President Barack Obama will meet Monday with the heads of 10 prominent U.S. companies to discuss efforts to tackle climate change at home and globally. The roundtable meeting is part of a broader White House strategy to enlist the private sector in developing technologies to slash greenhouse gas emissions and help the world adapt to rising sea levels, violent storms and deadly heatwaves.
Monday's discussion will include the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies Johnson & Johnson, Intel Corp., Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co., Hershey Co. and PG&E Corp., as well as five other companies that act as suppliers to those corporations, a White House official said, Bloomberg reported.
The meeting will "focus on how to further efforts around carbon mitigation, sustainability and resiliency, and how technologies are emerging to support and scale these efforts," according to a White House press bulletin.
Obama has vowed to make climate change a top priority in his second term. This summer, his administration finalized the landmark Clean Power Plan, which is expected to reduce emissions from electric power plants to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The White House has also targeted emissions from vehicle tailpipes, oil and gas operations and, most recently, refrigerators and air-conditioning units that deploy "super" greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons.
Along with public policies, Obama has unveiled a slew of initiatives to bring private companies into the climate fight. In July, executives from Apple Inc., The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and 11 other major companies announced $140 billion in new investments to decrease their corporate carbon footprints. The White House announcement aimed to build support for United Nations-led climate negotiations in Paris this year. Nearly 200 nations have agreed to forge an agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions at the December conference. Thousands of companies -- including major European oil and gas producers -- have backed the effort.
For a separate Obama-backed effort, the Climate Data Initiative, the president last year tapped the expertise of more than a dozen U.S. companies, universities and private groups, as well as the World Bank. As part of the effort, Google Inc. said it would develop high-resolution maps to show how the rise in sea levels, drought and other climate-related threats are occurring across the mainland U.S.
Google also signed up for another White House effort in April 2014 that underscores the link between climate change and the increased evidence of asthma attacks, allergy cases and weather-related injuries. The program combines the data-gathering prowess of Google and Microsoft Corp. with the vast expertise of top U.S. medical institutions in an effort to better prepare the nation's health systems for the effects of a warming planet.
Following Obama's roundtable Monday, Vice President Joe Biden and other senior administration officials will hold a separate meeting with business representatives, science and technology leaders, and environmental organizations to discuss the U.N. climate talks. Dozens of companies are expected to participate in the summit, the White House official told Bloomberg.