Submitted by John Stauber on
Five years after car industry and other lobbyists killed US ratification of the Kyoto treaty, a minimal effort to limit climate change, the General Motors corporation is selling its 11-miles-per-gallon Hummer. The company can barely keep up with surging American demand for the $50,000 behemoth, a version of a US military vehicle popularized during the first Iraq War. According to Dr. Clotaire Rapaille, marketing guru to the auto industry, "People told me, 'I can protect my family. If someone bumps into me, they're dead.' People love that feeling." After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, "we feel we are at war and people feel the need to be protected." Environmental activists mistakenly claimed a victory in 2000 when General Motors belatedly dropped out of the Global Climate Coalition, the successful industry front group that fought off fuel efficiency mandates and climate protection in the 1990s. GM's PR has portrayed itself as a responsible, environmentally aware builder of "Earth Friendly" vehicles. Environmental foundations have probably donated more than a hundred million dollars in the past five years to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, National Environmental Trust, Greenpeace and other groups working on the climate issue, with no visible progress or real victories.