2001 Ford Corporate Citizenship Report – Excerpts on Environment and Energy Issues

This 2001 Ford report addressed climate change, fuel economy, and emissions. It was sent to the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers’ (AIAM) Environment and Energy Subcommittee and was submitted during discovery in Green Mtn. Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep v. Crombie and Central Valley Chrysler-Jeep, Inc. v. Witherspoon.

In the section “Changing Our Approach to a Changing Climate,” Ford recounted the early 1990’s when, “[a]long with energy companies, automakers and others, we questioned the science of climate change.” While mentioning the beginnings of fuel economy efforts, Ford highlighted the late 1990’s as the period when “we started listening.” The company cited “accumulated” scientific information as the reason for it to “shift significantly” its “stance on climate change.” However, Ford’s own staff warned of fossil fuel impacts on climate change early on. Gilbert Plass, a Ford physicist, was at the forefront of discovering anthropogenic climate change, publishing his research as early as 1953. Regardless of Plass’ and others’ findings, Ford remained a member of the Global Climate Coalition, a group responsible for the production and promulgation of climate denial and regulatory delay, until 1999.

In another section of the report, Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economics’ Executive Director, Robert Massie, suggested Ford to , “[r]ethink its core mission [and] [b]reak the silence by describing the dangers and opportunities of the new reality through every one of its communications channels.” Massie also recommended Ford to “[r]eject the ‘blame game’ … [t]o help make up for the precious time lost from its earlier opposition to any government action [and] should lobby in favor of aggressive national and corporate greenhouse reduction requirements.”

However, the section on “Reducing Energy Use to Cut Our Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” showed room for pause, stating, “improving the fuel economy of our products is fundamental, but not fast” (emphasis added).

Other key information from the report:

  • Ford set to establish “a climate change inventory”
  • The yearly greenhouse gas emissions estimate from all Ford Motor Company vehicles on the road and manufacturing facilities equalled 400 million metric tons
  • BP, Ford, and Princeton collaborated on climate change mitigation research

Interested in more GCC documents? See more in the full Global Climate Coalition collection.

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