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U.S. companies pledge financial, political support for U.N. climate deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Thirteen big name American companies on Monday were to announce $140 billion in low-carbon investments to lend support to a global climate change deal in Paris in December, the White House said.

Companies including General Motors, Bank of America, Microsoft and Coca Cola, were to join U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the White House to launch the American Business Act on Climate Pledge to support the administration as it tries to secure a climate agreement.

Under the pledge, the companies announced measures they would take internally to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and deploy more clean energy.

In addition to announcing a collective $140 billion in new low-carbon investments, the companies announced they would bring at least 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy on line, reduce water use intensity by 15 percent, purchase 100 percent renewable energy, and target zero net deforestation in their supply chains.

United Nations climate change negotiators have called on the private sector to bolster public sector finance to aid efforts globally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially in developing countries.

Securing long-term climate finance is seen as a crucial step for a deal in Paris.

The U.N. established a Green Climate Fund in 2010 in which developed countries had committed to raise over $10 billion for four years from 2015.

The fund is the main vehicle to help countries meet a longer term goal to raise $100 billion a year to support developing countries by 2020.

But government financial pledges are at the mercy of domestic politics and competing priorities.

Apple, one of the 13 countries, pledged to bring nearly 300 MW of renewable energy online in five states and the Sichuan province in China.

Berkshire Hathaway announced it will retire 75 percent of its coal-fueled generating capacity in Nevada by 2019.

The White House said it will announce additional company pledges later this year.

(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Grant McCool)

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