By now everybody has seen, and mocked, the pro-CO2 ads from CEI. Many people have also noted that CEI is funded by industries with vested interests in the oily status quo.

As Andrew Leonard rather scathingly pointed out, Ford Motor Co. is one of those funders. The same Ford that’s been trying so hard lately to be a good environmental citizen. The same Ford who recently forged a partnership with TerraPass to encourage its drivers to offset their emissions.

This proved slightly embarrassing to the folks at TerraPass. They contacted Niel Golightly, Ford’s Director of Sustainable Business Strategies, to get some answers. Golightly sent them this response:

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!

For the record, Ford did NOT fund these ads. More importantly, we most definitely do NOT agree with their content. We’ve made our position on climate change clear for years.

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So Ford’s position is that they may have given CEI money for other stuff, but not for this.

Now, that’s kind of lame. But I don’t think "Ford is secretly evil" is the right lesson to draw here. What this reveals is that big corporations are … big. There are lots of people in them, and some of those people are working at cross purposes, and not all of them know what the others are doing. They are not monoliths. They are legion, and this is good news, because it means they can be changed. The good people can be encouraged, the bad discouraged.

This doesn’t let Ford off the hook, of course. I hope the company makes some kind of official statement or, more importantly, withdraws all funding from CEI. But nonetheless, it’s an interesting glimpse into the chaos and ferment behind the scenes. Adam at TerraPass says, "this controversy has provoked some serious debate within Ford." Good.

In other Ford news, the company is seriously considering producing a plug-in hybrid. They contain multitudes, I tell you!

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