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Remember when GM's Bob Lutz called global warming a "total crock of sh*t"? Well, that comment wasn't a slip and the blowback sure didn't cause Lutz to apologize or somehow say, "see, what I meant was..." It's awful difficult to equivocate after a remark that direct, anyway. Lutz wrote on his blog Thursday that his personal opinions on global warming don't mean that GM isn't totally serious about building cars so they don't play any role in the environmental debate.

You can read the whole thing over at Fastlane, but I wanted to highlight his opening line, which says, "It amazes me sometimes what kinds of things seem to 'catch on' out there." If Lutz was in any way surprised that calling global warming a bunch of sh*t will get people mad at you, maybe he shouldn't be in charge of trying to educate people about GM's green message. By saying he was surprised to find out that global warming is a topic people care about, Lutz proved - and now continues to prove - he's the wrong man for the job.

[Source: Reuters, Fastlane]


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  • 59 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hey, Radlib: Read post #22. Or, let me help you out:

      1) Antarctica's total snowfall has been relatively constant overall, with certain regions in increase and others in decline. A small increase was predicted by the IPCC, due to warming ocean waters around the continent (warmer waters = more evaporation = more precipitation). Average temperatures across the continent have steadily increased (although the Arctic has warmed much faster than the Antarctic)

      2) Greenland's melting *is* relevant, since the total rate of glacial melt in the world vastly exceeds the total rate of accumulation.

      3) No, Greenland wasn't "green". There were small patches of Fjords that were minimally habitable, which is where all the viking settlements were (all on the south and southwestern coasts). The exact same areas are still minimally habitable (that's where Greenland's present-day cities are), but the areas are much larger now. Check them out with Google Earth if you want to see them for yourself. Or, use Google Maps:

      http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=60.761843,-46.268921&spn=1.765624,7.300415&t=h&z=8

      The Vikings struggled to survive in these areas. They had to keep their livestock indoors for over half the year and suffered one crop failure after another throughout their whole settlement period. At first, their settlements expanded thanks to lucrative trade with Norway, but when the Norwegian trade dominance began to collapse and elephant ivory began to replace walrus ivory, they started to collapse. At the same time, they had exploited the nutrient-poor arctic soil to its limits (both in farming and woodcutting), and erosion had taken its toll. And to top it all off, there was a regional cooling that affected Greenland for about a century. Had they been smart, they would have taken to fishing like the natives did, but they continued trying to live as though it was Scandanavia (they referred to the natives as skraelings" -- "wrectches" -- and most of their commentary on them was about killing them). They weren't. They continued to try and live through farming and livestock, and a mix of starvation, raids, and abandonment finished the settlements off.

      For more on your continued education about the Vikings in Greenland:

      http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/

      4) The ability of plants to absorb CO2 in varying concentrations is extremely well studied, and is quite well factored in. Once again, read the bloody report before you embarass yourself like this again.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Rather than making excuses for his behavior, Mr. Lutz needs to recognize that as the face of the company, he represents GM. As the public is concerned, what he says is what GM says. So he should think very carefully before blabbing about again in public. GM should hold him accountable for speaking out of turn and undermining their green car program.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bob Lutz clearly does NOT belong as CEO of global auto manufacturer!! The lies in GM advertising saying they have Electric & Hydrogen vehicles are a joke. I will only believe GM Volt when I see it, touch it, and "put my hand into wound in side." GM killed the electric car EV-1 and betcha money the Volt is doomed as well. GM doesn't even sell in USA the top selling CNG (compressed natural gas) car in Germany - - the GM/Opel Zafira cng. USA is miserable at ANY attempt to implement CNG which is clearly the immediate cure for USA dependence on foreign crude oil, and also cng would greatly reduce emissions! USA only has 147,000 cng vehicles with -0- growth while Asia/Europe/S America all are growing 15% to 30% each year, and Argentina & Brazil both passed 1.5M cng vehicles!! SOLUTION: Fire Lutz; vote Pres Bush & his Big Oil cronies out; disband the EPA & start over; create Federal tax credit to convert gasoline vehicles to become bi-fuel cng/gas; FORCE all USA automakers to sell cng vehicles in USA; cap cng price at $1.50 in USA; FORCE mega gas stations (like Murphy USA outside WalMarts) & truck stops to have all fuels like public cng, E85 & clean diesel; convince private cng sites to become public cng (FORCE if private cng is airport, military base, etc); FORCE scheister Clean Energy to stop monopoly practices & price gouging of cng; FORCE all public cng sites to only need credit card to buy cng; FORCE biomethane from landfills, wastewater treatment plants, stockyards, etc. to become another public cng site; FORCE transport companies like FedEx, UPS, truckers, trash trucks, buses, taxis, etc. to convert majority of fleet to cng/lng; and REMEMBER . . Everyone in USA should Boycott GM !! Force a TRANSPORTATION REVOLUTION in USA !!! Go CNG!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I would hope that GM dual sources its battery suppliers.

