General Motors Joins Economic Environmental Partnership

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This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

The General's just decided, now that Earth Day's come and gone, to join the "non-partisan" United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP). USCAP's a partnership of companies and NGO's in all sorts of sectors of the economy that creates recommendations for toward slowing, stopping and reversing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Those rec's are based on six principles:

1.) Account for the global dimensions of climate change.
2.) Recognize the importance of technology.
3.) Be environmentally effective.
4.) Be fair to sectors disproportionately impacted.
5.) Recognize and encourage early action.
6.) Create economic opportunity and advantage.

Yeah, we kind of paused on the last one too. So does that mean USCAP requires an environmental solution if and only if it's creating economic opportunity? Hmm, maybe not so altruistic of a group wethinks. Well, we'll give 'em an "A" for effort at least. Full press release below the jump.

General Motors Joins United States Climate Action Partnership

DETROIT - General Motors today announced that it will join the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), becoming the first automaker to support the non-partisan group's call for action to address climate change through advanced technology and on an economy-wide, market-driven basis.

USCAP, a partnership of companies representing key sectors of the economy and non-government organizations, issued earlier this year a set of principles and recommendations toward slowing, stopping and reversing the growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the shortest period of time reasonably achievable. USCAP's recommendations are based on the following six principles: Account for the global dimensions of climate change; Recognize the importance of technology; Be environmentally effective; Create economic opportunity and advantage; Be fair to sectors disproportionately impacted; and, Recognize and encourage early action.

"GM is very pleased to join USCAP in proactively addressing the concerns posed by climate change," said Rick Wagoner, chairman and CEO of General Motors. "The key as we see it is energy diversity - being able to offer our customers vehicles that can be powered by many different energy sources and advanced propulsion systems to help displace petroleum and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We especially applaud USCAP for recognizing the important role that technology can play in achieving an economy-wide solution."

GM views the need to promote energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as both a business necessity and an obligation to society. The company has a globally integrated strategy to meet the world's growing demand for its cars and trucks, while lessening these products' impact on the environment.

As a full-line automaker, GM is pursuing energy diversity across its product line-up by offering vehicles that can be powered by many different energy sources and advanced propulsion systems that will displace petroleum and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. GM continues to improve the efficiency of internal combustion engines and builds more vehicles that achieve over 30 mpg on the highway than any other automaker. In addition to its intensive efforts to displace traditional petroleum-based fuels with biofuels like E85, GM is significantly expanding and accelerating the development of electrically driven vehicles, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel-cells and extended-range electric vehicles.

GM believes its approach offers a more effective solution than the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program that, over the course of more than 30 years, has fallen dramatically short of its stated goals. Since CAFE was enacted, both the number of vehicles on the road and the number of vehicle miles traveled have nearly doubled. During this same three decade period, U.S. gasoline consumption has increased by 60 percent and U.S. oil imports have increased by more than 100 percent. These increases have occurred despite the fact that automakers as a whole have increased new vehicle fleet fuel economy for light trucks by 60 percent, and more than doubled it for passenger cars—with GM improving its fuel economy more than any other major auto manufacturer.

In testimony before Congress in March, Wagoner said, "Now is the time for a new, more comprehensive and forward-looking national strategy that ensures we're working on the right things that will really make a difference in reducing oil consumption and CO2 emissions."

Also, in the same testimony Wagoner said GM is willing to engage in discussions on carbon constraints on the U.S. economy as part of such a broader climate change strategy. GM's position is consistent with USCAP's strong commitment toward an economy-wide policy and legislative framework that would include a mandatory, flexible cap-and-trade program.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit , GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.
NOTE: A full copy of A Call for Action and background information on the U.S. Climate Action Partnership may be found at www.us-cap.org.

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DISCUSSION

The sixth point's very important. Even the UN conceeds that things like carbon caps would slow down the global economic growth at a yearly rate of 3%. Of course, "global" doesn't mean everyone, just overall. China and India, for example, aren't even entertaining the thought of reductions in pollutants. That means both would be much cheaper places to produce industrial goods if Western governments were to just impliment restrictive emissions controls without giving thought to the larger economic consequences.

For their own survival, GM and others would have to shift production to less restrictive countries in order to stay competitive in a significantly slower global economy. Thus, that sixth point sounds like an indication that, while they'd rather stay here, GM and the rest of USCAP will do what's necessary to stay in business.