[PARIS] The heads of more than 150 global companies, including Apple and Google, have urged European leaders to set a higher target for reducing climate-heating emissions, says the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).
A long list of CEOs from some of the world's largest brands and investors including Microsoft, Ikea, Deutsche Bank, Unilever and H&M signed the letter, said the CISL.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is due to unveil the 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target in her State of the Union address to the European Parliament on Wednesday.
The letter calls on European leaders "to avoid the worst effects of climate change and secure a sustainable, competitive economic recovery" by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by the end of this decade.
Brussels intends to raise its target for cutting EU greenhouse gas emissions to 55 per cent compared with 1990 levels, a European source told AFP on Saturday, compared with the current goal of 40 per cent.
The European Commission is pushing a five-year "Green Deal" as part of a strategy to achieve "carbon neutrality" by 2050.
It binds the EU's 27 member states to balance polluting emissions and the removal of greenhouse gases - such as by using carbon capture technology or reforestation - within the next 30 years.
It is seen in Brussels as the trigger for an economic revolution that will make Europe sustainable and meet the targets of the Paris climate accord.
But that proposal earlier this year stepped back from the commission's ambition to order countries to cut emissions by 50 per cent or even 55 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030.
"From a business and investor perspective, clarity on the net zero transition pathway and timetables for each sector, as well as policy that enables substantial investments in carbon neutral solutions is essential," the letter from business leaders said.
"This in turn would provide us with the confidence needed to invest decisively at the necessary pace and scale to reduce emissions, create decent green jobs, drive innovation, and accelerate the rebuilding of a resilient zero carbon economy."
The initiative was led by the European Corporate Leaders Group (CLG Europe), presented as "a cross-sectoral group of European businesses working towards delivering climate neutrality", said the CISL.