Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaks during an event in 2018. Apple is one of 310 companies calling on the Biden administration to slash carbon emissions.
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

More than 300 businesses have signed an open letter calling on the Biden administration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States to at least half of 2005 levels by 2030. That would nearly double a previous target set by former President Barack Obama in 2015, who pledged a 25 to 28% reduction by 2025.

The United States is not currently on track to meet either goal.

The signatories include some of largest companies in the United States, including Walmart, Apple, McDonald’s and Starbucks. “A bold 2030 target is needed to catalyze a zero-emissions future, spur a robust economic recovery, create millions of well-paying jobs, and allow the U.S. to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic,” the letter said, echoing the president’s economic recovery slogan.

A 50% reduction target would put the Biden administration in line with what groups such as the United Nations and National Academies of Science say is necessary to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.

In a March statement calling for the same reductions target, the environmental advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council said such a plan would “help pull the country out of the pandemic-induced recession by putting millions of Americans to work” and inspire more ambitious international climate action ahead of a major United Nations climate conference this November.

Like President Joe Biden’s campaign promise to guide the United States to carbon-neutrality by the middle of the century, a 50% emissions reduction target would require steeper emissions cuts than the country has ever achieved.

In 2019, greenhouse gas emissions were approximately 13% below 2005 levels, a decrease of just 1.8% from the previous year.