Ford acknowledges global warming, but makes no big promises

Pressure from shareholder activists is producing effects at large companies — if not yet concrete proposals to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, at least notable signals that they’re starting to take global warming seriously. The latest to hop on the bandwagon is Ford Motor Co., expected to announce today that it will produce a report analyzing the range of effects climate change — and the government regulations and incentives that may be enacted to address it — could have on its operations. It follows ChevronTexaco and other, smaller U.S. oil companies in pledging to produce such a report; on Tuesday, coal-fired energy giant Cinergy released its own. Of course, Ford’s vehicle fleet still has the lowest average fuel economy of any automaker (and word is that the company will be the target of numerous on-the-ground protests tomorrow over that very fact). But Mindy Lubber, who heads shareholder-activist group CERES, believes the report “will end up informing a changed business model for the company.”