US Corporate Leaders Commit $140B to Support UN Climate Change Goals

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Climate Change

Enough talk, America’s corporate titans are getting serious about climate change. Thirteen leading US-headquartered global companies — Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca-Cola, Google, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS and Walmart — on Monday joined forces with the White House and signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge.

U.S. business coalition climate change action White House July 2015

The pledge represents a commitment to expand renewable energy use and cut greenhouse gas emissions and water use. In addition to supporting the White House’s climate change goals, the agreement sets the stage for December’s COP21  UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, which is viewed as the last chance to restrict manmade global warming to an upper limit of 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, reports Mashable.

White House climate change President Obama

Those signing the American Business Act on Climate Pledge are agreeing to voice support for a strong Paris outcome, demonstrate an ongoing commitment to climate action, and set an example for their peers.

“We’re serious about environmental sustainability not because it’s trendy, but because it’s core to our values and also makes good business sense,” stated Google chairman Eric Schmidt in a blog post. “After all, the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use in the first place. And in many places clean power is cost-competitive with conventional power.”

Berkshire Hathaway vowed to retire 75 percent of its coal-fueled generating capacity in Nevada by 2019, while Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have both committed to reduce the carbon footprint of their businesses. Bank of America, meanwhile, has committed to expand its environmental business investment from $50 billion to $125 billion by 2025.

In addition to company-specific goals, the White House said that Monday’s announcements total at least $140 billion in new low-carbon investment and more than 1,600 MW of new renewable energy.

The 13 signatories represent more than $1.3 trillion in revenue as of 2014 and a combined market capitalization of at least $2.5 trillion. Their economic muscle holds sway in the economic currents of our nation and our planet.

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“No corner of the planet and no sector of the global economy will remain unaffected by climate change in the years ahead,” states the White House fact sheet.

As President Obama commented at the UN Climate Summit in September 2014, “There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”

America’s corporate rallying on climate change coincides with projections of 2015 being the hottest year on record worldwide, beating the record high set just last year. Last month was the hottest June since US weather record-keeping began in 1880.

While the White House still faces serious opposition in Congress, where many Republicans still dispute scientific findings on manmade global warming, the coalition shows the world that America’s global brand leaders and private sector are committed to a sustainable future.

Still, voluntary efforts are just the beginning, with many calling for government-mandated climate action policies and a greater commitment to actions such as those outlined by the Ceres Climate Declaration, which has signed up more than 1,200 US businesses to date.

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