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Ford emissions plan satisfies shareholders

Shareholder groups said Wednesday they would withdraw resolutions at Ford's annual meeting because the automaker has outlined plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Shareholder groups said Wednesday they would withdraw resolutions on climate change at Ford's annual meeting because the automaker has outlined plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The New Jersey-based Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment and the Connecticut state treasurer's office said Ford Motor Co. offered detailed targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from its new vehicle fleet by 2020.

The targets mirror new federal fuel economy standards that were signed into law last year. The rules, being developed by the Bush administration, will require the overall fleet average to increase from the current 25 miles per gallon to 35 mpg by 2020.

Investor groups said they would offer a resolution at General Motors Corp.'s annual meeting in June to push the automaker to provide a detailed analysis of how it plans to reduce emissions by 2020.

Sister Patricia Daly, the Tri-State Coalition's executive director, said they met with GM officials but the automaker was "not at the point of setting any kind of reduction goals" on how to meet new requirements by 2020.

Greg Martin, a GM spokesman, countered that there is "no other automaker which is dedicating more resources to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency than General Motors. We have kept key stakeholders informed of our progress and we've been transparent every step of the way."

He noted that GM was the first automaker to join the United States Climate Action Partnership, an alliance that has called for emissions caps to reduce carbon dioxide, and the company is developing the Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range plug-in electric car.

The auto industry has outlined a number of initiatives to meet tightening emissions standards. Automakers are planning to introduce more hybrid vehicles in the next few years and are developing alternatives such as plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.

Religious and investment groups have urged the auto companies to curb carbon dioxide that causes global warming emissions, but shareholder resolutions seeking detailed plans for the reductions have failed in previous years.

Sue Cischke, Ford's senior vice president for sustainability, environment and safety, said the Dearborn, Mich.-based company has detailed the "building blocks" of how it would reduce emissions by 2020.

Ford has said it will pursue several approaches to meet the new standards, including a new EcoBoost line of four- and six-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged engines, weight reduction in vehicles and advanced technologies such as plug-in hybrids.

Ford's shareholder meeting is scheduled for May 8.