Year 4, Month 5, Day 13: See The U.S.A. In Your Chevrolet

Well, that’s a relief. The Detroit Free Press:

General Motors officially acknowledged today that implementing policies to prevent climate change is “good business.”

GM became the first automaker to sign the “Climate Declaration” pledge, which is promoted by nonprofit Ceres’ Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP) coalition.

The decision to sign the pledge comes as GM has been pressuring the U.S. government to establish a national energy policy focused on promoting energy security with a diverse range of sources, including natural gas and renewables. The automaker sends no waste to landfills from 105 of plants, and is trying to boost that figure.

GM CEO Dan Akerson told the Fortune Green conference on Tuesday that “sustainability is woven into our global strategies.”

“It’s not a regional strategy; it’s a global strategy for us,” Akerson said, adding that it’s “pretty hard not to be convinced that something is going on in the world” with the climate.

I remain unconvinced. May 1:

While it’s good news that General Motors acknowledges the existence of climate change and the importance of a robust strategy for combating the greenhouse effect, this turnaround in corporate thinking won’t make much of an impact unless we address some of the root causes of the problem. Our national addiction to fossil fuels goes hand in hand with our consumer society; as long as we continue to believe that we can buy our way out of trouble, we will never be able to make the broader societal transformations necessary to provide happiness and prosperity for our descendants.

There are deeper questions that need asking. Can profit-fixated corporate systems function sustainably over the long term? Is an economy focused on consumption good for our species or our planet? Yes, preventing climate change is “good for business,” and allowing it to continue is “bad for business.” But is business good for us?

Warren Senders

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