Business leaders urge Biden to set ambitious climate goal

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FILE - In this July 27, 2018, file photo, the Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo. More than 300 businesses and investors are calling on the Biden administration to set an ambitious climate change goal that would cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

WASHINGTON – More than 300 businesses and investors, including such giants as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Coca-Cola, are calling on the Biden administration to set an ambitious climate change goal that would cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.

The target would nearly double the nation’s previous commitment and require dramatic changes in the power, transportation and other sectors. President Joe Biden is considering options for expected carbon reductions by 2030 ahead of a virtual climate summit the United States is hosting later this month.

The so-called Nationally Determined Contribution is a key milestone as Biden moves toward his ultimate goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Biden has promised to reveal the nonbinding but symbolically important 2030 goal before the Earth Day summit opens April 22.

“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 businesses and investors said in a letter to Biden.

“New investment in clean energy, energy efficiency and clean transportation can build a strong, more equitable and more inclusive American economy,'' they wrote. The letter was organized by the “We Mean Business” coalition, a group of companies that support action to accelerate the transition to a carbon-free economy.

An ambitious 2030 target would guide the federal government’s approach to sustainable and resilient infrastructure, as well as zero-emissions vehicles and buildings, and “would inspire other industrialized nations to set bold targets of their own,'' the group wrote.

Besides the tech and consumer products giants, companies with major energy holdings, including Exelon, General Electric, PG&E and Edison International, also signed the letter.

Meanwhile, dozens of European lawmakers, business executives and union leaders on Tuesday also urged the United States to slash its greenhouse gas emissions in half in the coming decade. They called for a trans-Atlantic alliance to tackle climate change and achieve a “just and sustainable transition” toward a low-carbon economy.