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Jon LeSage

Jon LeSage

Jon LeSage is a California-based journalist covering clean vehicles, alternative energy, and economic and regulatory trends shaping the automotive, transportation, and mobility sectors.

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Automakers Prioritize Climate Despite Trump’s Decision


Automakers are disappointed with President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate accord – and some will back the agreement without him.

Two of the U.S.’s vehicle manufacturing institutions issued statements opposing Trump’s decision, and electric carmaker Tesla’s chief exited the president’s economic advisory panel over it.

We believe climate change is real, and remain deeply committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our vehicles and our facilities,” announced Ford Motor Co.Our commitment to sustainability is why we’re investing so heavily in electrification and adding 13 new electrified vehicles to our lineup.”

General Motors issues a similar statement: “GM will not waver from our commitment to the environment and our position on climate change has not changed. International agreements aside, we remain committed to creating a better environment.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk had been attending economic advisory meetings with Trump and other executives. He decided to leave the panel after hearing about Trump’s decision.

“I am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” he posted on Twitter. Related: Is Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Too Ambitious?

It would seem that other automakers’ strategic plans on climate change and clean air would be in line with GM, Ford and Tesla, including Toyota, Honda, BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, Nissan, Renault, Volvo Trucks, BYD, and others.

Internationally renowned actor Leonardo DiCaprio has become a corporate spokesman for Chinese electric carmaker BYD. He’s also narrated and produced a 2016 documentary on the global impact of climate change, “Before the Flood.”

Automakers are taking China’s electric vehicle market very seriously, with companies such as Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, GM, and Ford preparing to launch several new EVs there. That’s typically done with Chinese joint venture partners.

China was by far the largest electric car market in the world last year, making up more than 40 percent of global EV sales and more than double the amount sold in the U.S., according to an International Energy Agency report

China may be playing a more important role in supporting the climate change accord now that the U.S. has bowed out. Related: Is $75 Oil Still Possible?

California Governor Jerry Brown has been spending this week meeting with Chinese government officials, encouraging them to follow the state’s climate change mandate and zero emission vehicle rules and incentives.

On Tuesday, Brown met with China’s president Xi Jinping to discuss climate change policies. The timing of the previously planned meeting was right, days after Trump’s decision – and through indications that China is preparing to take a more commanding role in fighting climate change.


“California’s leading, China’s leading,” Brown said. “It’s true I didn’t come to Washington, I came to Beijing. Well, someday I’m going to go to Washington, but not this week.”

By Jon LeSage for Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • Lee James on June 11 2017 said:
    Can our administration be any more clear about handing over the auto industry to China?

    Along with the issues around China cited in this article, U.S. manufactures will be up against a carbon-based border tax on U.S. cars that we hope to export to China. Next year, China expands their carbon tax from a half-dozen provinces to the whole nation. Our models will need to compete world-wide on climate-emission metrics, like it or not.

    We can focus on America first, but are we checking whether America is coming in last?
  • Dan on June 11 2017 said:
    They must not have any travel trailer campers in California as everyone is fleeing high taxman Brown. I see giant campers being pulled by big pickups with two or one baby boomers in them all day Thursday thru Sunday. Still the electric vehicle count is zero and that includes the electric bicycle being used in the EV numbers in China. As the best auto executive, the one you left out, Fiat said they will make the electric 500 if forced to in a money losing project, but horsepower is what customers want and Fiat delivers. Electric autos pollution from mining and battery recycle is destroying the earth and is non sustainable.
  • Duane McCarrel on June 12 2017 said:
    Have you ever been to China? You can't go outside at times as the air is too harmful to breathe. Everyone walks around with masks covering their mouths. Don't tell me that China is now the good guys when it comes to pollution.

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