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E&E News Investigation: GM, Ford knew about climate change 50 years ago

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https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063717035

 

Scientists at two of America's biggest automakers knew as early as the 1960s that car emissions caused climate change, a months long investigation by E&E News has found.

The discoveries by General Motors and Ford Motor Co. preceded decades of political lobbying by the two car giants that undermined global attempts to reduce emissions while stalling U.S. efforts to make vehicles cleaner.

Researchers at both automakers found strong evidence in the 1960s and '70s that human activity was warming the Earth. A primary culprit was the burning of fossil fuels, which released large quantities of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide that could trigger melting of polar ice sheets and other dire consequences.

A GM scientist presented her findings to at least three high-level executives at the company, including a former chairman and CEO. It's unclear whether similar warnings reached the top brass at Ford.

But in the following decades, both manufacturers largely failed to act on the knowledge that their products were heating the planet. Instead of shifting their business models away from fossil fuels, the companies invested heavily in gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. At the same time, the two carmakers privately donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups that cast doubt on the scientific consensus on global warming.

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Yeah I really have a hard time caring. One group says we're all doomed in 10 or less years and another says everything is fine, nothing to see here. In reality the truth is somewhere in the middle but nobody talks about that. 

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And yet vehicle emission control began in the US decades before Europe started taking the moral high ground.

Back then, the focus may have been on controlling smog but at least they did something about it.

And CAFE fuel economy regulations meant that the amount of fuel being consumed case reduced

as far fleet averages went from 13 mpg to 26 mpg. If anything, a couple of gasoline shortages did

more to move the needle than climate experts, they were different times, can't look with 2020 eyes.

Edited by jpd80

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I’m still waiting for islands to disappear   And don’t talk about vehicles until you start re-foresting the planet and replacing all the trees that have been cut down the last 50 years.

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2 minutes ago, akirby said:

I’m still waiting for islands to disappear   And don’t talk about vehicles until you start re-foresting the planet and replacing all the trees that have been cut down the last 50 years.


The bigger issue nobody talks about. 

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31 minutes ago, akirby said:

I’m still waiting for islands to disappear   And don’t talk about vehicles until you start re-foresting the planet and replacing all the trees that have been cut down the last 50 years.


yeah that’s had more effect on things than anything I think.   That plus pavement everywhere that can’t absorb any heat.

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Reforestation is indeed very important. For example, this year we had major fires in Northern Brazil and this strongly affected the rain regime in the whole country, leading to all time records for high temperatures.

 

Regarding the natural periodicity of the Earth's climate, this argument is marginally correct. Just like day/night and seasons phenomena, there is also something called precession of the Equinoxes (GM knows this stuff apparently lol). However this less popular occurence completes a cycle in roughly 26 thousand years (and helps explain Ice Age and ancient rain forests in Northern Africa). Therefore, in anyone's lifetime these natural changes are negligible; the climate change we observe (more recently) in the span of a few decades are not associated to well established geophysical effects.

 

Sorry if too boring or too off topic.

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Former President Obama bought a multi million dollar spread on the ocean in Martha’s Vineyard back in 2019.

 

You’d think a guy that had been telling us for 8 years that global warming was some kind of urgent catastrophe with sea levels rising faster then ever and that we needed to spend billions of dollars to correct, he’d be a little more hesitant to buy property right on the ocean.  

 

 

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Ever been to MV. It is not like some South Pacific atoll or a barrier island. It isn’t going anywhere fast.  Mr Obama has nothing to worry about.

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I see great change that's already been made, it's just that people grow impatient

and want things sooner. The next 20-30 years are going to see massive changes

in power generation and transportation. Even then, some will whinge that it's still

not happening fast enough.

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While those scientists are off with their projections and estimates, humans are making an impact on our globe, just that their estimations are off. With that said, I still want to be a good steward to our home and take care of it as much as possible. Does that mean I want to adopt AOC's "Green New Deal" ...hell no!, But, there has to be a middle ground.

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1 hour ago, twintornados said:

While those scientists are off with their projections and estimates, humans are making an impact on our globe, just that their estimations are off. With that said, I still want to be a good steward to our home and take care of it as much as possible. Does that mean I want to adopt AOC's "Green New Deal" ...hell no!, But, there has to be a middle ground.


Amen brother. 

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1 hour ago, twintornados said:

While those scientists are off with their projections and estimates, humans are making an impact on our globe, just that their estimations are off. With that said, I still want to be a good steward to our home and take care of it as much as possible. Does that mean I want to adopt AOC's "Green New Deal" ...hell no!, But, there has to be a middle ground.

 

Well said!

