American businesses commit $140 billion to tackle climate change

American businesses

Creative Commons: 2013

In another sign that businesses are waking up to the threat of climate change, executives from 13 major American businesses have announced at least $140 billion in new investments to take on climate change.

The unprecedented commitment from the private sector is part of a White House initiative to collect private sector support for ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris this December.

The White House statement read:

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.

The company-specific goals that will see them cut emissions by as much as 50% while totalled they could see 1,600 megawatts of new, renewable energy produced — enough to power nearly 1.3 million homes.

The companies — including Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, General Motors and Wal-Mart — also made pledges to cut emissions, provide financing to environmentally-focused companies, and reduce water consumption, and reaffirms businesses’ commitment to the the low-carbon transition.

Welcoming the move, Nigel Topping, CEO of We Mean Business – a business coalition supporting the low carbon transition – said:

The shift to a low-carbon economy is inevitable, irreversible and irresistible. Taking bold climate action is simply good for business.

This announcement comes as new research shows that failing to tackle climate change will cost businesses and investors dearly.

A new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, has today warned that private investors could be set to lose $4.2 trillion on the value of their holdings by 2100 as extreme weather damage and lower economic growth hit company profit.

This figure which could rise to $7 trillion if warming reaches 5C.

Meanwhile the shift to a low-carbon economy is “inevitable, irreversible and irresistible”, and is bringing growth, jobs, innovation and investment.

The low carbon economy is currently worth $5 trillion globally.

Assets in these investments grew 60%  in the last two years, and around 60 million new jobs will be created in renewable energy, clean technology and smart infrastructure over the next 20 years.

The false argument over climate action or economic growth is weakening by the second, as research shows that economies will continue grow while carbon emissions shrink.

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