Executives call on Biden to slash greenhouse gas emissions to curb climate change

U.S. President Joe Biden joins a CEO Summit on Semiconductor and Supply Chain Resilience via video conference from the Roosevelt Room at the White House on April 12, 2021 in Washington, DC.

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More than 300 businesses and investors have called on President Joe Biden to nearly double U.S. targets to reduce planet-warming emissions below 2005 levels by 2030.

In a letter published on Tuesday, corporate leaders from companies like Google, Apple, Walmart, Unilever and General Electric praised the Biden administration for re-joining the global Paris climate accord and aggressively addressing climate change.

The push by executives of some of the country’s largest companies to set a goal to slash emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases by at least 50% — a target in line with what environmental groups want — comes ahead of the global leaders’ climate summit the administration is hosting April 22.

The Biden administration plans to unveil a stricter emissions target for the Paris accord on or before the summit of world leaders. The Obama administration set out to cut emissions up to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, but former President Donald Trump halted federal efforts to meet that target and pulled the U.S. from the Paris accord.

The companies that signed the letter comprise more than $3 trillion in annual revenue and more than $1 trillion in assets. The letter indicates a shift by the private sector to address their own climate change impact and better align with the goals of the Biden administration, which has vowed to put the country on a path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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Biden’s climate ambitions, including a sweeping infrastructure package that invests heavily in clean energy technologies, would be paid for largely by raising corporate tax rates, a move that could trigger objections from some of the very corporations who signed the letter.

The president has also promised to adopt new regulations for fossil fuel producers, automobiles and electric utilities. Signatories of the letter include utilities like PG&E Corporation and Exelon but no notable oil and gas companies.

“Many of us have set or are setting emissions reduction goals in line with climate science since the establishment of the Paris agreement,” corporate leaders wrote in the letter. “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.”

Nearly every country in the world is part of the Paris agreement, a landmark nonbinding accord among nearly 200 nations to reduce their planet-warming emissions. The U.S. is the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

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