London CNN Business  — 

Major British businesses are urging the government to set emission reduction targets that would be among the world’s strictest.

A group of more than 100 companies, investors and lobby groups sent an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday, asking the departing leader to “leave a legacy of clean growth” and legislate a commitment to cut the country’s emissions to net zero by 2050.

The letter asks May to adopt the recommendations made by the Committee on Climate Change, an independent body set up by the government in response to climate change.

The committee said earlier this month that the United Kingdom should aim to achieve the net zero goal by 2050, but warned that the government’s policies will “have to ramp up significantly” for the target to be credible.

“We see the threat that climate change poses to our businesses and to our investments, as well as the significant economic opportunities that come with being an early mover in the development of new low-carbon goods and services,” the business leaders’ letter said. It was signed by a number of global companies, including Siemens (GCTAF), Unilever (UL), Shell and Nestle (NSRGF).

The United Kingdom is a signatory to the 2015 Paris Agreement, which seeks to keep global warming to well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. Global average temperature has already risen by one degree. A radical reduction in emissions is the cornerstone of the plan.

The committee said that to become a net zero country, the government will need to devise plans to clean up UK heating systems, deliver the infrastructure for carbon capture and storage technology, and start large scale trials of hydrogen power.

The policies would put the United Kingdom in line with its commitments under the agreement.

But experts are warning that current policies are not tough enough to allow the country to meet the target. According to the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, the United Kingdom is not even on track hit the intermediate goals it set for itself for the period between 2023 and 2032.

The committee’s recommendation for the 2050 deadline is well behind the 2025 timeline demanded by the extinction rebellion protests earlier this year. It is, however, well ahead most of the world. Only a handful of countries including Sweden have so far passed laws that will require them to cut emissions to net zero.

While Sweden set an earlier deadline, the Nordic country has not explicitly rejected the idea of offsetting some of its emissions through international systems.

The Committee on Climate Change said the United Kingdom could achieve its 2050 target domestically.