Through the American Business Act on Climate pledge, companies are supporting an agreement from the U.N. Conference on Climate Change and agree to limit their emissions, increase low-carbon investments, deploy more clean energy and take other actions, said Brian Deese, senior adviser to President Obama. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, file)
Eighty-one companies pledged their support to action on climate change and encouraged a strong climate change agreement at the United Nations conference in Paris Monday morning.
Among the companies pledging are investment giant Berkshire Hathaway, Bank of America, General Motors, Google, Monsanto, Walmart and McDonald's.
Through the American Business Act on Climate pledge, the companies are supporting an agreement from the U.N. Conference on Climate Change and agree to limit their emissions, increase low-carbon investments, deploy more clean energy and take other actions, said Brian Deese, senior adviser to President Obama.
"These are all actions that show the American private sector is stepping up and using its voice to show the importance of acting on climate," Deese said.
Monday's announcement sees 68 companies join 13 companies that previously pledged to take action to lessen the impact of climate change, which many scientists blame on the burning of fossil fuels.
An earlier climate summit in June saw the creation of an independent consortium of long-term investors in clean energy. On Monday, that consortium announced its first round of planned investments, totaling $1.2 billion.
That includes $500 million from the University of California's Office of the Chief Investment Officer, $350 million from the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, $200 million from the Alaska Permanent Fund, $100 million from TIAA-CREF Financial Services and $10 million from Tamarsic.
Those investments will go toward companies and projects that could produce "impactful and profitable solutions to climate change," according to a White House fact sheet.
"The support and backing of the business community is an important ingredient in getting to ambitious, but also sustainable, climate action," Deese said.
Among the companies joining the pledge on Monday is Intel.
Todd Brady, Intel's global environmental director, said the company plans to power 100 percent of its domestic operations with renewable energy by 2020. The company is already the largest purchaser of renewable energy in the country, Brady said.
While Intel was already moving in the direction of increasing its use of renewable energy, Brady said the Obama administration's leadership on the issue was a major factor in its decision to go 100 percent renewable.
"We look forward to further dialogue on climate change and we call on others in both the private and the public sector to join with us and other leading companies today," he said.
During Monday's climate summit at the White House, Obama will be meeting with CEOs of major corporations and companies within the supply chain of larger businesses, Deese said.
Much of the conversation will be focused on the upcoming Paris talks and how the administration and business can work together to get a strong agreement, he said. Obama also will emphasize the administration's belief that there is money to be made by acting on climate change.
"What you are seeing now is a reflection of that economic reality, that economic opportunity," he said. "Making sure those voices are prominent as we make it to the final stage of climate talks is absolutely critical."
First take: American businesses are taking big steps to #ActOnClimate ...
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