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Climate Ambassadors: 43 CEOs Pledge to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Chief executives from 43 global companies are pledging to voluntarily cut greenhouse gas emissions and calling on nations to do the same. The group published an open letter on Thursday urging government negotiators to agree to a United Nations climate change deal in Paris in December that limits the global rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius.

"We agree on the need for inspirational and meaningful global action and aligned messaging. We will act as ambassadors for climate action, focusing on solutions and economic opportunities and using 'the science debate is over: climate change is real and addressable' as one of the common themes to raise public awareness," the CEOs said in the letter. The companies said they would set targets to reduce their own gas emissions and/or energy consumption. Signatories include the top executives of Dow Chemical, Enel, Ericsson, HSBC Holdings, Accenture, Unilever and Volvo.

The letter is designed to put pressure on government officials ahead of a spring meeting of a World Bank group in Washington this weekend. Most governments missed an informal March 31 deadline to submit their climate pledges for the new deal. Just Switzerland, Norway, Mexico, Russia, Gabon and the European Union had posted submissions to the U.N.'s submission website as of April 16.

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—Reuters and NBC News staff