Several major companies issued a joint call Wednesday for the United States to enact legislation to battle climate change, saying that the issue was critical to their businesses.

Thirty-three firms including online retailer eBay, tech giant Intel, coffee leader Starbucks and sportswear makers Adidas, Nike, Patagonia, The North Face and Timberland called climate change a threat that required coordinated action.

"We cannot risk our kids' futures on the false hope that the vast majority of scientists are wrong," the companies said in a statement.

They said that taking action on climate change was critical for the United States to "maintain our way of life and remain a true superpower in a competitive world."

The companies said they were taking action on their own to reduce greenhouse gases blamed for climate change, but that nationwide measures were needed either to preserve natural resources or level the playing field among businesses.

Cynthia Curtis of software maker CA Technologies said that companies came to the discussion "as a dot-com, not as a dot-org" and believed that legislation could spur economic growth.

"The business opportunities associated with moving to a clean energy economy have been vacant, pretty much, in the dialogue and we want to change that," she said at an event announcing the companies' pressure campaign.

President Barack Obama has vowed to put a priority on reducing emissions after the planet charted a series of record hot years and in the wake of major disasters such as superstorm Sandy that some experts link to climate change.

But most lawmakers from the rival Republican Party, with the support of business-backed groups, have opposed such legislation, saying it would be too costly and questioning the science behind climate change.

An earlier effort backed by Obama to set the first nationwide restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions died in the Senate in 2010.

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[Climate change photo via Shutterstock]