Microsoft Corp., Walmart Inc., Apple Inc. and hundreds of other companies are asking President Joe Biden to update the U.S. pledge under the Paris climate accord to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50%, arguing that the future of the economy is at stake if climate change isn’t adequately addressed.
The letter to Biden was signed by 310 companies and comes as the administration prepares a new target to show the rest of the world that the U.S. is serious about confronting climate change after four years of inaction by Donald Trump. People familiar with the deliberations said last week that the White House was considering a target of 50% or higher reductions by 2030 relative to 2005 levels.
The U.S. is on its way to satisfying a target set under former President Barack Obama, who vowed to reduce planet-warming emissions from 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025 as part of the Paris climate pact. Signatories to the 2015 Paris pact are scheduled to reconvene in November in Scotland and pledge reductions through 2030.
But the businesses, which also included McDonald’s Corp. and the Coca-Cola Company, argue that cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 is attainable.
“To restore the standing of the U.S. as a global leader, we need to address the climate crisis at the pace and scale it demands,” the companies added. “A bold 2030 target is needed to catalyze a zero-emissions future, spur a robust economic recovery, create millions of well-paying jobs, and allow the U.S. to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic.”
The Biden administration is expected to unveil its new climate target before an international climate summit it is convening in Washington later this month. An aggressive target, part of a White House push to encourage worldwide action to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels, would require broad action to clamp down on planet-warming pollution from power plants, automobiles, oil wells and agriculture.
“If you raise the bar on our national ambition, we will raise our own ambition to move the U.S. forward on this journey,” the companies said in the letter. “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.”© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.