Environmental Defense “Driving Clean” Campaign fights automakers' deceptions

Campaign will defend California's victory and take the battle nationwide.

provided by Environmental Defense


nvironmental Defense has denounced automakers' choice to continue with their campaign of deception by continuing to oppose California AB 1493, a new state law which paves the way for dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from California's cars, trucks, and SUVs. Gov. Gray Davis signed AB 1493 into law in the wake of its recent passage in the California legislature, and automakers have announced their plans to challenge the law in court.

    “Today the auto industry has declared war on the global environment, and they have made California ground zero in their campaign,” said Fred Krupp, Executive Director of Environmental Defense. “They have cynically chosen to continue a campaign of misinformation they hope will confuse the voters of California. Automakers have elected to use money and politics to forestall inevitable change in their business practices, instead of devoting their resources to the challenge of producing the cleaner cars that the future health of the planet requires, just as in their battles against seat-belts, catalytic converters, and the original California Emissions vehicles. They are swimming against the tide, and we will defeat them.”

    In response to the automakers' actions, Environmental Defense announced today its Driving Clean Campaign, which will be closely coordinated with the work of Environmental Defense's allies in the environmental community. The campaign formally commenced on July 30 with the release of a groundbreaking study on the carbon pollution burdens created by America's auto manufacturers. The campaign will be built on a foundation of scientific research and public education, and will include forthcoming scientific studies and substantial fundraising for legal and legislative advocacy. The campaign “war chest” will be used to defeat the automakers' referendum and legal actions against AB 1493, and to support other states efforts to attack global warming. In addition to this independent campaign, Environmental Defense will continue.

    Given the enormous importance of the issue, Environmental Defense leaders are determined to resist any efforts to weaken climate change laws in California or elsewhere.” If the automakers succeed in their attempt to overturn the law and the will of 81 percent of Californians, their rhetoric won't be the only thing that's overheated,” said Thomas Graff, regional director for the California office of Environmental Defense, noting the significant effect that warming is already having on California's snowpack, water supplies, agriculture, coastal areas and other aspects essential to maintaining California's quality of life.

The Campaign


    Environmental Defense's Driving Clean Campaign will be a comprehensive effort to ensure that automakers produce cleaner, less polluting cars both in California and around the country.

    Core elements of the campaign are enumerated below. Environmental Defense will continue work in concert with its friends in the environmental, religious, business and labor communities, whose cooperative efforts were essential in building the unprecedented coalition that helped to pass California AB 1493.

Citizen Advocacy

    Environmental Defense generated more than 30,000 letters and emails to Gov. Davis in support of AB 1493. Using the full power of its nationwide action network, which includes more that 750,000 members, including more than 100,000 who signed the Clean Car pledge and more than 40 organizations, Environmental Defense will help generate hundreds of thousands of citizen communications to newspapers, elected officials, and corporations.

Consumer Education

    Environmental Defense will deliver millions of messages to consumers nationwide to make clear that there are cars available in dealer showrooms today that are likely to meet any emissions standards adopted in California. The campaign will challenge the CEOs of Ford, GM, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, and other automakers to compete for environmental leadership. Environmental Defense will continue to build market demand for cleaner vehicles and to provide tools for consumers to evaluate their choices.

Corporate Engagement

    Environmental Defense will continue working with innovative companies, such Federal Express, to develop vehicles that meet far more rigorous emissions and fuel efficiency standards than now required by federal regulation – underscoring the fact that appropriate cost-effective technologies are presently available.

    They will also aggressively call upon auto industry leaders to follow a constructive path, based upon market-oriented incentives, to abate automobile emissions in America.


    Environmental Defense will raise a significant war chest to ensure that citizen voices are able to be heard effectively against the tide of automakers money.

Legislative & Legal Advocacy

    In addition to helping defend AB 1493 in the courts, Environmental Defense will take its campaign to states beyond California, targeting states where emissions legislation is already under consideration. Also, working with Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and other members of Congress, they will closely monitor the federal legislative and administrative climate for new opportunities, as well as to preempt any efforts to nullify California's legislation in the Congress.

Research & Analysis

    On July 30, Environmental Defense released the results of a year-long analysis in a groundbreaking study of global warming pollution and the US auto industry. This study follows Environmental Defense's recent study “Hot Prospects,” which examined the numerous harmful impacts of global warming in Southern California. Other studies conducted by Environmental Defense scientists, economists, and researchers will follow.

    Environmental Defense, a leading national nonprofit organization based in New York, represents more than 300,000 members. Since 1967 we have linked science, economics, and law to create innovative, equitable, and cost-effective solutions to the most urgent environmental problems. www.environmentaldefense.org