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Generali joins calls for EU to raise greenhouse gas emission target

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s biggest insurer Generali has joined calls from investors and businesses for EU leaders to raise greenhouse gas reduction targets to at least 55% by 2030.

The insurer said on Tuesday Chief Executive Philippe Donnet had signed a letter drafted by Corporate Leaders Group, asking EU heads of state and government to raise the reduction targets for emissions to 55% from 40%.

EU countries are divided over the scale of emissions cuts they are prepared to deliver over the next decade, with some still hesitating to commit to bigger curbs.

A pledge to cut emissions by 40% from 1990 levels is in need of upgrading as scientists warn quicker cuts are needed to stave off catastrophic climate change and Brussels is looking to set a cut of at least 55% by 2030.

In a statement Generali said the letter asked EU leaders to “set out the framework for a more climate resilient recovery and enable the green investments needed to deliver climate neutrality by 2050.”

Europe’s third-biggest insurer said it was committed to reducing the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio and supporting customers in the green transition.

Last year it became the first insurer in Europe to issue a subordinated green bond.

Financial institutions and companies have come under increasing pressure from investors to show concrete steps to support the 2015 Paris Agreement to avert global warming.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Gianluca Semeraro and David Evans