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Chevrolet announced last week that it will invest $40 million in various clean energy projects throughout America with a goal to reduce 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The initiative is based on projects that promote energy savings, renewable energy, responsible use of natural resources and conservation in communities across the United States.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 8 million metric tons equals the CO2 emissions of one year of electricity use in 970,874 homes or the annual carbon reduction from 1.7 million acres of pine forest.
Chevrolet’s clean energy investments to be implemented in the next three to five years may include projects such as:
“GM has made great progress in reducing our environmental impact, but we know we can do more,” said General Motors CEO Dan Akerson. “Chevrolet’s investment is an extension of the environmental initiatives we’ve been undertaking for years because the solution to global environmental challenges goes beyond just vehicles.
“This is an opportunity to connect with Chevy customers through clean energy projects that directly impact them,” Akerson said
GM estimates its new carbon-reduction goal equates to the emissions in 2011 from driving the 1.9 million vehicles Chevrolet is expected to sell in the United States over the next year.
“Chevy is an iconic emblem of America and it is a big deal that it is stepping forward to address one of our greatest challenges – moving us toward a low-carbon future,” said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “Chevy is clearly demonstrating that companies can act now and help propel clean energy solutions.”
Since 1990, GM has decreased its manufacturing emissions by 60 percent. GM also has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build fuel-efficient vehicles like the Chevrolet Cruze Eco, which gets an EPA-estimated 42 mpg on the highway, and the Chevy Volt electric car with extended-range capability. The Volt allows 25-50 miles of pure electric driving on a single charge after which a small gasoline engine/generator creates electricity for an additional 300 miles.
“Chevy’s Volt and its clean energy investment both exemplify the bold leadership businesses can take today to address our changing climate,” Claussen said.” Its commitment to community-focused clean energy and energy efficiency investments will drive change and increase awareness across the country.”
Other GM initiatives include reducing water use by nearly 35 percent between 2005 and 2009 at manufacturing facilities worldwide; decreasing fossil fuel at GM plants by using landfill gas, hydro and solar power; recycling 90 percent of the waste the company generates; and operating 75 landfill-free facilities, more than half of its manufacturing plants globally.
Chevy will be making investments through third-party organizations such as Bonneville Environmental Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Ore. To define project criteria and the program’s investment portfolio, GM has engaged environmental experts, non-government organizations and academics through the Climate Neutral Business Network. Advisors include:
“Chevy understands that to lead in the environmental arena it needs to collaborate with experts from outside its industry,” said Goodstein. “Their engagement of NGOs and academia in development of the scope and strategy of this initiative shows their commitment to projects that will make the most impact across America’s communities.”
For more information about Chevrolet’s clean energy investment initiatives, visit www.chevycarbonreduction.com. Also, for ongoing updates go to the ChevyCarbon Twitter handle, Facebook tab Cleaner Energy or GM’s BeyondNow blog.