Disney, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s back White House climate drive

Leading multinationals sign up to Obama climate pledge as president braces for GOP showdown over COP21 Paris deal

(Pic: JD Hancock/Flickr)

(Pic: JD Hancock/Flickr)

By Ed King

White House moves to isolate climate sceptic Republicans gained traction on Monday as some of the country’s top business leaders announced new low carbon plans.

Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, Nike and Disney were among 81 companies with a market value of US$5 trillion to sign the “American Business Act on Climate Pledge”.

In a briefing with reporters, White House officials said the business leaders were voicing “strong support” for a proposed Paris climate deal and setting an example for fellow leaders.

Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Dell and Coca Cola are other multinationals to put their name to this drive. There was no sign of oil majors ExxonMobil or Chevron on the list.

Speaking to the press after a meeting with CEOs at the White House, President Obama said decades of fossil fuel addiction had threatened the planet and the country’s economy.

He praised the “cutting edge” and “extraordinary” businesses that had agreed to come on board with this initiative.

“The perception is that this is an environmental issue, it’s for tree-huggers, and that hard-headed business people either don’t care about it or see it as a conflict with their bottom lines,” he said.


Coke: Reduce the carbon footprint of “the drink in your hand” 25% by 2020
Facebook: 25% of energy in 2015 to come from clean and renewable sources
Hershey’s: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2025, compared to 2009
Kellogg’s: Achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 in high-risk supply chains
Levi: Purchase a minimum 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020
Sony: Cut energy consumption of (AC) products an average of 30% on 2013 levels

Business support for a global climate pact comes at a critical point for UN and US efforts to develop a plan to slash global greenhouse gas emissions and keep warming below the 2C danger zone.

Nearly 200 countries are in Bonn this week to knock into shape a draft agreement that can be presented to world leaders at the start of the Paris summit on 29 November.

Meanwhile, the White House is fending off increasingly hostile attacks from Republican leaders who do not want it to sign up to any international pact later this year.

A recent climate pact with China was meant to demonstrate the US is not alone in its efforts to tackle emissions growth, but it appears to have had little impact on critics.

On Tuesday, lead US climate envoy Todd Stern will face interrogation by the Subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill.

The meeting is chaired by Republican Senator John Barrasso, who is on record doubting the potential threat posed by global warming.

“The climate is constantly changing. The role human activity plays is not known,” he told reporters last year.

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