THE BLOG
10/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

General Motors Responds, Defends Global Warming Denier Bob Lutz

I wrote yesterday about the fact that a top executive at General Motors doesn't accept the role humans play in global warming. To be clear, man made global warming is established science. Anyone who says otherwise cannot be taken seriously.

Incredibly, General Motors dispatched Tom Wilkinson, Director of News Relations, to defend both Mr. Lutz and the company's environmental policies. He did so by commenting on my piece on Huffington Post. He wrote:

Increased energy efficiency and reduced petroleum use are desirable for a lot of reasons. There is no reason a three-dimensional human being (like Bob Lutz) can't be skeptical about global warming orthodoxy and still be wildly passionate about more efficient vehicles. Which he is, by the way.

As for GM policy, it is set by a board of directors and a senior leadership group, not by one individual. And you might be surprised to find that dissenting voices are welcome within GM. In fact, they are encouraged.

A few of these comments also ring of age discrimination -- not so good...

GM is as transparent as any company about what it is and isn't doing in the environmental area. So if you are interested in looking beyond your biases, please visit our media site: http://media.gm.com/us/gm/en/.

"There is no reason a three-dimensional human being (like Bob Lutz) can't be skeptical about global warming orthodoxy and still be wildly passionate about more efficient vehicles." To be fair, on the surface, that is accurate. It is also fair for us to expect some consistency from General Motors though. GM's Vice Chairman of Global Product Development should not be going on popular television shows to mock established science. Big auto has a long history of using attacks on the science of global warming in order to resist researching alternative fuels and increasing fuel efficiency. Mr Lutz' comments also fly in the face of the company's corporate policy on the environment.

Wilkinson continues: "You might be surprised to find that dissenting voices are welcome within GM. In fact, they are encouraged." The organization's lack of conviction with regard to the science of climate change is on full display here. "Dissenting voices" implies that there is a legitimate scientific debate about the merits of climate science. This is simply not the case. Would you encourage a dissenting voice who denied gravity? No, you wouldn't. If General Motors accepts climate science as fact they should not allow Bob Lutz to speak for them. If they think there is a legitimate debate in which "dissenting voices" deserve to be heard, they should make that clear.

Wilkinson writes: "A few of these comments also ring of age discrimination -- not so good..." One of the comments called Lutz an "old stodgy businessman" and said the company was "run by old geezers". This is not relevant whatsoever, and I'm not sure why Wilkinson brought it up. Trying to deflect the legitimate criticisms perhaps?

Wilkinson finishes his comment a bit defensively: "GM is as transparent as any company about what it is and isn't doing in the environmental area. So if you are interested in looking beyond your biases, please visit our media site: http://media.gm.com/us/gm/en/."

I am interested in looking beyond my biases and learning more. So, Tom (or anyone at GM), here is my question:

Does GM subscribe to the fact that humans have played a role in increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? Do you believe that this is established science?

If your answer is no, can you point out credible claims to the contrary?

If your answer is yes, why do you provide a platform for, and defend, someone who disagrees with established science?

I have corresponded with Tom Wilkinson today via email. I have just emailed him a link to this post, and offered him the opportunity to respond on The Seminal. I sincerely hope he takes me up on this offer.