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Big business calls on Trump, Obama to support low carbon policies

J. Castro | Moment | Getty Images

Over 300 major businesses and investors have called on President Barack Obama, President-elect Donald Trump, members of Congress and world leaders to "strongly support" and stick with low-carbon policies, investment in the low-carbon economy, and U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement.

In the open letter – signed by Gap Inc., NIKE, Mars Incorporated, Unilever, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Starbucks, among others – the companies said that they wanted "the U.S. economy to be energy-efficient and powered by low-carbon energy," before adding that failure to build a low-carbon economy "puts American prosperity at risk."

"We pledge to do our part, in our own operations and beyond, to realize the Paris Agreement's commitment of a global economy that limits global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius," the letter continued.

President-elect Donald Trump's views on climate change and the environment have sparked concerns among environmental organizations, researchers, charities and governments around the world.

In 2012, he tweeted that the concept of global warming "was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

He has also threatened to pull the U.S. out of the historic 2015 Paris Agreement, which came into force just this month. Under the agreement, world leaders have agreed to make sure global warming stays "well below" 2 degrees Celsius and to "pursue efforts" to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

"It is vital that the business community demonstrates its ongoing commitment to tackling climate change," Barry Parkin, Mars Incorporated's chief sustainability and health and wellbeing officer, said in a statement.

"This is an important moment in global political and economic history, and we absolutely must come together to solve the immense challenges facing the planet," Parkin added. "Climate change, water scarcity and deforestation are serious threats to society. It is imperative that global businesses, like Mars, do their part to face down those threats."

The letter was released during the COP22 environmental summit taking place in Marrakech, Morocco.

"The Paris Agreement was a vital step forward, but its power is in our collective action," Lara Birkes, chief sustainability officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, added. "Business and government leaders must urgently work together to drive a thriving, low-carbon economy."