel Koning Beals; 415-439-6400;


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-13-21 1650ET

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