Keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) — ideally no more than 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) — by the end of the century is a key goal of the Paris accord.
Earlier this year, Merkel's government adopted a plan to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions to "net zero" by 2045, five years earlier than previously planned.
But official figures show that Germany is slipping behind on its ambitions for cutting greenhouse gases, with 2021 emissions forecast to rebound sharply after a pandemic-related economic slump.
The signatories, which have an annual turnover of about 1 trillion euros ($1.16 trillion) and employ more than 5 million people worldwide, want the next government to support the rollout of renewable energy and enact a climate-friendly tax reform that includes a strengthened carbon pricing system to prevent investments in power-hungry industries going abroad.
Pointing toward the upcoming U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, and Germany's presidency of the Group of Seven major economies next year, the companies said the German government must also work to set international standards for the global financial system and climate-neutral products.
“As businesses, we are prepared to fulfill our central role in climate action. We call upon the new German government to make the transformation to climate neutrality the central economic project of the coming legislative period,” they said.
Campaigners questioned how serious some of the signatories are about combating climate change, however.
“They want climate ambition, just as long as it doesn’t get in the way of their profits," said Pascoe Sabido, a researcher at the Corporate Europe Observatory, which investigates business lobbying at the European Union level. “That’s often an impossible circle to square.”
The U.N. climate summit begins Oct. 31.
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