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Science develops unevenly and the area of dynamical systems and complex systems has hit a big wall, in the sense that the existing mathematics does not allow for exact solutions (as you do in launching rockets and space probes, for instance). Even predicting the weather tomorrow is a challenge, as we know. This area is usually associated with the butterfly effect, so it is also very sensitive to initial data. Without a mathematical breakthrough on the horizon, hopefully computer processing and alternativa approaches will allow for better answers.

 

However, having said all that, even though we don't know exactly the shape and size of the problem, there is good evidence something unnatural is going on. And since the atmosphere is in such a delicate equilibrium, with small changes potentially leading to effects in a chain, it is prudent to behave in an environmentally responsible way, without extremisms, of course.

 

Sorry for keeping hijacking this thread. I promise I won't do it again. Also, no political message intended. 

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22 minutes ago, passis said:

However, having said all that, even though we don't know exactly the shape and size of the problem, there is good evidence something unnatural is going on. And since the atmosphere is in such a delicate equilibrium, with small changes potentially leading to effects in a chain, it is prudent to behave in an environmentally responsible way, without extremisms, of course.

 

Another issue is that it's quite possible that an event that happened in the past has already screwed up something so bad that there might not be a "recovery" from it. 

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6 hours ago, twintornados said:

While those scientists are off with their projections and estimates, humans are making an impact on our globe, just that their estimations are off. With that said, I still want to be a good steward to our home and take care of it as much as possible. Does that mean I want to adopt AOC's "Green New Deal" ...hell no!, But, there has to be a middle ground.


I think everyone would agree with that.  And when you step back that’s exactly where we are today.  More cars on the road than ever yet the air/water has never been cleaner.  
 

As for the Green New Deal.....the green is just all the money that has to be spent.  No thank you.  

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23 hours ago, akirby said:

I’m still waiting for islands to disappear   And don’t talk about vehicles until you start re-foresting the planet and replacing all the trees that have been cut down the last 50 years.

 

In the western USA the forests are so old and overgrown that if they don't get cut down, then nature will certainly burn them down.  The western pine beetle has primed this process over the last 25 years and a good percentage of the standing forests are already dead.

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10 hours ago, twintornados said:

  Does that mean I want to adopt AOC's "Green New Deal" ...hell no!

 

The way things look, after next week you will get the Green New Deal - like it or not!

Edited by Kev-Mo

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 The article makes the insinuation that automakers fought early emissions control regulations that were supposed to prevent climate change, which proves they were saying one thing while knowing another.


Vehicle emissions standards under the Clean Air Act were adopted to clean up the air by reducing emissions of nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. Lead pollution was also targeted (as vehicles used leaded gasoline until the introduction of catalytic converters for the 1975 model year). The goal of the act was to clean up the air, particularly in urban areas with lots of vehicles, factories and power plants. Any alleged global warming wasn't even on the radar for policymakers in Washington, D.C.

 

Yes, the automakers fought the law - for the same reason they fought airbag requirements. Namely, they were against regulation in general, and were concerned about increased costs that they could not necessarily pass on to consumers. Their alleged knowledge of global warming had nothing to do with it. That wasn't even a major issue at that time (late 1960s and early 1970s). If anything, the concern was global cooling. 

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Kev-Mo said:

 

In the western USA the forests are so old and overgrown that if they don't get cut down, then nature will certainly burn them down.  The western pine beetle has primed this process over the last 25 years and a good percentage of the standing forests are already dead.

 

Need better land management - cutting down old and dead trees and planting new ones and reforestation of the areas that have been clearcut.  We're already doing everything that can be reasonably done with automobiles.  And I still don't believe the changes are going to be as dramatic or as quick as they're predicting.

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4 minutes ago, akirby said:

 

Need better land management - cutting down old and dead trees and planting new ones and reforestation of the areas that have been clearcut.  We're already doing everything that can be reasonably done with automobiles.  And I still don't believe the changes are going to be as dramatic or as quick as they're predicting.

Nah, it's easier to just blame it on Trump like Gavin Newsome did. 

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19 hours ago, akirby said:

 

Need better land management - cutting down old and dead trees and planting new ones and reforestation of the areas that have been clearcut. 

Yes, strongly agree, it is not happening in 12 years like AOC promised.  In fact by then it might cycle back to cooling...Of course she will claim she saved the day if that happens.

 

Fire is nature's re-seeing process.

The problem is residential development in the forest.  Nature will re-fresh the forest every several hundred years, and it wouldn't matter if there was nothing there but dead forest.  But when thousands have built and moved in, it becomes a huge problem when the, pine beetle, the lightning, and the dry wind all combine for nature's perfect storm of forest re-generation. 

 

 

 

Edited by Kev-Mo

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