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GM adds its muscle to BICEP’s climate change message

By Tina Casey
Triple Pundit

GM has just signed on to the Climate Declaration, joining forces with 40 other U.S. companies to make the case that swift, aggressive climate action represents an almost unprecedented opportunity for economic development. The alliance is particularly notable for GM, which barely more than ten years ago was busily pounding the final nail into the coffin of EV1, its short-lived electric vehicle (EV) venture.

GM adds its muscle to BICEP’s climate change message

More info @ www.climatedeclaration.us

GM has just signed on to the Climate Declaration, joining forces with 40 other U.S. companies to make the case that swift, aggressive climate action represents an almost unprecedented opportunity for economic development. The alliance is particularly notable for GM, which barely more than ten years ago was busily pounding the final nail into the coffin of EV1, its short-lived electric vehicle (EV) venture.

EV1 looked to be the end of GM’s foray into sustainable mobility, especially given its history with that icon of conspicuous carbon consumption, the Hummer. And yet, within the past couple of years we find GM braving a hail of verbal bullets from conservative pundits and legislators to promote  its new Chevy Volt plug-in EV, while backing up its commitment to EV technology by joining the Climate Declaration. It’s a vivid demonstration of the ability of some U.S. corporations to switch gears with relative speed in order to adapt to new circumstances, innovating to adapt their products to evolving consumer demands.

The Climate Declaration

GM EV logoThe Climate Declaration is a project of BICEP, the Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy initiative started up by the green leadership group, Ceres, last year.

TriplePundit first took note of the Climate Declaration when it launched last month. Apparently, it was timed to counteract industry blowback during confirmation hearings for President Obama’s nominee to lead the U.S. EPA, Gina McCarthy. As head of the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, McCarthy has been the point person in the country’s transition away from last-generation coal-fired power plants.

At the time, we noted that the Declaration signatories make up a particularly interesting group of climate action advocates, especially from a green jobs angle. That’s because none of them are in the energy sector, except to the extent that they may have installed solar arrays at their facilities, so none of them are in head-to-head competition with the fossil fuel industry.

In addition, few of the original 33 signatories (Seventh Generation being one exception) were conceived exclusively as producers of bio-based products, so there is little direct competition with petrochemicals on that score.

Instead, the emphasis is on classic, conventional U.S. companies that are not in the energy sector, but which are adapting their business to compete successfully  in the context of a historically significant trend.

What this amounts to is a “ripple effect” argument for clean technology and economic development that goes far beyond green jobs in the energy and petrochemical sectors. Adding up the numbers, those 33 companies account for about 475,000 jobs and $450 billion in annual revenue.

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