      In light of the troubles that Ford is having with Sanyo, in which Sanyo is preferring requests for batteries from Japanese firms, and shortchanging Ford, I would require that the selectees have to erect automated battery manufacture plants, close to the Volt's Lordstown assembly factory for "just-in-time" manufacture.

      Incidently, in light of the IPCC "Oops, AGW is called off for ten years or so" publication in "Nature":

      Perhaps Mr. Lutz was not at all in error in calling AGW a "crock of sh!t".

      It doesn't matter. He is doing more than the preacherman ever did to minimize CO2 in the atmosphere. He is forcing GM along a path that is more likely to lead to true electric substitutes, for the one market Petroleum still dominates, the Transport sector. If the Volt is successful he along with the president of toyota should be nominated for the Nobel.

      Mr.Lutz beleives it is necessary for GM and the US and the World, to get off of oil, as there simply isn't enough to go around, for the whole world. Meanwhile motivated electrons can be made via many sources.



      • 7 Years Ago
      Global warming should not be the only reason we drive electric. That's almost like saying people should do good things because they're afraid of going to hell.

      Being a moderate believer of GW, I know ther eare advantages of downplaying GW. There are lots of better more agreeable reasons to use electric vehicles. If you keep using GW as a reason to switch, people will less likely switch since not everyone believes in GW. What people do agree in is money saved at the pump (or charger), less fuel dependence, and juicy delicious torque. Marketing these reasons will make electric cars more accepting.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mik Cal - or vilanizing Bob Lutz and GM for a situation that was not created by them and which they are working to improve.

      Like it or not -- you caused GW if it is really caused by CO2. You drove a car, you used electricity, you ate meat and bought european or Japanese cars and TV's, you supported China by buying their goods. It was you and me as much as GM and Bob lutz that caused GW if it is really caused by CO2.

      As for Al Gore - he brings trouble upon himself by living a life that is inconsistant with his rhetoric.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If I were a GM shareholder or employee I might be a bit worried. That statement raises the question of whether the chief of design has much of grasp on science. Also, the fact that in the same speech as saying global warming was a "total crock of shit" he also said that he was merely a skeptic, not a denier. If he doesn't realize that calling scientific conclusions a crock of shit is rejecting them about as strongly as possible, then he's also got some serious problems with communication ability... also not a great trait in an executive.

      Not being an employee or shareholder in GM... I really don't care what he says. If they produce good cars, I'd buy them just the same.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bob Lutz is a man who thinks for himself and speaks his mind. He approached electric vehicles with an open mind and became a foremost advocate of them, and he's pushing the Chevy Volt through to completion. So, I think he's earned the right to say what he thinks.

      As for myself, I've reached similar conclusions about global warming: it might possibly become something of a problem in a few decades (depending on which scientists you believe, and noting that Al Gore is no scientist), but it's nowhere near as urgent as global peak oil and US dependence on foreign oil right now.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Lutz the putz will probably tell you that peak oil "theory" is a "crock of %^$&" as well. Look at him, you think he is worried about the future of the planet? All he loves is money.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Global warming is a crock of shite. He's right. Ice volume on Antarctica keeps *increasing* each year -- google it if you doubt. It's only Greenland that's melting and that's not relevant since Greenland was green up until the last mini ice age about 500 years ago. If it was green before the last mini ice age, then obviously it had nothing to do with man since CO2 production was virtually nil then. CO2 only causes plants to grow. Seriously. Get over it. The real reason to buy green cars is for national security and to end our dependence on unstable, irrational regimes for our energy.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm sure Lutz isn't a moron. He's just doing his best to appeal to morons. Judging by the comments the last article on this topic generated, I'd say he's very, very successful at that. Maybe he considers them GM's essential constituency that must be appeased, like conservatives and the Christian right, I don't know.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Tony,
      I've made abundantly clear in previous comments and also I can assure you that I actually like the jovial, hale fellow well-met type that I believe Bob Lutz to be. I once met him in the 1990's and thought he seemed like an OK guy. Or for that matter, Bush's folksy public persona seems OK to me, except for the anti-science stupidity part.

      Just reversing the accusation of "shooting the messenger" on me doesn't hold water because I don't predicate my argument on the personal behavior or characteristics of individual people. The climate change deniers or minimizers on this board seem to let their arguments rest on some kind of personal assertion with a reference to the moral (but not political) consistency of Al Gore. I don't do that. I'm swimming with the scientific tide so I don't have to do that...not necessarily with the political or social tide though: it depends on what circles you are in.

      I believe your sense of a lack of urgency on the climate question is based in part on a misconception about the complexity and momentum of climate system change...you just don't believe that by disturbing it now, there will be many, many unpleasant consequences. In this way, you are also inserting yourself as an amateur "expert" into the climate debate.

      If you were actually consistent in your position, you would be in favor of coal-to-liquids and wait out to see how the batteries turned out on electric cars. You've hedged your bets, perhaps knowing your position on climate is more a posture than a substantial position.
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