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Global warming a 'crock'? Not so, says GM chief

Despite earlier comments from vice chairman Robert Lutz, CEO Rick Wagoner says the automaker takes climate change seriously.

Remember how Robert Lutz, vice chairman and design guru at General Motors, a few weeks back called global warming a "crock of s---?" Well, his boss, GM CEO Rick Wagoner, wishes Lutz hadn't made that comment, saying it does not reflect the auto giant's position.

Wagoner on Tuesday spoke to reporters in Washington, where he was lobbying for government policies to promote alternative energy efforts such as ethanol production and research on batteries.

He said he regretted Lutz's remarks, which were widely discussed on the Web. "The comments weren't coming out of our company," Wagoner said, according to published reports.

He added that the company is taking climate change seriously.

"The data is pretty clear that the temperature on the earth is rising. There's all sort of debates as to why but we've clearly come down on the side it makes sense for us to put our business in a position where we can participate proactively in reducing the amount of (carbon dioxide) emissions," Wagoner was quoted saying by the Detroit News.

The paper noted that GM was the first automaker to join USCAP (United States Climate Action Partnership), a consortium of large U.S.-based corporations lobbying for carbon-restricting regulations.

Wagoner defended the company's efforts, including its investments in flex-fuel cars that can run on both gasoline and ethanol as well as its plans to turn the Chevy Volt concept into a production vehicle, running on a long-range rechargeable battery, by 2010.

During a meeting with reporters earlier this year, Lutz said that he thought global warming was a "total crock" and that he supported work on alternative energies out of a desire for energy security.

In response to the firestorm that followed publication of his remarks, Lutz explained his position on a company blog, calling himself a skeptic:

General Motors is dedicated to the removal of cars and trucks from the environmental equation, period. And, believe it or don't: So am I! It's the right thing to do, for us, for you and, yes, for the planet. My goal is to take the automotive industry out of the debate entirely. GM is working on just that--and we're going to keep working on it--via E85, hybrids, hydrogen, and fuel cells, and the electrification of the automobile.