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US businesses make multi-billion-dollar climate pledge

A group of the largest companies in the US have signed up to an Obama government American Business Act on Climate pledge, committing more than $140 billion in new low-carbon investments.

The commitment from the 13 companies – Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart – also involves the installation of 1600 megawatts of new renewable energy, with some companies pledging to cut emissions by as much as 50 per cent, reduce water intensity by as much as 15 per cent, purchase 100 per cent renewable energy, and pursue zero net deforestation in supply chains.

“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 per cent 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,” a White House statement said.

“As the world looks toward global climate negotiations in Paris this December, American leadership at all levels will be essential.”

The pledge states:

“We applaud the growing number of countries that have already set ambitious targets for climate action. In this context, we support the conclusion of a climate change agreement in Paris that takes a strong step forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future.

“We recognise that delaying action on climate change will be costly in economic and human terms, while accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy will produce multiple benefits with regard to sustainable economic growth, public health, resilience to natural disasters, and the health of the global environment.”

Company specific highlights include:

  • Alcoa reducing GHG emissions by 50 per cent by 2025
  • Apple bringing 280 megawatts of clean power generation online by the end of 2016
  • Bank of America increasing its environmental business initiative from $50 billion to $125 billion by 2025
  • Berkshire Hathaway Energy investing an additional $15 billion in renewables
  • Goldman Sachs aiming for 100 per cent renewables by 2020

Read all the pledge commitments.

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