US business leaders have given President Obama’s efforts to revive US climate policy an important boost: 33 major companies with combined annual revenues of around US$450 billion, have signed a Climate Declaration urging congress to take action on climate change. The declaration is open for signature by other companies and individuals.
Among the founding signatories are some of the United States’ most famous brands, including IKEA, Jones Lang LaSalle, L’Oreal, Timberland, eBay and Unilever.
Timed to coincide with the publication of President Obama’s budget for the coming year, the declaration describes a “bold” response to climate change as one of the greatest American opportunities of the twenty-first century, in an apparent attempt to put climate change back in the centre of the political debate.
The climate discussion in the US has languished since the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit (COP 15) in 2010 and a sustained and hostile campaign to discredit climate science has generated some public confusion. The declaration explicitly criticises those who seek to undermine the green economy, saying, "we cannot risk our kids’ futures on the false hope that the vast majority of scientists are wrong".
Despite President Obama’s pre-election declarations in favour of climate action, his administration has failed to enact domestic climate legislation, a failure largely attributable to the hostility of powerful Republican Party members in Congress. His administration did pass automotive fuel economy standards in 2012 and extended Production Tax Credit for wind power, but a comprehensive climate bill has proved elusive.