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DaimlerChrysler chief economist said global warming would be a problem "way, way in the future." Or did he?

Earlier this week, DaimlerChrysler's chief economist Van Jolissaint said at a meeting of the Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA) something to the effect of, "the experience of living and working with German colleagues and other professionals in Europe has certainly made me aware that the rest of the world views the threat of global warming with much more alarm than we do. It's difficult for me to describe, because I personally think we take a certain amount of [inaudible]. We think the problem is way, way in the future, with a high degree of uncertainty." Also, "We think they should deal with it in a step-by-step, rational way and not play much Chicken Little."

Note the "inaudible" part, and that I said "something to the effect of." The quotes above come from the BBC, which was working off of a tape (provided by DC) that obviously had some sound quality issues (there are a lot of "inaudibles" in the transcript.

Today, in an effort to deflect criticism before it really ramps up, DC issued a statement on their website that attempts to clarify Van Jolissaint's remarks. DC says the BBC misquoted Van Jolissaint, misinterpreted what he really said, and DC has asked the BBC to retract its story. I doubt the BBC will do so, but just in case, I saved the story from the BBC's page early Thursday afternoon (EST) and you can read it here. You can also read DC's full statement after the jump.

[Source: DaimlerChrysler, BBC via Just Auto (subs req'd)]

DaimlerChrysler Statement Concerning BBC Report on Global Climate Change

Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA, January 11, 2007

While describing different interpretations of global climate change at the meeting of the Society of Automotive Analysts in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday, January 9, 2007, DaimlerChrysler Chief Economist Van Jolissaint's comments concerning the company's policy on global climate change were misinterpreted. Mr. Jolissaint's remarks to the conference were tape recorded.

A report by the BBC misquoted Mr. Jolissaint and provided misleading information to its listeners, viewers and readers concerning the position of DaimlerChrysler on global climate change. DaimlerChrysler has asked the BBC to retract its report.

During the conference, while describing the view that "some people might have" of a recently published report that has a more dramatic approach to the issue of global warming, Mr. Jolissaint specifically said, "not me, of course."

The official policy of DaimlerChrysler states:

We share the concern expressed by many, that global climate could affect future generations. While the science remains uncertain, we support concurrent advances in climate science to ensure fuller understanding of the controversies surrounding this issue and to avoid inappropriate responses by government or the private sector.
We believe that the competitive marketplace is the best solution to this challenge, and we expect to be a leader in developing and introducing advanced technologies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Voluntary actions, because of their inherent flexibility, allow for the greatest greenhouse gas reductions at the lowest cost.
DaimlerChrysler is committed to develop new advanced technologies to minimize any potential impact our vehicles might have on global climate or the environment in general.

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