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Auto Alliance Arrives at Bad Time

“Major Car Makers Form Lobbying Group” [Jan. 13] examined the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group made up of nine domestic and foreign auto makers that have joined forces to undercut the effects of new Environmental Protection Agency laws.

The timing could not be worse. NASA scientists just released a study showing 1998 to be the hottest year on record and warned that global warming poses a real danger to the planet.

By burning fossil fuels, automobiles account for 15% to 20% of mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is the worst of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Rather than dodging the matter, oil companies and auto makers have a responsibility to develop and invest in renewable resources of energy.

The oil and gas industry spends more than $150 billion annually on new exploration, and the area covered by new exploration activities in the last decade roughly equals the land area of the U.S. and Europe combined. This ongoing exploration threatens old-growth forests, coral reefs and mangroves.

The only way to avoid such disastrous environmental consequences is to phase out fossil fuels.

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MARK WESTLUND

Rainforest Action Network

San Francisco


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