Today at the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry and senior White House officials will host 13 of the largest companies from across the American economy who are standing with the Obama Administration to launch the American Business Act on Climate Pledge: Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart.
The companies making pledges as part of today’s launch represent more than $1.3 trillion in revenue in 2014 and a combined market capitalization of at least $2.5 trillion.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt worldwide. Nineteen of the 20 hottest years on record occurred in the past two decades. Countries and communities around the world are already being affected by deeper, more persistent droughts, pounded by more severe weather, inundated by bigger storm surges, and imperiled by more frequent and dangerous wildfires. Rising temperatures can lead to more smog, longer allergy seasons, and an increased incidence of extreme-weather-related injuries, all of which imperil public health, particularly for vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and some communities of color. No corner of the planet and no sector of the global economy will remain unaffected by climate change in the years ahead.
Climate change is a global challenge that demands a global response, and President Obama is committed to leading the fight. The President’s Climate Action Plan, when fully implemented, will cut nearly 6 billion tons of carbon pollution through 2030, an amount equivalent to taking all the cars in the United States off the road for more than 4 years. And while the United States is leading on the international stage and the federal government is doing its part to combat climate change, hundreds of private companies, local governments, and foundations have stepped up to increase energy efficiency, boost low-carbon investing, and make solar energy more accessibleto low-income Americans.
The measures taken by the public and private sectors enabled President Obama to set an ambitious but achievable goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 26-28% by 2025 last November—and to do so alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping, who committed for the first time that China would peak their emissions by around 2030.
As the world looks toward global climate negotiations in Paris this December, American leadership at all levels will be essential.
By signing the American Business Act on Climate pledge, these companies are:
- Voicing support for a strong Paris outcome. The pledge recognizes those countries that have already put forward climate targets, and voices support for a strong outcome in the Paris climate negotiations. To date, countries representing nearly 70% of global carbon pollution from the energy sector have announced post-2020 climate policies ahead of Paris.
- Demonstrating an ongoing commitment to climate action. As part of this initiative, each company is announcing significant new pledges to reduce their emissions, increase low-carbon investments, deploy more clean energy, and take other actions to build more sustainable businesses and tackle climate change.
All told, today’s announcements total at least $140 billion in new low-carbon investment and more than 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy, in addition to ambitious, company-specific goals to cut emissions as much as 50 percent, reduce water intensity as much as 15 percent, purchase 100 percent renewable energy, and pursue zero net deforestation in supply chains.
- Setting an example for their peers. Today’s announcements are only the beginning. This fall, the Obama Administration will release a second round of pledges, with a goal of mobilizing many more companies to join the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. In addition, on October 20-21, Secretary Kerry will convene a forum at the State Department to highlight American leadership in climate investment and innovative solutions to our toughest climate finance challenges.
As President Obama said at the U.N. Climate Summit last September, “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.” The American Business Act on Climate Pledge shows that the U.S. private sector, with its history of innovation and ingenuity, is committed to stepping up and doing its part in taking on this global challenge.