Obama courts big business for support in climate talks

Obama courts big business for support in climate talks
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President Obama is enlisting big companies to help him make the case for an international climate change pact.

Obama is meeting Monday morning with the chief executive officers of five major companies to talk about how they’re cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and 68 companies signed on Monday to a White House pledge to reduce emissions and support the climate talks.

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It’s all part of Obama’s efforts to shore up support domestically and internationally for the ongoing United Nations climate talks. Negotiators hope to sign a final pledge to fight climate change worldwide in December in Paris.

In showing corporate support for the talks, the White House hopes to contrast big businesses’ opinions with those of congressional Republicans, who are trying to undermine and block the United States’ participation in the negotiations. 

“These commitments show that international action on climate is not only good for our planet, it’s good for the bottom line,” top Obama adviser Brian DeeseBrian DeeseBiden seeks to save what he can from Build Back Better Momentum builds to prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks Hillicon Valley — Airlines issue warning about 5G service MORE told reporters Monday.

“They also show when the United States leads on climate issues, not only do other countries step up and make more progress, but you see businesses, as well as other key actors, also stepping up to rally the world to address this issue,” he added.

The Monday meeting will include Obama and the heads of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co., Hershey Co., Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Johnson & Johnson and Intel Corp., all of whom have signed into the pledge.

“The president will have a conversation with them about the efforts that they are taking to combat climate change and about our mutual goal of driving to a successful, ambitious outcome in Paris in achieving an international climate agreement,” said Deese.

Todd Brady, environmental director for Intel, said his company’s commitment is a recognition of the business sense in fighting climate change.

“By us both committing to reduce the impacts of our operations as well as introducing new products and technologies, we believe we can help others to reduce the impacts of their operations as well,” he said.

Intel’s specific promises include a 10 percent reduction in its emissions intensity and continued installation of on-site clean energy production at its facilities.

The 68 companies on the climate pledge add to 13 who signed on when it was launched this summer, for a total of 81 companies.

Later Monday, Vice President Biden will speak at a White House event on the current state of the climate talks and the role of business leaders in that effort.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren and Deese will also speak.