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Coalition Letter to
General Motors Corporation

John F. Smith Jr.
CEO, General Motors Corporation
3044 W. Grand Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48202-3091
January 14, 2000

Mr. Smith:

We are writing on behalf of the Dirty Jobs Boycott to ask you to end General Motors’ membership in the Global Climate Coalition.

The Global Climate Coalition’s has spent large sums of money to try to confuse the public about the science of global warming impede attempts to tackle the problem. Ford and DaimlerChryster have already withdrawn from this industry coalition. Ford has stated that auto companies should work together to reduce carbon pollution. In this context, GM’s continued

participation in the GCC places it at the back of the pack on addressing this very important environmental issue. We urge you to take this opportunity to follow the companies that are leaving the GCC, and play an active role in solving the global warming problem.

Evidence of global warming continues to mount, consider the following.

  • In the past decade, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in damage from extreme weather. 1998, the hottest year on record, also holds the record for tragedy due to extreme weather - 43,889 people lost their lives and $89.5 billion dollars in economic loss were caused by extreme weather that year. This increase in extreme weather events is consistent with scientists projections about the impacts of global warming.

  • In 1999, for the first time, scientists have linked extinction of a species to global warming. Scientists reported extinction of the golden toad in the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica was attributable to warming in the area which eliminated suitable habitat for the toad.

  • The journal Science recently published a report that concludes that global warming due to human activity is the likely cause for melting of about 14,000 square miles of sea ice each year since 1978. A separate report published in the journal Arctic reports that polar bears in Canada's Hudson Bay are declining because of factors caused by global warming. Ice on the bay is melting an average of three weeks earlier than in the mid 1970's cutting short the bears opportunity to feed on seal pups that live on the ice.

  • Unusually high rainfall and strong storms are taking a huge toll on developing countries. In 1998, flooding and devastation from hurricane Mitch virtually destroyed the entire infrastructure of Honduras and devastated parts of Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize, and El Salvador. The death toll from this hurricane reached 11,000. That same year, flooding in China left 14 million people homeless, affected 240 million people, destroyed 5 million houses, and damaged 12 million houses. And in 1999, a supercyclone in Orissa, India killed more than 10,000 people. Just last month, flooding and mudslides in Venezuela are thought to have killed 20,000 people. Developing countries experience much greater loss of life and devastation from such events due to their lack of early warning systems, insufficient infrastructure, and lack of ability to rebuild.

If current greenhouse gas emission continue unabated, scientists project spreading disease and hunger, the flooding of coastal areas, increases in extreme weather like droughts, heatwaves, and hurricanes, and stress to ecosystems leading to widespread extinction. The global warming pollutants we release into our atmosphere today will remain there for decades or centuries to come. Therefore, we have only a narrow window of time in which to reduce emissions of these pollutants into the atmosphere.

Our request is a simple one; that General Motors withdraw its membership from the Global Climate Coalition. The GCC has consistently played an obstructionist role in the public debate over how to tackle the global warming problem.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, students’ concern for the environment has only grown. We are now prepared to take that concern in to the workplace. Should you remain in the GCC, we will organize across the nation to encourage graduating college students to seek employment outside of GM. There is no reason why students should entrust their future to employers that do not consider the long-term environmental impacts of their actions.

It is time for GM to join the growing number of companies that are working towards a real solution to the problem of greenhouse gas pollution. Take the responsible step of withdrawing General Motors from the Global Climate Coalition - before its too late.


Christina Leavitt
Free The Planet!

David Karpf
Sierra Student Coalition

Leslie Samuelrich
Green Corps

Ivan Frishberg
Student PIRGs

Rob Fish
Student Environmental Action Coalition

email us at earthday2000@juno.com


march 2000

©1999 Earth Day 2000