Over at TAPPED, Kate Sheppard writes about Bob (global warming is a crock of shit) Lutz and General Motors, specifically, the Wall Street Journal’s claim that GM’s actions are more important than Lutz’s words:
The Wall Street Journal weighed in on the issue earlier this week and concluded that the company’s actions are more important than Lutz’s opinions. Which is, of course, the real crock, considering how much GM has done to thwart action on climate change and greenwash their own image. They’ve been one of the big forces in ensuring that the country invests heavily in corn-based ethanol, and they’ve been a leading opponent of any increases to fuel efficiency standards. They’ve worked against states like California and now Minnesota and Arizona who are trying to set tougher emissions standards for automobiles. They might be working on a neat plug-in hybrid electric car, but they’ve been using it to lobby against higher CAFE standards. So yes, actions do speak louder than words â€“ especially when those actions defy all that greenwashing GM has been trying to do.
Personally, I think GM owes us a lot more than an unproven plug-in. In particular, it would be nice if they’d return to us our streetcars.
The Great GM Streetcar Conspiracy is often oversold by transit advocates. Streetcar systems would not have been in such dire straits in the 20s and 30s without the negligent policy choices of local, state, and federal governments. And GM was not alone in buying up streetcar systems. Other car, tire, and oil companies participated in the dismantling, as well. But the bottom line is, GM was responsible for pulling much of the nation’s 1930s streetcar capacity off the road. And when they shut down a line, they ripped up or paved over the tracks.
If it hadn’t been GM, it would have been someone else. And in the end, it was the production of cars more than the removal of streetcars that permanently altered the landscape, making it transit-unfriendly. But those lines were an incredibly valuable, though underappreciated, piece of public infrastructure. So yeah, GM has a lot of bad environmental karma to pay off. The Volt is just a drop in the bucket.