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Leading U.S. Businesses Call on President Obama to Achieve a Global Climate Deal

December 15, 2009 – More than two-dozen major U.S. businesses, including Dow Chemical, Microsoft, Nike, Duke Energy and PG&E, sent a letter to President Obama today encouraging him to secure a strong climate change agreement with significant emissions reduction targets and substantial new financing commitments from developed countries, including the United States.
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COPENHAGEN Dec 15, 2009

More than two-dozen major U.S. businesses, including Dow Chemical, Microsoft, Nike, Duke Energy and PG&E, sent a letter to President Obama today encouraging him to secure a strong climate change agreement with significant emissions reduction targets and substantial new financing commitments from developed countries, including the United States.

Saying "our environment and economy are at stake," the letter calls for forceful leadership to achieve a global deal that protects vulnerable developing and low-lying countries while also unleashing investment to accelerate clean technology deployment, create jobs and enhance U.S. competitiveness. The letter comes just days before President Obama travels to Copenhagen for the key final hours of the climate negotiations.

"We must put the United States on the path to significant emissions reductions, a stronger economy and a new position of leadership to stabilize our climate," the letter states. "The costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of action."

"Such an agreement will provide the market certainty that will unleash the investments needed to create jobs and enhance U.S. competitiveness," the letter concludes.

The letter was signed by some of the nation's largest electric power, manufacturing, technology and consumer-facing companies. Many of companies have CEOs and other senior executives here in Copenhagen to promote the importance of winning a strong international agreement.

“Business needs a strong global deal to provide certainty, to create a level playing field and to fuel public sector investments in adaptation strategies worldwide," said Hannah Jones, vice president of sustainable business and innovation at Nike. "In turn, companies like Nike can do what we do best: invest in innovating products and services that will help fuel the next wave of global economic competitiveness."

"Based on our experience investing in and accelerating companies with low carbon solutions -- solar, geothermal, smart grid and efficiency -- I'm here to say that we're flipping the competitiveness argument on its head," said Daniel Abbasi, director of MissionPoint Capital Partners, a private investment firm. "An agreement to price carbon will not hurt the economy, it will provide an urgently needed renewal of growth and job creation. President Obama has acted from this premise during his first year of energy policy reform and now we'd ask him to lead the world to put a climate framework in place."

"We are happy to see the U.S. playing such a constructive role here," added Rich Wells, global vice president of government affairs and public policy at Dow Chemical. "An effective agreement involving all major emitting nations will help spur our Congress to act."

Sixteen of of the companies signing the letter are members of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), a network of companies coordinated by Ceres advocating for strong climate and clean energy policies in Washington. For more information on BICEP, visit www.ceres.org/company-network/bicep.

 

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December 15, 2009

The Honorable Barack Obama President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are major U.S.-based companies, many of which are attending COP-15, urging your leadership in helping to secure a robust international agreement now to address global climate change. This agreement has to include significant near- and long-term emissions reductions targets and strong finance provisions, with a substantial commitment of new long-term finance from developed nations, including the United States, following on the “fast start” commitments that already have been made. Such provisions also should consist of a structure for the long term and should leverage private sector investments. An international agreement also must facilitate clean technology development and transfer, with appropriate intellectual property protections. Such an agreement will provide the market certainty that will unleash the investments needed to create jobs and enhance U.S. competitiveness.

We must put the United States on the path to significant emissions reductions, a stronger economy, and a new position of leadership in the global effort to stabilize our climate. The costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of action. Our environment and economy are at stake. In addition, millions of people in developing and low-lying nations are at risk from climate and related economic dislocations, which further pose geopolitical threats. These factors highlight the urgency for the Administration to achieve a global deal in the coming days that moves us ever closer toward a legally-binding agreement that will protect us and future generations.

Many businesses are doing their part by creating innovative technologies and reducing their carbon footprints, as well as implementing complementary efficiency and renewable energy measures. However, a “sufficiently ambitious, effective and globally equitable deal [is essential to] create the conditions for transformational change in our economy and deliver the economic signals that companies need,” if they are to invest in a low carbon future.[1]

The urgency to act is clear and the need for strong leadership is paramount. We pledge to support your leadership efforts in helping secure a strong global agreement. Moreover, businesses should provide input into the negotiating process to ensure that the policies being developed will not create unintended consequences and will maximize opportunities for innovation. We view the latest bipartisan discussions being led by Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman as critical to domestic action, and pledge our support for their continued efforts in the weeks and months ahead, too.

We thank you in advance for helping to protect our economic, environmental and national security interests for the future. Your forceful leadership is essential to securing an international deal to address climate change in Copenhagen. We look forward to working with you in the coming days and going forward following the Copenhagen conference.

Sincerely,

Aspen Skiing Company
Ben & Jerry’s
Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE)
Clif Bar and Company
Dow Chemical
Duke Energy
eBay
Eileen Fisher
Gap Inc.
GroSolar
Ingersoll Rand
Jones Lang LaSalle
Jupiter Oxygen Corporation
Levi Strauss & Co.
Lykes Brothers, Inc.
Microsoft
MissionPoint Capital Partners
Nike
National Grid
PG&E
PSEG
Seventh Generation
Solazyme, Inc.
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
Starbucks
Stonyfield Farm
Sun Microsystems
Symantec
The North Face
Timberland

Sixteen of of the companies signing the letter are members of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), a network of companies coordinated by Ceres advocating for strong climate and clean energy policies in Washington. For more information on BICEP, visit www.ceres.org/company-network/bicep.

[1] Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change and University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, “The Copenhagen Communique on Climate Change,” 2009.

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