First night at the SEJ Conference
, and things started off with a small bang as representatives from several major auto manufacturers – all men – took the stage for a panel discussion about alternative fuel vehicles, moderated by Jim Motavalli, Editor of E/The Environmental Magazine. Also speaking was one lone woman – representing the ethanol promotion board.
After they had all spoken, the audience was asked for questions. DeSmogBlog's Kevin stood up and asked his question of the Ford rep (paraphrased here). “If you say that you're so concerned about climate change, and acknowledge that it's happening, and are involved in things like Terrapass
and alternative fuels, then why are you still funding think tank groups like the CEI
, who have a position that climate change is not happening and is nothing to worry about?” The audience was as appreciative of his question as they had been of a couple of other pointed questions calling the auto companies on their apparent greenwashing.
Remarkably, Ford's senior representative up on stage didn't even attempt to answer the question, and instead turned it right over to one of his PR
people, seated in the audience. “We completely divorced ourselves from that particular campaign,” she claimed, while members of the audience muttered in obvious disapproval and disbelief. She went on to say that while Ford does fund the Competitive Enterprise Institute – though not that campaign – they do acknowledge that climate change is a reality.
Kevin commented that that was the same answer
he had received back when Ford had been revealed as a CEI
donor during the time of the ridiculous ads