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General Motors to eliminate gas and diesel cars by 2035

Macy Lee 2021, Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/01/28/general-motors-electric/

University of Michigan professor, Barry Rabe, stated the following question; “Do you really want to be the last one standing with the possibility that you’re just producing nostalgic vehicles that are being regulated or priced out of existence?” One of the world’s largest auto manufacturing companies, General Motors (GM), has answered this question with their bold sustainability initiative. As written in the Washington Post, GM will be investing $27 billion dollars in electric vehicles between 2020 and 2025 while outstripping its funding on conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles. Well known GM brands such as Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet will be manufacturing about thirty new types of electric vehicles. GM’s final pledge is to make it’s factories and other facilities carbon neutral by 2040. 

Where did this shift to sustainability come from? For years GM has created and sold millions of pollution spewing cars and trucks.  Transportation as a whole accounts for about 28% of total US greenhouse gas emissions, which is the largest contributor of the pollution that is driving climate change. Essentially the move towards sustainability for GM is no small feat, so in turn, some chalk it up to political motivation. GM Chief Executive Mary Barra was a supporter of President Trump’s relaxation of fuel efficiency targets but now wants to lead the company to a greener future. The timing of GM’s announcement was tied in large part to the election of Joe Biden. President Biden’s goal is to transition away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy. Joe Biden is not the only person applying pressure, top White House officials are applauding the efforts of private industry to further embrace new sustainable policies. Recently, Governor Newsome of California has also made the announcement that the state will be fully electric in fifteen years. Did GM make this large decision due to this political pressure? In my opinion, manufacturers such as GM are choosing sustainability because they are anticipating consumer opinions and government intervention in the near future. This ties directly into the idea of corporate social responsibility and the ethics of a corporation. Every single person in the world is affected by climate change thus moving forward GM has the responsibility to do it’s part as a corporation.

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