In March of this year, we wrote an open letter to America’s CEOs, calling on all businesses to advocate for policies that enable the United States to achieve net zero GHG emissions no later than 2050 and cut emissions at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. With broad business support, those targets were adopted in April in the U.S. Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris agreement.
We now have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to pass climate legislation needed to meet those targets through the infrastructure and budget packages moving in Congress. Now is the time for businesses that have called for ambitious climate policy to take that message to Congress and ensure the climate provisions in both bills are signed into law.
The urgency for climate policy could not be clearer. The latest IPCC report warns of the dire consequences of continued warming. Extreme weather events this summer in the United States and around the world illustrate the growing human and economic costs of inaction. These impacts are already falling hardest on low-income communities and communities of color.
The impact of Congress’s decisions in the coming weeks cannot be overstated. Therefore, we call on all businesses to take both of the following actions immediately:
- Publicly support strong climate provisions in the budget reconciliation package AND
- Oppose any trade association lobbying that would undercut these provisions, including publicly distancing the company’s position from that of the trade association where necessary.
While budget reconciliation may not be the optimal vehicle for passing climate legislation, it is the opportunity before us and we must seize it. The cost of inaction on climate change is simply too great to risk another decade of lost progress. For this reason, business efforts to oppose the reconciliation bill in its entirety are inconsistent with positions of support for climate action.
This is the moment for companies and investors to match their climate and equity commitments with consistent actions and advocacy.