The Yes Men were in the news recently for a hoax that put the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's lame position on climate change under the spotlight. This week, Move On and Plug In America are pushing an online campaign to get Toyota to stop funding the Chamber's anti-climate lobbying. The campaign resulted in a large gallery on Flickr that shows Toyota customers calling on the automaker "to stop opposing clean energy" and asks people to write letters to the editor. Plug In America president Dan Davids said in a statement that:
Toyota has already proven that it can make an excellent electric car. It should be leading the charge to a truly sustainable electric transportation future with plug-in cars. Instead, it's dragging its feet.
In response, Toyota issued a release to, as they put it, "set the record straight." The gist is that Toyota's participation in various groups does not mean it gives full-throated endorsement to everything those groups do. Josephine Cooper, VP for public policy and government/industry affairs said:
Toyota speaks for itself and has its own position on mitigating climate change, backed up by a strong track record of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. [...] We will not disappoint when it comes time to deliver.
Read both statements in full after the jump.

[Source: Toyota, Plug In America]

PRESS RELEASE:

PLUG IN AMERICA URGES TOYOTA TO QUIT U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Advocacy Group Calls on Supporters to Join Protest

Plug In America is calling on its supporters to join the growing chorus urging Toyota to quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and to stop obstructing efforts to combat climate change.

"Plug In America is asking Toyota to stop opposing clean energy by aligning with the retrograde Chamber and to commit immediately to putting a plug-in vehicle into showrooms," said Plug In America President Dan Davids.

Toyota has not announced delivery of a plug-in vehicle, only that it will launch a three-year test program for a plug-in hybrid car later this year. Other major automakers including GM and Nissan have announced delivery of plug-in vehicles starting in late 2010 (details in Plug In America's Plug-In Vehicle Tracker). Tesla Motors has sold consumers some 900 all-electric sports cars now on the road.

The pace of Toyota's plug-in development puts the company at risk of "being seen as a technology and environmental laggard," Roland Hwang, transportation program director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the New York Times last week.

Plug In America supporters are joining in the second phase of MoveOn.org's campaign urging the auto company to drop its affiliation with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This phase involves writing letters to newspaper editors nationwide. Some of the electric-car organization's board members and supporters took part in the campaign's initial action by posting on MoveOn's photo gallery photographs of their own Toyotas.

Many of these cars are all-electric RAV4 EVs that Toyota manufactured from 1997 to 2003, some of which have been driven more than 100,000 miles with virtually no repairs or maintenance.

"Toyota has already proven that it can make an excellent electric car," Davids said. "It should be leading the charge to a truly sustainable electric transportation future with plug-in cars. Instead, it's dragging its feet."

About Plug In America: Plug In America is leading the nation's plug-in vehicle movement. The nonprofit organization works to accelerate the shift to plug-in vehicles powered by clean, affordable, domestic electricity to reduce our nation's dependence on petroleum and improve the global environment. For more information: http://www.pluginamerica.org.

TOYOTA'S RESPONSE:

Toyota Supports Economy-Wide Reductions of Greenhouse Gases
Recently, you may have seen some reports or emails critical of Toyota's membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in light of the Chamber's position on reducing greenhouse gases. We want to set the record straight.

Toyota is a member of a wide array of groups, but none has our full proxy. Our association with any one of them does not signify that we agree with all of their policies. It means we are there to have a dialogue and engage in making good public policy. Toyota speaks for itself and has its own position on mitigating climate change, backed up by a strong track record of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As the record shows, Toyota has long supported global economy-wide reductions of greenhouse gases, and we are committed to working cooperatively with the U.S. and other governments to achieve these reductions in every market where we operate. That is why Toyota Motor Sales President Jim Lentz stood with President Obama at the White House last May in support of a national program to reduce greenhouse gases from vehicles. We will not disappoint when it comes time to deliver.

In fact, we have not waited for government legislation or regulation to address these issues. We are the leader in fuel efficient vehicles in the U.S. We are the leader in hybrid technology, and are making major investments to develop and bring to market even more advanced hybrids, plug-in hybrids, pure electrics and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. And, we've already cut CO2 emissions and energy use from our manufacturing plants on a per-vehicle basis by 19% since 2000.

Our actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions speak for themselves, and we are focused on moving ahead with real-world solutions.

Josephine S. Cooper
Group Vice President, Public Policy and Government/Industry Affairs
Toyota Motor North America




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